By Theodore Shoebat
The Trump administration just authorized for sanctions to be imposed on European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which is being constructed to allow for natural gas to be transported from Russia to Germany. The US has sixty days to establish which companies and individuals will be getting sanctioned. As we read in a report from DW:
US sanctions targeting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany became law on Friday evening after President Donald Trump signed off on a massive defense bill.
The sanctions target companies involved in constructing the $11 billion (€9.93 billion) energy project, which will transport Russian gas under the Baltic Sea and deliver it directly to Germany.
The Trump administration now has 60 days to identify companies and individuals providing services for the pipeline. The sanctions allow Washington to revoke US visas and block the property of these individuals. Those targeted by the sanctions would then have 30 days to wind down their operations.
One of those companies, Allseas of Switzerland, which is laying the pipeline, announced just hours after the sanctions were signed into law that it had “suspended its Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities.”
On Saturday, the group behind the pipeline said it would aim to complete the project quickly in an effort to minimize the damage of US sanctions.
“Completing the project is essential for European supply security. We, together with the companies supporting the project, will work on finishing the pipeline as soon as possible,” Nord Stream 2 said in a statement.
What would this cause? This would be yet another piece of propaganda material provided by the Americans that Germany would use to justify further polarizing herself from American hegemony. In May of 2019, Klaus Ernst, head of the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy, decried the US pressure against the pipeline as an indication that Germany living as though she is a colony of the Americans. As we read in a report from Almanar:
Klaus Ernst, head of the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy, stated that US sanctions against Russian and German companies are unacceptable.
“The current actions by the American ambassador in Germany are simply unacceptable, it seems like we are a colony of the United States”, he said, adding that Washington wants to sell gas to Europe, so it’s trying to retaliate against cooperation between Russia and the EU.
He also stressed there are not only economic, but also ecological issues with US LNG.
“The first problem is liquefied gas. There is a discussion in Germany whether fracking is acceptable as a method of gas production in the US. Russian gas is more advantageous to us than liquefied gas for environmental reasons. Secondly, US gas is not competitive in terms of price when compared to Russian gas”, the lawmaker said.
The Germans are only going to rebel against American power and advance the envisage of containing Europe for herself away from US grips. Just as sanctions have bolstered the position of hardliners in Iran, sanctions — if imposed — will not help and only serve as great propaganda for the Germans to remonstrance against the Americans.
With the United States pressuring the Germans to pay for their own defense, with Britain on its way to leave the EU, with Trump telling the Ukrainian president that Germany does nothing for Ukraine, and now with Trump okaying sanctions in order to impede a geo-economic enterprise between Germany and Russia, the Germans are going to be intensifying their pursuit to power for independence from the American security blanket.
Mike Pence recently chastised Germany for not ‘doing enough’ to spend on its own defense for NATO. In a speech the vice president did recently, he said:
US Vice President Mike Pence on April 3 chastised Germany for not spending enough on defense, warned Turkey against going ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system, cautioned against the rise of China, and sought to reassure NATO allies that they will always have the United States’ support.
US President Donald J. Trump has led the charge against NATO allies who do not meet the 2 percent of GDP defense spending target set at the Alliance’s Wales Summit in 2014. All allies are supposed to meet that goal by 2024. So far only seven of NATO’s twenty-nine member states meet that target; Germany is among those that lag behind.
On April 3, the eve of NATO’s seventieth anniversary, it was Pence’s turn to take allies to task.
“NATO is a mutual defense pact, not a unilateral security agreement,” Pence said in remarks at NATO Engages, a daylong conference jointly hosted by the Atlantic Council, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Munich Security Conference in Washington.
Pence excoriated Germany for not spending more on defense. “More of our allies are now meeting their commitments, but still others are falling short. And, as we all acknowledge, Germany is chief among them,” he said.
He noted that the annual report to parliament in Berlin last year revealed “glaring deficiencies in Germany’s military readiness.”
