The Russian massive energy transfer project to German and European markets, called Rolling Stream-2, was one of the major challenges between the United States and its European partners, especially Germany, which turned the Trump era into a major economic-political conflict.
The project, more than 90 percent complete, is expected to deliver more than 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year to German and European energy markets. Trump argues that Germany’s growing dependence on Russian gas and oil is a misguided strategy, making Europe more dependent on the Kremlin and, ultimately, more insecure. At the height of the North Stream 2 tensions, especially during the Trump era, German officials and politicians took the sharpest stand against American intervention, going so far as to explicitly state that German energy policy was in Berlin, not Washington. This was Germany’s first secession from the United States since the World War II.
Under Trump, the list of US threats and sanctions against rivals and even European partners grew to the point where it became full-blown trade and political war between the United States and the rest of the world. It was as if the US Treasury Department was doing nothing but imposing daily sanctions on countries and individuals and at the same time pressuring companies, banks and insurance companies and other Western and Eastern institutions to accompany and participate in the implementation of these sanctions and in case of violation, does not have to pay huge fines and all kinds of major economic and financial penalties. This trend caused hundreds of billions of dollars in annual losses to US allies, and in addition, global US markets were ceded to Europe, China, and other countries.
Europe, and especially Germany, which, according to its historical experience, is concerned about Moscow’s isolation due to the possibility of unpredictable Russian reactions, is keen on a thriving pure gas and oil trade with Moscow. They argue that Russia, in the worst of circumstances and even during the tense Cold War for 60 years without a problem, has always supplied Europe with oil and gas, and except in minor cases, there has been no problem in this trade between near and far neighbors.
Finally, after several years of struggle, the new US President Biden withdrew from the policy of sanctions against the North Stream-2 project in order to build trust and honesty in returning the United States to Europe. This was the first strategic US withdrawal from Europe and Russia. The Germans and other EU countries, which are well aware of Biden’s heavy domestic pressure to change their North Stream 2 sanctions policy. Biden also recognized the European Union by agreeing to North Stream 2 indirectly, an alliance that Trump sought to stop or dismantle among EU member states as well as the rest of the world, effectively paralyzing the EU by encouraging Britain to elect and boycott Rolling Stream 2.
By returning the United States to Europe, Biden undermined Britain’s credibility and respect in Europe and the world to such an extent that Britain was threatened with sanctions by the European Union. Britain’s geopolitics have been challenged to such an extent that Johnson has forced the British Prime Minister to put the defense of British territorial integrity in front of the EU at the top of his strategic agenda. By doing so, Biden pushed Ukraine, Poland, and some other European countries to the sidelines to side with Trump, but instead kept Germany, France, and other EU member states in a win-win situation.
Europe is well aware that Biden’s main strategic goal is not to confront Russia, and that confronting China is a US foreign policy priority. Of course, from this point of view, the cost of Biden’s waiver of the Stream-2 rolling embargo would be huge for Europe and Germany because it would force them to side with the United States against China, the big countries that have had economic ties for decades. They have established extensive and irreversible trade and technology with Beijing.
By abandoning the North Stream 2 sanctions package, the details of which were also discussed in Congress, Biden sent a clear message to Europe and Germany that the importance of relations with these countries in this time of international challenge is more important than supporting Britain and the North Stream pipeline. 2. In this way, Biden seeks to alleviate some of the distrust of European allies that has been created in recent years by the imposition of sanctions on many projects.
Biden, despite his gesture of lifting the North Stream-2 embargo, as well as adopting the so-called “return to allies” strategy, should not try to get the opinion of the Europeans, especially Germany and France, in all-out confrontations with China, especially in economic and technological fields. Because relations between China and most of the European countries, large and small, and above all Britain and Germany, have developed so much and led to deep dependencies that the Europeans simply cannot cooperate with Joe Biden’s American ambitions and goals against China. And have closed ears.
In the case of NATO, Biden put Trump under his feet. Trump launched a massive offensive in defense finance, threatening allies with a US withdrawal from NATO and leaving them alone, and, in particular, putting unprecedented pressure on Germany to take a 2% stake, threatening to withdraw US troops. From Germany. Even Trump’s relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was severely strained. Increasing this share to two percent of national production will cost Germany around 70 to 80 billion euros a year, which the country’s political parties oppose for a variety of reasons.
The Americans’ clear demand is that because of 70 years of secure US defense and security umbrellas since the end of World War II over European allies and their pursuit of prosperity, wealth, and the development of trade and technology, it is now their turn to contribute to the security of the Western world. Have more. The United States expected the traditional allies to increase their share of the defense budget to at least two percent of their GDP. The share of many NATO members is lower than this coefficient, and especially Germany, which has the strongest economy, trade and positive trade balance in its record every year and for several decades in Europe, eventually reduced its defense share in NATO to about 1.6.
The recent meeting of NATO leaders on issues such as Russia’s aggression, terrorist threats and cyber-attacks, emerging and destructive technologies, changing security conditions with the advent of China, and Iran’s missile program ended without serious decisions. While NATO did not talk about Taliban control over part of Afghanistan, the Chinese-Russian military maneuvers that coincided with the NATO summit and the mystery of leaving Afghanistan and the end of twenty years of spending in this country, and more about showing promises to preserve it. There was more environment and coordination. Of course, the presence in the costume of the president was symbolically important for NATO, which was in fact the meeting of the return of the United States to NATO and the beginning of the era of local minorities under Trump.
While the American demand for a share of the defense is reasonable, and the disobedience of the allies in today’s world full of threats and challenges is not justified, the Europeans have their reasons. They are particularly concerned with the growing losses and pressures of global sanctions imposed by the United States on a large number of countries, large and small, such as China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and others, and the damage they suffer through the cessation of trade with these countries. So at the recent NATO summit, there was no discussion of paying the defense’s share of the emphasis of previous meetings, and it was the ransom that Biden had to pay to bring the United States back to the international community and international order.
by Yahya Sorbello