Is Joe Biden a Russian asset?
After reading this tale of three pipelines, an unhappy ending will be hard to avoid.
First, on January 20, Biden’s initial afternoon as president, he ditched the Trump-approved Keystone XL pipeline. Some 11,000 high-paying jobs, many unionized, vanished.
While these suddenly unemployed Americans sulked, Russian President Vladimir Putin cheered. By trapping Canadian oil underground, Keystone’s cancellation curbed long-term supplies of crude oil. This boosted global prices for Russia’s key export. Indeed, for this and other reasons, crude has crept from $53-per-barrel at Biden’s inauguration to $66 Friday — up 25 percent.
Second, the Colonial Pipeline’s operators shut it down May 7 after a Russian ransomware attack. Carteresque gasoline lines soon stretched from Georgia to Washington, D.C. Biden stayed mum until May 10, when he tepidly exonerated the Kremlin.
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“So far, there is no evidence, based on our intelligence people, that Russia is involved,” Biden said. Officials blamed DarkSide’s private-sector e-thieves, not state-sponsored saboteurs.
OK, but where was Biden’s outrage? Where were Biden’s public demands that Putin deploy his secret-police to smoke out these cyberhoods and extradite them for U.S. interrogation and prosecution?
Third, Biden then rewarded the Kremlin for its acquiescence (or worse) in the Colonial caper by scrapping sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Journalists asked Biden why he took this step.
“Because it’s almost completely finished, number one,” he replied. Biden then babbled on. “The idea that anything that — and it’s not like I can allow Germany to do something they’re not.”
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So, just because Germany has a heroin-filled hypodermic needle half an inch from a vein, the leader of the free world should shrug and let it insert the darn thing?
Biden’s betrayal also fails on environmental grounds.
Germany will not import American liquefied natural gas, as President Donald J. Trump pressed Chancellor Angela Merkel to do. Nor will Germany swap gas for wind farms, solar panels, or geothermal plants. Instead, Germany will burn Russian natural gas. While that fuel is one third cleaner than oil and twice as clean as coal, Germany and some neighboring nations still will turn gas into energy and carbon dioxide.
Page 308 of Keystone’s environmental impact statement says that its oil would have generated up to 178 million metric tons of CO2 annually. For those whom this irks, killing Keystone was a beautiful thing.
Nord Stream 2 would carry up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Ust-Luga, Russia to Greifswald, Germany. That gas, according to Gen Less’s online calculator, would generate 132 million metric tons of CO2. So, by speeding Nord Stream 2, Biden will have combusted 74 percent of the anti-global-warming “benefit” that he created by junking Keystone.
Environmentalists should be enraged.
Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 will add $3.3 billion to Russia’s annual GDP, Statista estimates. Though a tidy sum, the Kremlin’s jackpot is geopolitical.
“Nord Stream 2 would enable the Putin regime to further weaponize Russia’s energy resources to exert political pressure throughout Europe,” four bipartisan U.S. House members warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a February 17 letter.
“The majority of Europe also opposes the Kremlin-backed pipeline, particularly in light of the poisoning and wrongful arrest of leading Russian anti-corruption activist and opposition figure Alexey Navalny,” added Democratic Representatives Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Republicans Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Michael McCaul of Texas, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s ranking GOP member.
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“As Gazprom has done every so often with former Soviet republics, Russia can use Nord Stream for political or financial extortion,” the Atlantic Council’s Anders Åslund wrote on April 27. “The geopolitical effect of the completion could be devastating. Russia’s obvious intention has been to form an alliance with Germany and Austria (also with the Netherlands and Belgium) against Eastern and Northern Europe. NS2 is Russia’s most daring attempt to break up the EU.”
Nord Stream 2 also would deprive Moscow’s ex-satellites of revenues from pipelines that traverse their territories. Elsevier Energy Policy’s researchers concluded last June: “Ukraine alone is to lose an estimated $2 billion from transfer fees and, to a lesser extent, the EU members Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland would be also harmed by Nord Stream 2.”
Amplifying strategic concerns about Nord Stream 2 is the fact that its CEO is Matthias Warnig. He was a former officer in the Stasi, East Germany’s answer to the KGB, for the latter of which Putin spied. Deutsche Welle described Warnig as “Putin’s friend from East Germany.” As DW’s Roman Goncharenko reported on January 25, “It’s thought the two may have met through their respective secret services in the former East Germany, but the official line is that they only made contact later, in St. Petersburg, after both had changed profession.”
Warnig told Austria’s Die Presse in 2018 that Putin did not have a cell phone (his sole saving grace), “But if I want something and need to see him, we arrange it.”
Finally, Biden decided that the time is right for a June 16 summit with Putin in Geneva, following G-7 and NATO conclaves. Thus, Moscow will pay not even a diplomatic price after its citizens corked U.S. fuel supplies in exchange for a $4.4 million Bitcoin ransom.
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Biden has squandered Trump’s hard-won energy independence, relegated 11,000 American pipeline workers to the unemployment lines, and torpedoed Trump’s diplomacy, which had prevented Germany from sticking Putin’s natural-gas needle into its collective arm. Now, Germany will become addicted — not to U.S. liquefied natural gas, but gas from the very adversary that NATO was designed to defeat.
As oligarchs savor caviar and vodka just yards from Lenin’s Tomb, perhaps Democrats could explain again why Trump was Moscow’s mule, and Biden is the cure to his predecessor’s “Russian collusion.”
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