“And yet, as we stand here today, Germany still refuses to make the necessary investment of two percent of its GDP to our common defense,” the vice president said. “After great prodding it agreed to spend only 1.5 percent of its GDP on defense by 2024, but the draft budget for 2019 just presented to German parliament actually falls short of even that commitment, promising only 1.3 percent.”
“Germany must do more,” said Pence.
Well Pence, they are, and I hope you are happy. But I must warn you, be careful of what you ask for .
The Germans are only going to take Pence’s words and use them to further green light themselves to justify more military buildup.
The United States, with its push for European countries — especially Germany — to ‘pay their fair share’ in defense, in enabling the Germans to significantly boost their spending for their military. The United States is facilitating the creation of a new German military industrial complex. Brexit was to the glee of the Germans, since with the British leaving the EU it means an end to the UK’s veto which has acted as an impediment to the German aspiration for a big Euro army. In a report last year published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, written by Amélie Lohmann and Claudia Major, it reads:
“The signs for closer cooperation are there: With Britain’s exit from the EU, a traditional veto for further European cooperation will disappear. U.S. President Trump is raising doubts about American security guarantees and is signaling to Europeans that they need to pull their own weight. Furthermore, EU member states cannot hide from the difficult security challenges within and around Europe.”
Annegret Bendiek, writing last year for the same major German think-tank — in an article entitled, The New ‘Europe of Security’, affirms that Brexit and Trump’s rhetoric is what has been motivating the sudden enthusiasm for European militarism:
“The imminent departure of the UK from the EU and Donald Trump’s unpredictability as President of the United States are the main motives for the EU to seriously address its discussed but undefined goal of ‘strategic autonomy’ in the EUGS from July 2016.”
The Germans, while acknowledging NATO, have been arguing for a pan-European defense force, for the security of Europe itself. As the Japanese have been pushing for military independence from the United States, so the Germans have been pushing for military independence from NATO. Just recently, Germany’s defense minister, Urusula van der Leyen, in an interview in the Munich Defense Conference, spoke of the European Defense Fund, a military command for a pan-European military force, and the need for EU troops to be in Africa:
“What is important for me is its no competition to NATO, its complementary. NATO will always be collective defense. But there are other tasks, if I just look at Africa for example. There are other tasks where Europe is needed. And up to a few months, Europe wasn’t able to act at all because we didn’t have neither the procedures nor the structures. Now we are establishing those with a military command, with a European Defense Fund, just to name some examples, so that we are able to act for our own security too.”
Notice what van der Leyen says in the beginning of the video: Germany’s military advancements is about sending a message “across the Atlantic,” meaning to the United States. In the 2018 Munich Security Conference, Ursula van der Leyen sentanother message to the US, stating that Europe (that is to say, Germany) must have more military might, and must be “more European”:
“Last year I was able to open this conference with my colleague Jim Mattis . Today I open with my French colleague, Florence Parly. Both are expressions of German politics: We want to remain transatlantic – and at the same time become more European. It is about a Europe that can also throw more weight militarily in the military. … The beginning is made: we have launched the European Defense Union. We have set out politically to create an ‘army of Europeans’! … And we need a common strategic culture of Europe. A common European understanding of our interests, our goals and our instruments of external action. Only then will Europe gain the necessary weight.”
Trump’s push for European countries to reach the spending requirement of “2% GDP” for defense, is being seen as a great blow against European free loaders by an American nationalist president. However, while some German politicians express outrage against Trump for the press, the militarists of Germany are in glee that America is giving them the green light to boost the momentum for military spending, military activity, and military technology.
In a report produced in November of 2017 by the Munich Security Conference and McKinsey & Company, we find that the Germans are taking Trump’s call for a 2% GDP spending plan for defense, and want to increase it to 3%. The conference and McKinsey produced a report entitled, More European, More Connected, More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future, which states:
“Wolfgang Ischinger [the chairman of the Munich Security Conference] has proposed to broaden the 2-percent goal, advancing a 3-percent goal for contributions to international security.”
