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From Salman Rafi Sheikh: He is a research analyst for international relations and Pakistani foreign and domestic policy, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Numerous US interests continue to hinder the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project and the uninterrupted gas supply to Germany / Europe. For the US, the Nord Stream project is to a large extent an instrument for privatizing the European gas markets for US gas supplies. While the Joe Biden administration was quick to lift the sanctions imposed on the project by the Trump administration, that lifting, as we now know, was just the prelude to a more indirect strategy of sabotaging the project, which accounts for up to 15 percent of the EU’s annual gas needs can deliver. In this context, the hysteria the US is fueling over a possible Russian “invasion” of Ukraine also contributes directly to the way the US is hoping to sabotage the entire project.

For example, when the Biden government agreed to waive sanctions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Washington cleverly added a clause obliging Berlin to block the pipeline if Russia uses it as a weapon against Ukraine. While there is no question whether Russia is actually using the pipeline as a weapon against Ukraine (the project is not yet operational), the ongoing crisis the US sparked on the Ukrainian-Russian border made it possible for Washington, Russia to be portrayed as an “aggressor” in the region in order to urge Germany to “consider” a blockade of the gas pipeline.

While this crisis is only a direct result of the concerted efforts of the US and NATO to expand NATO to Ukraine to encircle Russia, US efforts to link this crisis to the Nord Stream 2 project speak volumes on how the US wants to keep Europe in its own orbit. The new German government seems to have fallen straight into the US trap. In this context, the recent expulsion of two Russian diplomats posted to Berlin for dubious reasons has most likely set Russia back even further. German ministers have recently been tough on Russia in connection with Moscow’s tensions with NATO and the US.

Indeed, the US wants to expand NATO and create a crisis in Europe to bind the EU to Washington and prevent it from building a European security force. Given Ukraine’s reliance on $ 1 billion in revenue from the pipeline running through its territory, it is undisputed that once Ukraine loses that revenue, it will become even more of a burden for the US and the EU. In order to prevent this, the new German government is already intensively advising on the development of a framework for sanctions against Russia.

In other words, the Ukraine issue is already good business for the US when it comes to dominating European geopolitics. The ongoing crisis disrupted the timely commissioning of Nord Stream 2 and caused a “gas crisis” in Europe. The US is benefiting fully from this situation. At least 30 tankers carrying liquefied natural gas from the United States have already changed course to Europe.

Rising gas prices across the EU mean US gas suppliers will make more money in Europe than anywhere else. In short, it is the implementation of what Washington calls “free gas” for Europe compared to the “unfree” gas supplies from Russia.

While Russia was Europe’s largest gas supplier in the past, the US share is rather modest. Washington is therefore keen to increase its stake and to capture a lucrative market; hence his propaganda against the “unreliability” of the existing European supply sources. That this has always been the plan is evidenced by the US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s declaration in September 2021 that the price hike had “raised serious concerns and questions about the reliability of the existing supply and security in Europe”. “We and our partners must be ready to continue to fight back when there are actors who are manipulating care for their own benefit,” she added. The deliberate demonization of Nord Stream 2 is thus part of Washington’s policy of reducing Europe’s dependence on Moscow and increasing the continent’s dependence on Washington.

In other words, while Washington fears that the EU will find a way to redefine its relationship with Moscow, it wants to expand its own supplies to the EU to achieve what Russia claims to be pursuing, namely Europe from the US to make dependent. This dependency will be something like if NATO were a trapped market for US arms exports.

The fact that both the question of NATO enlargement to Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 project contain central US mechanisms for the domination of European politics makes Europe a trapped US territory, which in terms of its general military and economic security depends on the US.

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