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A Pipelineistan Fable for Our Times
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Once upon a time in Pipelineistan, tales of woe were the norm. Shattered dreams littered the chessboard – from IPI vs. TAPI in the AfPak realm to the neck-twisting Nabucco opera in Europe.

In sharp contrast, whenever China entered the picture, successful completion prevailed. Beijing financed a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang, finished in 2009, and will profit from two spectacular Power of Siberia deals with Russia.

And then there’s Ukraine. Maidan was a project of the Barack Obama administration, featuring a sterling cast led by POTUS, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John McCain and last but not least, prime Kiev cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland.

Ukraine was also supposed to prevent Russia from deepening energy ties with Germany, as well as other European destinations.

Well, it did not exactly play like that. Nord Stream was already operational. South Stream was Gazprom’s project to southeast Europe. Relentless pressure by the Obama administration derailed it. Yet that only worked to enable a resurrection: the already completed TurkStream, with gas starting to flow in January 2020.

The battlefield then changed to Nord Stream 2. This time relentless Donald Trump administration pressure did not derail it. On the contrary: it will be completed by the end of 2020.

Richard Grennel, the US ambassador to Germany, branded a “superstar” by President Trump, was furious. True to script, he threatened Nordstream 2 partners – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall – with “new sanctions.”

Worse: he stressed that Germany “must stop feeding the beast at a time when it does not pay enough to NATO.”

“Feeding the beast” is not exactly subtle code for energy trade with Russia.

Peter Altmaier, German minister of economic affairs and energy, was not impressed. Berlin does not recognize any legality in extra-territorial sanctions.

Grennel, on top of it, is not exactly popular in Berlin. Diplomats popped the champagne when they knew he was going back home to become the head of US national intelligence.

Trump administration sanctions delayed Nordstream 2 for around one year, at best. What really matters is that in this interval Kiev had to sign a gas transit deal with Gazprom. What no one is talking about is that by 2025 no Russian gas will be transiting across Ukraine towards Europe.

So the whole Maidan project was in fact useless.

It’s a running joke in Brussels that the EU never had and will never have a unified energy policy towards Russia. The EU came up with a gas directive to force the ownership of Nord Stream 2 to be separated from the gas flowing through the pipeline. German courts applied their own “nein.”

Nord Stream 2 is a serious matter of national energy security for Germany. And that is enough to trump whatever Brussels may concoct.

And don’t forget Siberia

The moral of this fable is that now two key Pipelineistan nodes – Turk Stream and Nord Stream 2 – are established as umbilical steel cords linking Russia with two NATO allies.

And true to proverbial win-win scripts, now it’s also time for China to look into solidifying its European relations.

Last week, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese premier Li Keqiang had a video conference to discuss Covid-19 and China-EU economic policy.

That was a day after Merkel and President Xi had spoken, when they agreed that the China-EU summit in Leipzig on September 14 would have to be postponed.
This summit should be the climax of the German presidency of the EU, which starts on July 1. That’s when Germany would be able to present a unified policy towards China, uniting in theory the 27 EU members and not only the 17+1 from Central Europe and the Balkans – including 11 EU members – that already have a privileged relationship with Beijing and are on board for the Belt and Road Initiative.

In contrast with the Trump administration, Merkel does privilege a clear, comprehensive trade partnership with China – way beyond a mere photo op summit. Berlin is way more geoeconomically sophisticated than the vague “engagement and exigence” Paris approach.

Merkel as well as Xi are fully aware of the imminent fragmentation of the world economy post-Lockdown. Yet as much as Beijing is ready to abandon the global circulation strategy from which it has handsomely profited for the past two decades, the emphasis is also on refining very close trade relations with Europe.

Ray McGovern has concisely detailed the current state of US-Russia relations. The heart of the whole matter, from Moscow’s point of view, was summarized by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, an extremely able diplomat:


“We don’t believe the US in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever. So our own calculations and conclusions are less related to what America is doing …. We cherish our close and friendly relations with China. We do regard this as a comprehensive strategic partnership in different areas, and we intend to develop it further.”

