By Conor Gallagher
Yves wrote yesterday about what the Russian response might be to the Nord Stream attacks. I wanted to touch on a few other potential consequences I’ve come across, and as there are no doubt more, hope to see them in comments.
Economic Catastophre in Europe Now Certain
There were questions in Washington as to whether European resolve would hold up through the winter, as well as unconfirmed reports that Berlin and Moscow were even holding secret talks to reopen Nord Stream 1 and begin the transfer of gas through Nord Stream 2.
Now Germany’s fate is sealed – as is most of the continent’s. There is no longer an off ramp, and Europeans are now prisoners of NATO committed to their own self-destruction.
Slovakia is already requesting billions of euros in support. How long until every other member of the block is asking for the same?
Prior to the Nord Stream attacks, there was at least a faint possibility that sanity would prevail and Russian energy imports could resume. Now the extent of the damage means they are unlikely to carry any gas to Europe this winter even if there was political will to bring them online.
Just to recap a little of what that is likely to mean:
- European banks are already stress-testing how they can cope with power shortages and are trying to line up generators so that ATMs and online banking don’t go dark.
- Mobile phones could stop functioning this winter if power cuts or rationing knock out parts of the mobile networks.
- Science shutdown as institutes that operate energy-hungry supercomputers, accelerators, and laser beamlines will shutter.
- Hundreds of thousands of excess deaths.
And yet Europe continues to double down, proposing a new round of Russian sanctions on Wednesday. They include tighter trade restrictions, more individual blacklistings, and an oil price cap for third countries. Hungary, though, says it won’t go along with any energy sanctions, and the EU needs unanimity to impose sanctions.
Poland and three Baltic countries are upset the proposed sanctions don’t go further.
Speaking of Poland, it’s coming up in the world. The Baltic Pipeline that opened Tuesday will bring gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark, but has a capacity of only 10 billion cubic meters per year. The Nord Stream systems could carry up to 110 cubic meter per year.
The US Department of State yesterday announced $288.6 million in military aid for Poland, making it “one of the largest recipients of foreign military assistance outside of Ukraine.” If John Helmer is right about Polish Navy and special forces being behind the pipeline attacks (with support from the US), maybe it’s a reward for a job well done.
If the 2008 financial crisis was the beginning of the end of the era of European social democracy, what’s going to happen now with Great Depression conditions and people freezing to death?
Center-right parties are already being shown the exit, and far-right nationalists are ascending.
Both the Sweden Democrats and the Brothers of Italy were victorious this month. While they both remain anti-immigrant and as nationalist as one can be within the confines of the EU, they also both renounced their former NATO-skeptic positions in the run up to elections. Brussels would be lucky if that’s the extent of the backlash to its Russia policy.
It’s hard to believe that’ll be the case. If voting is still the preferred method to select leaders once this crisis picks up steam, what happens if anti-EU parties come to power across the bloc and in power centers like Berlin?
Protests were already erupting in Germany and elsewhere against the closure of the pipelines before they were attacked. Germany is rushing out a 200 billion euro package to help protect businesses and households, but it’s unlikely to anything more than ease the pain.
German consumer confidence hits extreme lows. pic.twitter.com/ZtmcXbCtK2
— (((The Daily Shot))) (@SoberLook) September 29, 2022
OUCH! German #inflation hits double digits for 1st time since WWII. Sep CPI accelerates to 10% from 7.9% in August. pic.twitter.com/bDmR2PQnNT
— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) September 29, 2022
The anti-EU party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is already rising in the polls as it attacks the sanctions policy against Russia.
“They are saying that corrupt lawmakers are ignoring the needs of the people,” Wolfgang Schroeder, a political science professor at the University of Kassel, told DW. “They’re arguing that elites in Moscow aren’t the victims of these sanctions policies, but the German people are.”
According to DW, that message is resonating:
According to figures published by research firm INSA, national support for Scholz’s party has fallen from 25.7% in last year’s federal election to 18% on Monday, the FDP has been reduced by half to 7% and even the Green Party is now experiencing a backlash against their plans to mitigate the gas shortage. The AfD, in the same time frame, has risen in the national polls from 10% to 15%, one of its highest levels ever.
In France, while President Emmanuel Macron managed to win re-election earlier this year, the major takeaway from the contest was the rise of the anti-EU right, which is now the second largest party in Parliament. Macron is already facing a 60 percent disapproval rating.
During challenges to the EU (e.g., the 2014-16 migrant crisis, COVID response), it becomes every country for themselves. What’s going to happen during what’s likely to be the biggest crisis the bloc has ever faced? Reuters:
EU laws oblige member states to send gas to a neighbouring state whose households or essential services like hospitals face a severe shortage. To make that happen, governments arrange bilateral deals. However, just eight countries are covered by the six agreements so far.
The US Takes a Victory Lap
Energy companies and traders are making a killing on exporting LNG to Europe with some recording record profits, but the US is now dealing with much higher prices itself. Irina Slav writes at Oilprice.com:
Meanwhile, however, LNG prices have soared like an eagle, China is re-selling Russian LNG to Europe, and gas prices in the U.S. are three times higher now than they were a decade ago and up 95 percent on the futures market for November 2022 to March 2023.
Backlash against the LNG exports to Europe have already begun in the US with a group of New England states requesting that Washington help their states rather than Europe.
Due to Germany’s demise, the US would seem to salvage some sort of victory from the pipeline attacks even if Russia wins on the battlefield in Ukraine but are still hoping to turn it into a multi-year conflict.
