RPT - New Republican Threats Unlikely To Reverse Biden Position On Nord Stream 2 - Experts

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th July, 2021) Republican threats to block official appointments will not convince the Biden administration to impede construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, experts told Sputnik.

On Wednesday, US Senate banking committee Republicans threatened to oppose the nomination of senior Treasury officials unless the Biden administration imposed sanctions related to the construction of Nord Stream 2. Last week, President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed a deal that requires the US to allow for the unhindered completion of Nord Stream 2 including by refraining from sanctions.

"Nord Stream 2 is a done deal," historian and political commentator Dan Lazare. "The Republicans can't [stop it]."

Besides, Lazare added, US arguments that Nord Stream 2 would make Western Europe dependent on Russia for oil never made sense.

"The Russians had never used Nord Stream 1 in order to gain leverage over European politics, so why would they use Nord Stream 2?" Lazare asked.

The fact that Nord Stream goes through international waters means that its legal position is impeccable, Lazare pointed out.

"Moreover, everyone agreed that replacing Russian natural gas with LNG [liquefied natural gas] shipped 5,000 miles from Texas was absurd - everyone, that is, except [Texas Senator] Ted Cruz's oil pals. So that argument was destined to go nowhere as well," he said.

In truth, the only reason Washington opposed the project is because it wanted Russia to continue paying transit fees to Kiev for the use of old pipelines, he added. However, Ukraine had failed to be a reliable business partner to the interested parties in the gas trade, Lazare recalled.

American University in Moscow President Edward Lozansky said German-Russian cooperation over the Nord Stream 2 project was a successful example of free market international trade that US ideologists claimed to value.

"Those who object to Biden's deal with Merkel show their lack of strategic foreign policy vision and readiness to dismiss free market rules when they do not serve their interests. Germany is the main US ally and it really wants Nord Stream 2 since it is the best for their economy," he said.

The deal is also safe considering the US House and Senate are controlled by Democrats and they as well as the media "will not let Biden down," he added.

University of Pittsburgh Professor of International Affairs Michael Brenner observed that the project was initiated by Germany - not Russia - because Berlin badly needed the gas once Merkel committed to shutting down nuclear.

"Washington has two interests: weakening Russia, above all; and selling more expensive US sourced LNG for economic as well as political reasons. That is why we have been hawking LNG all over the region using high pressure tactics [including] blackmail," Brenner explained.

Financial analyst and former London merchant banker Martin Hutchinson agreed that efforts to block completion of the pipeline came too little, too late.

"Could they stop it? I doubt it: The thing is nearly finished and it was probably a futile attempt anyway," Hutchinson said.

The efforts to block the pipeline were just another example of the United States "overreaching as usual," Hutchinson concluded.