Did the US (or its agents) blow up the Nordstream pipelines?
Thanks to an open threat issued by President Biden, the question must be asked: is the United States behind the two explosions that caused a massive natural gas leak into the Baltic Sea? The incident has cut off Russia's ability to deliver methane gas to Germany and other European nations.
The release of methane into the water and atmosphere is killing marine life and delivering a greenhouse gas pollutant into the atmosphere that would be gravely feared by believers in man-made global warming. The word "eco-terrorism" comes to mind the describe the act of sabotage, if that's what the explosions were.
YouTube screen grab (cropped).
Powerful voices are blaming Russia. According to the Washington Post, which frequently serves as an outlet for the Intelligence Community:
Five European officials with direct knowledge of security discussions said there was a widespread assumption that Russia was behind the incident. Only Russia had the motivation, the submersible equipment and the capability, several of them said, though they cautioned that they did not yet have direct evidence of Russia's involvement.
"No one on the European side of the ocean is thinking this is anything other than Russian sabotage," said a senior European environmental official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal thinking about the leak.
One official said it might have been a message to NATO: "We are close." Another said that it could be a threat to other, non-Russian energy infrastructure, since so many pipelines crisscross the Baltic Sea, including the one inaugurated Tuesday. A third noted that crucial internet data cables lie along the bottom of the sea, and there have been long-standing concerns that Russia has a submersible program that could cut them, causing communications chaos around the world.
But why would Russia want to preclude its ability to use the pipelines for leverage, threatening to further reduce — or increase — its delivery of natural gas? Russia could always cut deliveries without damaging the pipeline, after all, and maintain the ability to reward behavior it wants by increasing the delivery of gas. The explosions remove that lever from Putin's grasp.
What raises intense suspicion on the United States is the very specific threat that President Biden issued against Nordstream last February 7:
Pres. Biden: "If Russia invades ... then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it." Reporter: "But how will you do that, exactly, since ... the project is in Germany's control?" Biden: "I promise you, we will be able to do that."
Pres. Biden: "If Russia invades...then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it."— ABC News (@ABC) February 7, 2022
Reporter: "But how will you do that, exactly, since...the project is in Germany's control?"
Biden: "I promise you, we will be able to do that." https://t.co/uruQ4F4zM9 pic.twitter.com/4ksDaaU0YC
This is not conclusive proof of U.S. involvement, of course, but assuming Putin is not so stupid as destroy his own pipeline, it must raise grave suspicions in his mind that the U.S. is behind the eco-terrorism.
It remained far from clear who might be behind the leaks or any foul play, if proven, on the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building.
Russia, which slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, has also said sabotage was a possibility and that the leaks undermined the continent's energy security.
The European Union believes sabotage probably caused the leaks detected on Monday in the Nord Stream pipelines, Josep Borrell was reported as saying by German broadcaster ntv, echoing views aired by Germany, Denmark and Sweden on Tuesday. The EU has not named a potential perpetrator or suggested a reason behind it.
Tucker Carlson led his broadcast Tuesday with his view of the act and his fear of the kind of retaliation that Russia could undertake if it concludes that the U.S. was behind the explosions.
The threat of escalation of war, ultimately pitting the U.S. against Russia directly, instead of through proxies in Ukraine, is far more serious thanks to the Nordstream explosions. Russia maintains the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, it must always be remembered.