“I want to be very clear about this, [the] United States will never, never, never recognize Russia’s claims on Ukraine sovereign territory,” Biden said on Thursday referring to the four regions of Ukraine that just voted to join the Russian Federation.
Washington announced yesterday it’s sending another $12 billion to Kiev and setting up a new single command center in Germany to coordinate training and assistance to Ukraine – a sign they “expect the threat from Russia to Ukraine and its neighbors to persist for many years.”
As there’s no more off-ramp incentive for Europe, there’s now no reason for Brussels not to “fight to the last Ukrainian.” Hawks in Washington are rejoicing:
in memoriam #rip pic.twitter.com/fbEBZF2dmM
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) September 28, 2022
But Ian Bremmer has accurately been described as “the man with his finger just off the pulse,” so while the US will benefit in some ways now, the long term might not be so great.
Irish economist Philip Pinkington compares what’s about to happen to Europe to the Great Depression and says that even if some European industry moves to the US, it will be a short-term victory. He predicts the following:
Some might assume that this might provide an opportunity for other Western countries. Many think that, for example, America might be able to “reshore” European manufacturing. This is unlikely to be the case. If European industry crumbles, Europe once again becomes an economic black hole — as it did in the 1930s. Trade will dry up and its key trade partners will feel the burn. In short, if America tries to ship European manufacturing to its shores, it will soon find that there is no one to buy the products.
Yet there is one key difference between the world of the 1920s and 1930s and today. Back in the interwar period, there was no real rival economic bloc to the West. Russia was a small player, China was an agricultural economy, and what we now call the “developing economies” (Brazil, India, South Africa etc.) were anything but developing. That is no longer the case.
His analysis does assume that the “Empire of Chaos” doesn’t have more tricks up its sleeve, however. Countries and regions that appear stable now might not be that way in the not-too-distant future. Let’s not forget that at the beginning of this year Germany was a safe and prosperous economic powerhouse.
The Widening Battlefield
Putin acknowledged yesterday how Western forces are attempting to stir up trouble all around Russia in former Soviet states:
Pursuing their goals, our geopolitical adversaries, our opponents, as we said recently, are ready to expose anyone, everyone, any country to a blow, turning it into a ground zero of a crisis, instigating “colour revolutions” and unleashing bloody massacres. We have seen this many times before. We also know that the West is devising scenarios for inciting new conflicts in the [Commonwealth of Independent States].
If it wasn’t abundantly clear already, the pipeline destruction in the Baltic Sea makes it clear the battlefield is no longer confined to Ukraine. Moscow said it recently foiled an attack on one of its pipelines to Turkey, claiming:
A Ukrainian agent tried to sabotage infrastructure in Russia involved in exporting energy to Turkey and Europe, Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, reported.
That would mean it’s the Turkstream pipeline, which carries gas from Russia to Turkey and then onto Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia are all countries who have not swallowed the NATO line on Russia hook, line, and sinker.
Would the US/NATO/Ukraine go after other pipelines like Turkstream if Turkey, Hungary, and Serbia continue to play nice with Russia?
And if the Nord Stream attacks mean pipelines are now fair game, well, things could get very interesting.
Anders Puck Nielsen, a researcher with the Center for Maritime Operations at the Royal Danish Defence College, told the Associated Press:
We have pipelines, we have communication cables like the internet. We have just power lines running on the seabed. All of this is vulnerable and our societies are very dependent on it. And it’s very, very difficult to monitor what’s going on and to prevent a case of sabotage.
As Yves pointed out yesterday, China’s official English-language organ, gently pointed the finger at the US for the pipeline attacks. Yesterday China’s military brass announced increased cooperation with Russia. From TASS:
China intends to press ahead in advancing its military cooperation with Russia and replenishing it with new strategic content, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman, Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, said on Thursday.
Beijing is proceeding cautiously, but is increasingly moving off the sidelines. China has access to cheap and reliable natural resources from Russia, and a Balkanization of the country would be detrimental to Beijing’s interests. China also favors international structural stability, and if the US wants to turn the whole world into a battlefield, what other choice does Beijing have?
Diana Johnstone sums it up nicely at Consortium News:
Gangster wars are waged to remove competitors. In gangster wars you issue an obscure warning, then you smash the windows or burn the place down.
Gangster war is what you wage when you already are the boss and won’t let any outsider muscle in on your territory. For the dons in Washington, the territory can be just about everywhere.
Just a thought on Georgia Meloni’s position on NATO – her “atlanticism” is probably only skin deep. She is a very slippery character and would probably change her mind quickly, if she felt the heat of her electorate (I hope!). Based on my anecdata, the Ukraine war was never a popular thing with those on the Right and is losing ground with the Left as winter’s cold gets closer. Confindustria (chamber of commerce) has issued repeated warnings about the need for immediate action to reinstate energy supplies and reduce costs, or Italy will suffer irreparable damage to its industrial base. Italy’s economy has been wobbly for a couple of decades now and this will be the colpo di grazia that could sink the country for at least a generation and could provoke a financial collapse. If Italy defaults on its debt (or even threatens to do so), the eurozone will almost certainly disintegrate.
The sh!t is hitting the fan, folks! Buckle up and get ready!
BillS: Agreed. Matteo Salvini was already a tad wobbly on sanctions, and I doubt that the accusations recently made that he’s filoputiano mattered to him.
I have read a number of articles by Marco Travaglio, Barbara Spinelli, and others indicating that the interests of the US of A don’t coincide with those of Italy. Alessandro Orsini, notorious no-goodnik, keeps repeating the same message on Cartabianca. The message is sinking in.
I suspect that that the Italians will start to edge toward some kind of neutrality. The Pope and his often-expressed views on the need for negotiations will help.