It’s all here. Russia-China “comprehensive strategic partnership” steadily advancing. Including “Power of Siberia” Pipelineistan. Plus Pipelineistan linking two key NATO allies. Sanctions? What sanctions?

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics • Tags: Germany, Nord Stream Pipelines, Russia 
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  1. Attila says:

    More and more I read this guys bunk I get convinced he is a China paid bitch. Should leave his cosy patch in Singapore? and move to Chicom paradiso or back to Ratzil.

  2. @Attila

    ah yes, the common response to conveyors of inconvenient truths – “Must be paid by China, so no need to address the actual argument”.

    • Agree: vox4non, Mary Marianne
  3. The US has been on a downward trajectory for decades. Military might and the US Dollar were the only things it had to keep their vassals in line.

    Things have changed over the years and now more and more countries are tired of sanctions and threats and are seeing alternatives to knuckling under to US demands. The US schtick is no longer working.

    I keep waiting for one of the occupied countries, like Germany, to tell the US to get the hell out. It will happen one day when they finally realize that their interests are better served elsewhere.

  4. The danger is natural gas becoming the accelerant that leads to the conflagration of Europe – the world.

  5. My god. An economics article! Talk about black swans! What on earth is a serious article on the topic of economics doing on this rag! Where is the race-baiting?! Economics being the only thing that matters, and the only thing that conservatives, liberals, alt-right, racists, anti-racists, the editorship of these mysteriously-financed organ, whoever, absolutely do not want you talking about, how can he get away with it. I’m waiting for the sequel that proves it’s all just a racial plot to make blacks conquer whites with their oil and gas.

    • LOL: showmethereal
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  6. A123 says:

    Interesting that the author intentionally omits the competing EastMed pipeline (1). It will supply NatGas from the Levianthan field to Geece, Italy, and other Southern European nations that despise German arrogance and authoritarianism.

    It is an obvious error on Russia’s part to bet everything in Germany. A large swath of Christian European countries will do what they can to avoid NordStream gas:

    — Not because the source is Russia.
    — Because it has transited Mullah Merkel’s authoritarian, SJW Globalist, Anti-Christian Reich.

    If Putin is smart he will find some way to let the project have a terminus in Poland that allows Eastern Europe to buy Russian gas without it being contaminated by the Red Arm Band ideology from The Dark Heart of Europe.

    PEACE 😷


  7. China is the future alright. Watch as most of Europe, country by country ( except perhaps the northern most insane and americanised fringe, if that isn’t to repeat myself) move into their orbit. The freer Europe is of the insanity of the US, the better for it. And with that, China has Eurasia.

    • Agree: Mary Marianne
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  8. @Attila

    Help me understand your comment… Are you claiming that the Russian Foreign Minister didn’t say those things??? Aside from that – what can you gripe about??

  9. @Attila

    Sir Halford Mackinder wrote over a century ago that the Eurasian Heartland, basically, Central Asia, was the key to eventual world domination. Russia and China, driven together across this landmass and strategically aligned by the American Empire’s ill-planned antagonism, are now heavily investing in the infrastructure that brings trainloads and pipelines of wealth back to the Heartland. Mackinder said, “who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island (that is, all Eurasia—my note, WW); who rules the World-Island commands the world.” Wealth brings power, and Pepe Escobar is simply channeling Mackinder, the father of modern geopolitics. So your problem is with Sir Halford and with reality, not with Pepe; don’t shoot the messenger.

  10. @obwandiyag

    Mike Hudson, for one, would be surprised to hear that there are no columns on

    And by the way, all lives matter.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  11. @RadicalCenter

    No ECONOMICS columns, that is. Do you actually read the columns on unz?

    • Replies: @A123
  12. A123 says:

    No ECONOMICS columns, that is. Do you actually read the columns on unz?

    I suspect that most readers have not noticed that there are one-off articles from non-columnists in the lower right section — CATEGORIES

    Here is one from IDEOLOGY Articles.

    The site design issue is giving the one-off columns more visibility means taking it from something else.

    PEACE 😇

  13. @Eugene Norman

    Why not China, Russia, EU all share eurasia? That would work.

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