The presentation by Peter E. Uhde also talks about a military plan for Hungary that is set to be in full materialization by 2026:
“by 2026, the ‘two percent target’ of GDP, which is set at the NATO summit on 4-5. September 2014 in Wales has been agreed. “Zrínyi 2026” is the name of a ten-year defense and military development program. This includes a voluntary reserve system for territorial protection, ie homeland security.”
In 2017, a Major General of the German air force, Servatius Maeßen, wrote that the 2% rule should be applied to not just combat terrorism, but migration as well. Again, it shows how the German government is using the migration crises as a reason to start militarism, as a means to a militarist end. As Servatius wrote:
“It is high time we reviewed and expanded the discussion about the 2% increase in safety precaution. If there is a broad consensus that the following factors threaten our security, namely,
– Military violence,
– International crime,
then it would be appropriate to combine activities and investments to protect against these risks across departments and federal / state governments and to set the costs in relation to GDP.”
People within the German government, and in the think-tanks that work in conjunction with the state, are talking about making the Germany militarily stronger, all under the pretense that the United States cannot be relied upon for security. Ulrike Merten, the president of Germany’s Society for Security Policy, just recently stated in a defense conference that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the conflict in Yugoslavia (in which Germany was very involved), “in the long run Europe could not trust that the Americans would get them out of the fire permanently on their own continent.”
Merten went on to say that the reason why Germany’s military is too small, and not efficient enough, is because it is currently made for “reactive” situations like peace-keeping missions, such as the ones in Mali or Afghanistan. But, she said, this has begun to change since the Ukraine conflict in 2014, after which military spending increased, and, she hopes, this will lead to more recruitment into the military:
“Only the Ukraine Crisis 2014 led to a rethinking and the admission that it is not the best with the Bundeswehr.… The most visible sign is certainly the significant increase in the defense budget by 8 percent in 2016. This should be started as a development that increases the number of combat vehicles again, the readiness of the material improves through better maintenance, through the ‘agenda attractiveness’ recruitment and staffing be relieved.”
Both the Munich Security Conference of 2017 and the major financial consultant, McKinsey & Company, produced a document in 2017 called, More European, More Connected, More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future. In this report, interestingly enough, World War Two is brought up, in the sense that Germany, as it says, is going to have to arm itself more now than ever since that great and bloody conflict:
“The picture has changed dramatically. In just the last five years, threats have multiplied and shifted, and Europe as a whole is now arguably being called upon to do more for its own security than at any point since World War II.”
The report also quotes Merkel, who was present in the Munich Security Conference, when she said that Europe can no longer rely on America (after Trump’s comments that Germany should pay its fair share) and must direct its own “destiny” in military developments:
“The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent. […] We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”
McKinsey Deutschland is very close to Germany’s military industrial complex. It is not coincidental that in 2014, Germany’s Defense Minister, Ursula van der Leyen, appointed as State Secretary Katrin Suder, who was then the head of McKinsey Deutschland’s Berlin office. In 2014, right after the Russians invaded Crimea, this same Suder commissioned the German defense ministry to write up a report entitled, “Strategic forecast 2040,” in which was written a number of future scenarios that could take place in the 2040s.
The document “depicts a crumbling EU and a former leading power, the USA, trying in vain to stem an erosion of the world order. … There are signs of the economic downfall and a backsliding of world politics. ‘A “cycle of retreat” develops,’ which ‘lets worldwide crises escalate.’” In other words, the report describes a world conflagration, a world war.
The German politician, Andreas Nick of the Christian Democrats said that he wanted to increase defense spending to 3% of German GDP. But Trump is giving the Germans more than this, saying that they should spend 4%. Germany is in glee knowing that the Americans are pushing them towards military independence. Turkey and Germany are both receiving the green light to make their plowshares into swords.
And if you think that Pence is against Turkey because of Russian weapons purchase, think again. Pence acted the sycophant towards Turkey:
Now, lets say Germany increases their military spending, what happens when they sever ties with the US? You will no longer have a reinvigorated German military for NATO, but for another Reich.