And once the German economy goes into a coma, that leaves Italy as the major industrial power in the EU.
This is serious business.
Yes. an aside: I wonder if the Brussels gang will try regaining control by introducing programmable central bank digital currency as an answer.
Interesting on Italy… they do have extensive manufacturing. The new government from what I understand is anti-china though which doesn’t help. I know Chinese and Italian manufacturing are interlinked in a way.
When you refer to the “Interests of the USA” you are actually referring to multinational Corporations such as the oil companies.
This insanity ( And it is insanity) does not benefit 99.99% of the American populace.
And if you think the USA is a stable country you are not paying attention, more than 1MM deaths from Covid is but one indication.
The people making these decisions ARE insane, they are NOT rational and they may well start a Nuclear out of Hubris, Pique and Stupidity.
The future does not hold the Rapture, it will be the Crapture instead.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call US political leaders insane, but they’re definitely one of the most selfish, self absorbed groups of people on earth.
I noticed that Putin just echoed Meloni’s attack on labeling people gender1, gender2, etc. instead of man and woman.
Some Italian bureaucratic forms refer to Genitore 1 and Genitore 2. Parent 1 and Parent 2.
This is the kind of stuff that only rightwingers get all huffy about.
Is that what you are referring to?
There was a clip of Meloni going about in which she also quoted Chesterton. I didn’t know it was already a thing, I thought it was some abstract dystopian hyperbole.
Some in France picked this up a few years ago, though with suitable mockery:
Vader: “Luke, je suis ton parent 2”
Everybody says that but nobody says how.
Easy: just locate a new planet suitable for human life, and develop a method of interstellar travel that can get you there.
Be sure to pack an extra toothbrush (or two)
And a towel. Always have a towel.
Yes — you never know when the Vogons may show up in your galaxy looking to put through an interstellar highway …
Or the dreaded Vogon poetry, You must spread the towel wide so it covers both ears and then hold on tight. You can practice by listening to Amanda Gordon poems.
Actually I quite like it. It’s very melodious-
‘Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me, (with big yawning)
As plurdled gabbleblotchits, in midsummer morning
On a lurgid bee,
That mordiously hath blurted out,
Its earted jurtles, grumbling
Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming]
Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles,
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts,
And living glupules frart and stipulate,
Like jowling meated liverslime,
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
And hooptiously drangle me,
With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries.
Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
See if I don’t!’
Perhaps you could start by evaluating what is important in your life and then move on to practical things like preparing for food shortages, civil unrest and blackouts. Cultivating relationships with family, friends and neighbours should be at the top of your list. NC friends count as well! :-)
Oh, yes, a towel and a toothbrush are indeed recommended!
In speaking about what is different now, wasn’t food security different then as more farmers and more gardens? Supermarkets are a relatively new concept. Cold AND hungry bodes even less well.
Sweaters, coats, boots, gloves, hats, candles and cans of sardines in oil(water healthier but it freezes)
Start a garden if you can…
Just left a comment in that ‘Michael Hudson on The Euro Without Germany’ post about the Laws of Unintended Consequences but I see that Conor Gallagher has done a fine job here of thinking out some of the major ones already. You know what this feels like? It’s like when you are on a hillside when suddenly and for no obvious reason, you start to hear gravel slides nearby. Makes you want to look in every direction at once.
So pleased to hear that things are going well with Poland. I have been also hearing that they want an Anschluss with western Ukraine and if so, I give them my blessings. But for their own sake, they had better make sure that it does not end up like that time that Boeing absorbed McDonnell Douglas. And guess what. All those Azov crazies? They will through being – kinda – Polish to have EU passports so they can then go all over the continent.
The Nazi disease appears to be endemic. I applaud Putin’s hopeful intent to de-nazify Ukraine, but this plague, having once appeared and infected any part of the Euro population, will be harder than Covid to extirpate.
No doubt lots of nasty Nazis, seeing the way the SMO and now CTO are headed, have relocated to Poland and other parts of Europe from their lairs in Ukraine. For the Russians to do the kind of de-nazification that ought to be done, bigger operational plans and resort to really big weapons would be required.
I doubt any player in the global Game of Risk! really wants to get rid of Nazi-thinkers — those folks are so very useful to oppressive regimes and people who profit from wars and destruction. Operation Paperclip, Operation Gladio, all the Nazis who relocated to Britain to help fight the Cold War, their contributions to the political economies of many South and Central American states.
I wish the Russians the best in their efforts. But even succeeding in kicking the Nazis, who are generally shown to be bullies and cowards and will sneak back into Ukraine as soon as the shooting stops and use their complete normlessness to re-establish themselves in the fertile Ukraine political soil, out for the moment, will sadly not be a solution.
Which Nazis relocated to Britain? I was not aware of any Germans, other than wartime exiles (“Good” Germans…). Perhaps there were some hiding on the Poles but on the whole Britain did not take many displaced persons, that I know of.
Britain had its own home-grown Nazis, alright, even in Parliament. These just went underground during WW2 and aftermath when their leader got imprisoned.
Google Sir Oswald Mosley, or “List of British Fascist Parties”.
I remember a clip from BBC on Mosely. “popular and hansom as Richard Burton, cus I saw him an the box with his black shirt on” bunch of skin heads singing. late 50’s ?
JT, at 2:03 pm
Many of those Ukrainian patriotic zealots have already zelled themselves into North America, I fear. The porous border with Mexico has especially welcomed many, very white (other than the self-styled identity tattoos) rather than the normal brown or black real or economic refugees. Many others have been gladio-ly welcomed into the US and Canada via NulFreedland express airlines.
You don’t have to draw distant analogies. All these have happened before:
OUN is, literally, the precursor to AZOV and friends. Naturally, Ukrainians and their fans are “disputing the neutrality” of the article, in another Wikipedia flame war: “obviously,” it was Putin who had Pieracki whacked.
Pepe Escobar: “Germany and EU have been handed over a declaration of war”
“The Big Picture reveals the collective West in absolute panic, with Atlanticist “elites” willing to resort to anything – outrageous lies, assassinations, terrorism, sabotage, all out financial war, support to neo-Nazis – to prevent their descent into a geopolitical and geoeconomic abyss.
This was far from an isolated attack. On September 22 there was an attempt against Turkish Stream by Kiev saboteurs. The day before, naval drones with English language IDs were found in Crimea, suspected of being part of the plot. Add to it US helicopters overflying the future sabotage nodes weeks ago; a UK “research” vessel loitering in Danish waters since mid-September; and NATO tweeting about the testing of “new unmanned systems at sea” on the same day of the sabotage.
It gets worse: there are no holds barred anymore on the Pipeline Terror front. Russia will be on red alert not only for Turk Stream but also Power of Siberia. Same for the Chinese and their maze of pipelines arriving in Xinjiang.”
American elites appear to have indoctrinated themselves with the idea that “money” is a thing rather than a medium of exchange, and that economies run on “money” rather than the growing of crops, extraction of natural resources, and their conversion into products through intellectual and manual labor by willing and dedicated workers.
American elites seem to believe that they can “win” a war by cutting-off “money” from one side while pumping “money” into the other. Did the Soviet people drive out the German invaders with “money” in their Great Patriotic War? Of course not!
I agree with you, but I think many others besides American elites believe in “money.” But I think the hegemonic power of American money is waning. All the structures of the world set up to support neoliberal financialization of the “world” are probably being examined critically by a great number of people for the first time, and they are coming to the stark realization that it is not designed for their benefit (e.g., the average person in Germany).
Money is quite useful as long as a seller believes that paper or a credit card is as good as a peck of potatoes. That is by no means assured.
Hershey Bars & cigarettes. Tobacco, cigarette paper, matches, etc etc
Because it is all too easy to mentally make capital synonymous with money.
After all, if you have the money then getting the actual capital is easy most of the time.
All my life i have heard jokes about urban teens that have no clue where all the stuff they buy comes from. Usually in the form of some pretty girl that when told how them tasty nuggets are made declare herself vegan on the spot.
If someone grow up in a urban or sub-urban well off household, and get a humanities degree, they may never have encountered the starting point of all them products they surround themselves with in daily life.
I recall as a kid seeing in the news each summer how students were picking strawberries or doing similar jobs as a way to earn some supplementary income before the next year started. I am unsure when i stopped hearing about it, but i suspect it was before i myself reached that age. these days the jobs seems to be done by foreigners that stay only for harvest season.
It stopped to some considerable degree when OSHA regulations made it all but impossible to employ teenagers because they would be around machinery. I consider it an extremely overdone policy. Of course I am old enough to remember 10 to 12 year old boys, always boys, driving tractors on the highway pulling loaded wagons. Never heard of an accident.
I recently learned that sixty years ago in my home state of SC fourteen year olds drove the school buses. I remember when I was in high school, forty years ago, the drivers were sixteen. Today they have to be over twenty-one and practically have to have astronaut training.
Infantilization is the cause of many of our current ills.
Hey, Ukraine is filing an “accelerated” application for acceptance into NATO, following Russia’s annexation announcement. Looks like we may get to go full nuclear after all, so no one is going to be left in Europe to have to worry about winter. I feel safe, do you?
Just what I was thinking when I read that news.
Remember, those of you that survive this, to clean out the gene pool so that these wacks can’t screw it up again.
The Stoltenberg speech where he was supposed to say something unprecedented has come and gone and he hasn’t really said anything important. I was a bit worried.
Those who are in the market for a last positive action should take this parable from the Shilluk people under advisement:
I mean, who’s going to ticket and tow your car from atop their bunker?
I think that was just Z grabbing back some of the media coverage. Finland and Sweden aren’t yet in. And may not make it given the Turkish vote has yet to happen.
So Ukraine? Not likely. Plus the entire part that to get in a country has to have no territorial disputes with it’s neighbors.
That’s what I thought originally. Then I realized that NATO doesn’t really have to follow its own rules.
It can waiver them, ignore them, change them.
In times of exigency, rules get bent.
This is for all the chips.
Every government behaves this way. “If something is legal/illegal, well just change the law”.
I’d assume that if Ukraine’s application is taken seriously, Sweden and certainly Finland should reconsider their willingness to “go kinetic” for Ukraine.
NATO can’t admit a country that is already at war. There are still portions of the annexed oblasts still under Ukrainian control, where Ukrainian soldiers are fighting and dying daily.
Zelensky is a fool to seek membership in NATO on an accelerated track. Now Russia has no choice but to drive further West into the heart of Ukraine.
Reportedly Russia has offered to resume negotiations. Blowing up the pipeline takes away a negotiating chip thus making negotiations more difficult.
By blowing up the pipeline, the West is signalling that it is doubling down again. This is becoming increasingly unstable–a game for its own sake, where criminal acts like sabotage make sense. Such is the extreme hubris (and/or panic?) of the West.
Where are the saner heads in DC?
I’d assumed, it would likely be “nationless oilgarchs” who’d then hold lots more than “German” industry hostage; as Russia & the other pipelines’ operators made the EU an offer it couldn’t refuse? I’d joked, here, about shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles, but I’d not meant any specific Oilgarch. Intimating, the neo-nazi terrorists, trained in Wiesbaden & UK were probably part of our bright future.
Motivations do not tell us much in investigative terms. Actors aren’t motivated to make mistakes, errors. Intent might be inferred from a timeline of events. Patterns of behavior. — What were the most recent examples of seabed warfare? — The last undersea infrastructure deliberately destroyed was Norwegian subsea fiber optics, January 7, 2022, the SvalSat. That’s interesting. 2021, LoVe Ocean autonomous nodes, 2.5 miles of cable removed (!) From the Norwegian Seabed. Taps gone bad, perhaps.
A mothballed target is a conspicuous choice: LNG infrastructure transporting only a maintenance minimum volume, thereby not affecting Russian war efforts nor disrupting revenue. Yet the action is highly suggestive of vulnerability of European energy carriers using the seabed, an example of escalate-to-de-escalate doctrine.
Intent is to sow discord among an impossibly unified western axis. The base fear: a spectrum-wide overwhelming conventional strike by the coalition rendering Russia’s nuclear dyad, a monad. Liquid-fueled ICBM’s on which Russia’s land-based nuclear arsenal relies, cannot be stored with the corrosive fuel within the rocket. Liquid fuel provides more thrust for more numerous package of warheads and decoys. It is NATO policy to first-strike with conventional munitions these weapons if they begin to fuel up (no bluffing), leaving Russia with only its subsurface arsenal, which has shrunk considerably with retirement of x number of Typhoon-class subs in favor of enormous unconventional warfare mothership subs! Sounds like a Putin problem.
I can’t understand what this comment means.
Kicking up dust.
Pay no mind to qui bono… someone before Putin said “by their fruits yee shall know them.”
It’s all very, very complicated, which in fairness on one level is true. But not convincing if you’ve watched all the previous episodes: the “West” has form.
According to Wikipedia (yeah, sorry) under 5% of Russian land based ICBM’s use liquid fuel. 62% are on mobile platforms, and really can’t have liquid fuel to be as independent, mobile and distributable as the doctrine requires.
The latest one, RS-28 Sarmat, is indeed using liquid fuel, but we don’t really know what fuel and what engine it’s using. There are speculations that it may have a pulse-detonation engine, which would allow for non-corrosive fuels.
In fact, if I remember right (no sure thing, tho) Russians were far ahead of US in transitioning to solid fueled ICBM’s during the Cold War, to ensure quick reaction time.
Besides, if you have 2000 nukes, you only need some of them to work to ensure planetary annihilation (why there were so many nukes during the Cold War in the first place–no one knew how reliable they were, so they overbuilt.)
I guess there is no need for NATO to carry out an investigation. You’ve just given it to us. Thanks. Curse you, Putin! Your evil drive to “sow discord” knows no bounds.
It’s like Michael’s side eye at Vito nagging about who’d murder him: whomever initiates the requisite delay, to ensure ID lining (a few mils of red-ox) gets et’ up, before patch & pigging. We’re going to be told Denmark, Poland, Sweden HAD to tag-team Germany’s life-line into a $25B fish sanctuary so THEY could make EU an offer they can’t refuse (enabling US fracking Ponzi scheme to unleash a run-away methane AGW Kraken AND install neo-nazi enforced G7 oilgarcy).
Taibbi notes an interesting piece about history from Bivens:
“Old friend Matt Bivens on the Nord Stream blasts, noting the forgotten « Farewell Dossier » episode:”
Yes. I’m afraid too many people are simply unable to process the degree of evil to which the U.S. Is capable. Too much cognitive dissonance, not enough historical awareness.
Europe has been in discord for hundreds of years.
It’s business as usual….
Europe is cornered. Energy trade with Russia is politically impossible, absent the overturning of NATO and EU foundations. Europe’s terms of trade are ruined. Where can she go?
Not East Asia – it is too far and therefore too costly to restore Europe’s terms of trade (LNG liquifaction and regassification costs), any pipelines have to cross Russia and/or China and their satellites and most Asian states are liquid fuel importers themselves.
Not Oceania in the short-term: no hope of a pipeline! Plenty of coal but Europe closed all its coal power stations and coal and coke-fired steel plants etc. and China is in direct competition for these supplies.
Not West Asia – it is nearer, or even in Europe if you consider cispontine Turkey, but Gulf production is already accounted for and most of the options for increased supplies are too close to Russia (central Asia); physically barred by Russia (Balkans and Caucauses); sanctioned by the USA (Iran); disrupted by the USA (Iraq, Syria) or, in the case of Turkey, playing their own great power game.
So, roll up for the Scramble for Africa, Pt II!
We are about to see a lot of very interesting geopolitics in the Mediterranean and in sub-Saharan Africa. Only, this time, Europe and America will be pretending to co-operate but will in fact be competing. Italy is critical to piping gas to German industry from Algeria, Libya and the Cyrpus-Israel fields so expect a sudden change in Germany’s stance on Italian public finances.
Now I begin to understand the bizarre proxy wars in Africa and the sudden interest of the Shining City on a Hill in the Dark Continent. What is at stake is:
– French nuclear fuel
– Saharan gas fields
– Libyan oil
– new oil and gas resources in central Africa (Uganda, South Sudan etc.), which may be too far to satisfy Europe but, in satisfying North Africa, can free up oil and gas for EU consumption.
Some things that might come to pass:
– If Western Europe now needs stable southern petro-states which export commodities rather than migrants, expect it to start funding autocrats and its own military basis on the southern Mediterranean littoral and to cease funding jihadists and human rights campaigns.
– There may even be a new campaign for EU enlargement. Tunisia would be my first guess, as the smallest and less unstable prospect and the one most afraid of its Maghreb neighbours.
– Turkey will *not* be invited to join the EU. The Turkish-Cypriot border may become very interesting though, as Turkey and Cyprus and Israel and Lebanon seek control of the gas fields. France and Greece will play a big role here….
– Norway will have a lot of influence and experience a lot of pressure.
– Will we see a formal EU outer perimeter, of states that won’t or can’t comply with the core project (the Euro and the EU acquis) but are willing to circle the wagons around the EU for their own interests (UK, Norway (leaving EFTA), Maghreb, maybe Turkey – who knows, even Israel, given it is in Eurovision and the Horizon science programme)
– there will be a significantly increased level of activity in sub-Saharan African countries by their former colonial powers and the US. These countries are not going to be anybody’s ally, they are neutrals in a war and can make money from both sides. The dirty business will not be EU and Anglosphere moves to fight Russian and Chinese influence but their jousting with each other!
– Is Nigeria the new Ottoman Empire? Ethnically and religiously divided, fabulously corrupt, rich in petro-chemicals and perhaps ripe for break-up by hungry European powers?
Turkey has expressed interest in joining CTO – bt Putin has said that this is not possible as long as Turkey is in NATO. So Turkey has a dilemma – stay with the sinking but rabid ship, or opt for boarding the new but relatively untried one.
If key energy infrastructure are now sabotage targets for warring petro-states, Europe is toast.
All pipelines and LNG terminals may now be at risk in this escalating war, and even future wars. Maybe communications and electric transmission cables as well.
Insurance policies on such assets usually exclude war and insurrection. So, for the U.S. to get Europe to build LNG terminals, it will have to guarantee them or they won’t get financed. I’m not sure the American people will want to take on this expensive task of providing guarantees. How to provide security for energy corridors over 100’s of miles of desert, seabed, etc?
So, my guess is that all energy projects planned or underway in Europe are now frozen for the foreseeable future.
Victoria Nuland must be working overtime these days devising plans to overthrow Putin. Doing so will be the only salvation for the West. I expect asymmetric warfare waged against Russian interests globally to be ramped up significantly in the days and weeks ahead.
Keep in mind that the Establishment in Russia is behind Putin, as are the majority of the Russian people.
There’s also the matter that someone who has even more hawkish tendencies might replace Putin. He is a moderate in the Russia political scene.
Regarding the agent causing the pipeline explosions, it seems to me that the U.S. and/or its allies, like Poland (?) would have done this, because so long as those pipelines could deliver gas, they remained an enormous Putin bargaining chip, and it was already clear that as the days shortened and temperatures drop the cries for peace with Russia, and gas from Russia, would become a crescendo and surely fracture the EU alliance. Blowing the pipeline is an absolute hedgemonic hard core tactical solution. It removes Putin’s leverage and forces – forces – the Europeans to beg for gas from elsewhere, the US included. The Germans and other Europeans surely may realize what has been done, but they have no choice, now. The Europeans and NATO are forced further into the US orbit, the Russiaphobic orbit, the war in Ukraine will continue, and a negotiated end now seems impossible….and, if solid evidence ever rises these explosions were caused by the West, this evidence will be denied and ignored by Western media just as the biolab evidence has been ignored. Regardless, this move took Putin’s main chip off the table, it seems.
I wonder, though…this rise of the right everywhere, in many if not most places asking, quite reasonably, what exactly our beef with Russia was before February 2022 (and even after that, under the view Russia has been responding to attacks on “their” people since 2014), most notably seen in the US with Trump’s refusal to see Putin as an arch enemy (for which Trump has been accused of being a Russian agent) and now with Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard asking why we are so deeply in this thing……there are a lot of people all over the world who might be wondering why this has come to this pass, and, irony of ironies, it is the far right (formerly the rabid anti communist and anti-Russian population) now howling for an end to this war and all the damage it is causing. So, with these parties rising everywhere, can it be, perhaps, that the very neocon anti-Russia war fever that has beset the PMC since the Russian SMO is of itself causing the rise of the right, to some degree, as the antiwar party? Hasn’t happened, yet, but maybe there is a correlation between the increasing danger and fervor of the new Cold War and the rise at the exact same time of a hard right element wanting nothing to do with it.
I would say the fever has beset the PMC media but not necessarily the PMC itself.
I do have lots of PMC friends who reliably spout the mainstream narrative about “Ukraine is winning! Evil Putin is losing!” but they are also very ambivalent about another U.S. quagmire.
As this drags on, winter sets in, recession sets in, and no “Russian defeat” on the horizon, the PMC will (I hope) start to ask serious questions, the kind that only Tucker Carlson seems to be asking, like: OK, why are we doing this?
So, no, I don’t see war “fever” in the electorate. The failures in Afghanistan and Iraq are too fresh in everyone’s minds…. You just can’t fool everyone all the time….
It’s true, but let’s be clear that the only important reason Tucker is being critical of these moves is because it is the Biden administration that is doing them. I guarantee if there was a suitably far enough right president currently doing anything similar, you would not be hearing a peep of criticism from Tucker and the right wing media. It is their m.o. to never, ever say a single detrimental thing about Trump (or whoever is next), or to say much of anything at all, and to keep the focus on the opposition and how terrible they are at all times. As an aside, they have now also succeeded in making the term “the left” stick in the popular mind as applying to anything and everything that is not rabid hard right conservatism, throwing further confusion and layers of b.s. onto the discussion, such as it is.
I do agree that Trump’s tendency not to see Russia as a mortal enemy was one of the few things I liked about him.
“Washington announced yesterday it’s sending another $12 billion to Kiev and setting up a new single command center in Germany to coordinate training and assistance to Ukraine – a sign they “expect the threat from Russia to Ukraine and its neighbors to persist for many years.” …………….. It doesn’t get any clearer than that IMO. Russia needs to wrap up her war in Ukraine pronto so she can move on to deal US terrorism.
Per KD’s report above, it’s looking like the front of the war with the U.S. will be in what’s left of Ukraine.
Or, at least, that’s where it’ll start.
I would have put a smiley-face under that last line, but … I felt sad, and so I didn’t.
I’ve been playing devils advocate in the comments the past few days that Russia could still be a culprit and have been losing that battle. I like your comment…that kind of plan for a new command center in Germany wasn’t formulated in that last 48 hours, it was in place and could easily tie to the pipeline bombing. Our government has a history of this, can of like all of the war on terror messaging and theorization in the think tank world prior to 9/11.
What I can’t wrap my head around is why is the German government going to continue to put up with America’s crap? Why do the American’s think they can get away with this beyond the simple explanation of them being fanatical? If the Russian’s extend an olive branch to Germany and they can somehow cooperate to repair the lines, that seems to point unambiguously to the USA in my opinion. It is in Germany’s best interest to do so as well as Russia. If Russia can still keep energy arrangements, especially with Germany, it will serve as a great wedge to NATO.
Devil’s advocate is a position to largely disprove miracles by offering explanations of credible means, not alternative miracles. Means and motive would be required “Its what Putin wants you to think” is the same “as god did it”. The US has means and motive and has been explicit about not wanting to see N2 ever operate.
Do the Russians have long range mini-subs? Divers who can remain under? Do they simply mine their pipelines? They would have to had to evade NATO.
The argument is instead of simply turning off the gas (and the Russians have cover with the turbine story; you would get better traction there) is they stuck explosives right under the 5th fleet’s nose during a heightened alert period, multiple NATO countries, into shallow water, to blow up a major pipeline.
The “Russians did it” argument hinges on two miracles. If there is a third, we’ll have a new Catholic Saint.
Well, some people are eager to declare for St Joe the peacemaker…
Seriously, though, I can’t figure out what’s going on with these people’s heads. They are willing to believe one minute that Russians are so incompetent that they can’t do basic things, the are willing to attribute abilities beyond superhuman to them, whether influencing American electoral politics or pulling off improbable feats of special ops, if the attribution fit their story. It’s the behavior of religious fanatics, trying hard to bring their own version of the Rapture. Christian Fundamentalists are downright rational in comparison.
“What I can’t wrap my head around is why is the German government going to continue to put up with America’s crap?” I wondered the same. I know the big issue for Australia – when I’ve asked Australians why they keep towing the American line – is that we know we wouldn’t stand a chance if China wanted to invade our country. Therefore, we need to keep close ties with the U.S. because the U.S. will come to our aid with its military might. I suppose, Germany and the rest of Europe has the same idea. But at what cost? Perhaps Germany has a lot of debt it owes the IMF?
I think what stuns me is that the U.S. is doing this to one of its closest allies (vassals). Many administrations have been quite vocal about US disapproval of Germany going out on its own with this energy arrangement with Russia. Yet, in reality, all it shows the world is that if the U.S. is willing to hang Germany out to dry, what will it do to its lesser allies? Who will trust the US? And won’t all these countries jump ship as soon as they feel safe to do so? The U.S. is willing to ruin the German economy and hurt innocent people who will suffer greatly going into a cold winter just to teach Germany a lesson.
On an aside – I wonder if the U.S. is going to get Poland to say it did it. Everyone will know it is the U.S. but if Poland says it is the guilty party, on the surface, the U.S. has deniability.
I saw an article that said that this HQ was based on the Iraq and Afghan experience. So that will work out well for the affected countries, of course. Also talked about 200 staff jobs in this new HQ. Nothing is “lean” about the modern US military.
America’s MIC wants another multi decade low intensity never ending conflict. Lots of bases, staff jobs, outsource deals for contractors, consulting contracts, weapons sales. They win. The American people, the affected countries and the guys doing the actual fighting all lose.
The US Department of State yesterday announced $288.6 million in military aid for Poland, making it “one of the largest recipients of foreign military assistance outside of Ukraine.” If John Helmer is right about Polish Navy and special forces being behind the pipeline attack (with support from the US), maybe it’s a reward for a job well done
It is clear that economic considerations are not the exclusive or even primary motives directing the actions of the people in power. Indeed, there is plenty enough money from the stolen $300 billion in foreign reserves unlawfully confiscated from Russia to further reward actors such as those behind the pipeline attacks with plenty left over to to burn billions more on weapons for Ukraine.
There was an article I read in NC links a while back by Yanis Varoufakis which I think cuts to the core and it is that for those in control “their most important interest is not to conserve economic potential. It is to preserve the power of the few to compel the many.” I think this concluding comment by Varoufakis can be writ large to international relations. I hate to use old and threadbare Marxist terminology, but I think hegemony is apt. The U.S., or rather those directing policy, find their grip on global dominance starting to slip and are taking all necessary action to stave off further erosion.
Economic ramifications. I was reading an explainer in Fatto Quotidiano.
These data are from Wikipedia, but they back the figures give in F Q:
So: It’s an attack on Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands, too.
There are already videos at YouTube of clouds of methane gas lofting over Sweden and Denmark. Somehow, I suspect that the Swedes and Danes would have understood the concept of prevailing winds.
It is one of the worst environmental disasters in years.
That leaves as suspects the U.S. government and Polish government, both notorious slobs.
I would also add that because Russia has the gas Russia wi be fine and will sell to China and India and Europe faces a long costly furure without it. This siggests that the goal must be the dismemberment of the Russian Federation and a takeover of the gas.
WW3 has begun.
IMHO I think that Russia is a minor goal in this. I think the US Hegemon is also after all of Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, and everything in-between. In other words, they want to own and control the entire world. All it takes is to start a world war where everyone destroys each other but leaves the US mainland alone. I’m sure most westerners find this hard to believe but I’ll bet Russia and China are thinking it through.
It started months ago but no one wanted to say so.
A possible fallout is hyper-inflation, as industrial and agricultural production in Europe collapses because of the lack of inputs (e.g. for fertilizers, for energy generation, for metallurgy, etc), or because they become so expensive as to make some activities in Europe uneconomical — while simultaneously governments approve packets amounting to dozens of billions of € each (see Germany, UK, France…) to prop up firms and subsidize households.
If hyper-inflation takes hold, the financial, monetary, social, and political consequences would be dire.
This headline just in from Yasha Levine (Sept. 30): “Tallinn postcard: Feels like a big war is coming.”
He goes on to say that “having just crossed the border from Russia into Estonia…the feeling I have is that things are gonna get worse–a lot worse…I dunno, it all feels like we’re on the precipice of a big war.”
What I am finding humorous is all the panic in the ESG market right now and Anti-ESG litigation coming up in the last few weeks. Where companies were finally saying something like “wait you mean I actually have to do something? This is serious? I thought it was just pretend” where the reply is “Yes, we are even so serious about control as to start blowing up gas pipelines.” The Technocrats unfortunately appear to be winning right now, but who knows what lies ahead. Looks like the WEF 2030 agenda just got pulled forward big time, they should send a thank you note to the US and Poland.
I was wondering if all the NATO and US military bases would be the first to have their gas and energy supplies shut off in solidarity with the German people?
Very good point to ponder.
It’s pretty clear that one or more of Germany’s “allies” blew up the pipelines. With friends like this who needs enemies? The German people must feel like their leaders are sellouts and that they have been forced into this conflict at gunpoint.
To put it simply, whoever blew up Nord Stream 1 & 2 stabbed Germany, France, and the rest of Western Europe in the back. Russia is very unlikely to destroy billions of dollars of its own energy infrastructure that they can just turn off, like they did. It is very unlikely that the operation was approved by the White House. Possibly it was a rouge National Security/State Department (Blob) Operation. If there were any government employees involved with a wink and a nod, they privatized it. Just like how the NIH works with the Pharmaceutical Industry. The Pentagon has been operating in Syria for eight years without triggering a Russian/USA War because they know they are Russia’s H-Bomb target #1.
WWIII has started and shortly will escalate further as the four regions of Donbass are now officially part of the Russian Federation. No pipeline or underseas cable, anywhere in the world, are safe from retaliation.
There has to be an armistice and DMZ built soon, or the Russia Ukraine War will keep escalating until nuclear weapons are used as a last resort. Whoever did destroy Nord Stream is insane. The only reason put forth that makes any sense is that it will skyrocket the price of liquid natural gas and aid the Kremlin regime change campaign so foreign oligarchs can gain control of Russian natural resources.
This is a terror attack like 9/11. Shortly, a culprit must be found, or the cold, deadly, and dark winter — the Greatest Depression Ever will splinter the European Union, United Kingdom and the United States of America apart. Globalism, the coronavirus pandemic, and the European War are already propelling the rise to far-right populist political parties to save their citizens’ lives. Russia doesn’t work as a scapegoat if a global nuclear war is to be avoided. Blaming ISIS won’t work so the Western Nation States in order to survive need to prove shortly that an Oligarch’s NGO and private contractors did the job and jail them. This will save billions of human lives and is very likely to be true.
The allusion to 9/11 is quite apt. In the next year the death toll will be vastly greater however.
I live in Germany and I have lived in the US as well. You need to realize Germany is only the size of Wisconsin. Most all native Germans speak some English and the educated ones speak good English. Germany has a much more active government censorship program so alternative news sites often are restricted. Our news channels are all government controlled and paid for involuntarily with our high taxes. Our news is largely translated from MSNBC or CNN or the New York Times. We are a vassal state. West Germany, in particular, is filled with US military bases and the population has largely intermarried with GIs over the last 80 years. Their pay has always been comparatively high. You are as likely to hear a South Georgia accent as Schwabisch dialekt when you deal with a store clerk in Stuttgart or Mannheim or Nurnberg. The US military is a huge part of German society. The government is assuring us that US LNG is going to be a fine energy source in the future.
From Putin’s speech you can tell any possible bridge to negotiate has been destroyed. No possible negotiation on Ukraine any more and Putin blamed the US and UK for NS1 and 2 sabotages. If this was the objective, then mission accomplished. Given precedents, it is quite reasonable to think that it was the Anglo-Saxon couple bearing most of responsibilities for the sabotages. Reasonable doesn’t mean true but truth and righteousness don’t matter any more or at least won’t change the situation.
Zelensky has already laid down the terms of any negotiations. Putin must be replaced as President and Russia must evacuate from all areas-
> Reasonable doesn’t mean true
“I guess we’ll never know.”
Same as we have no resolution on the MH17, or on the Skripals (though I think the Skripals case is easy enough to decode).
But in the case of the pipelines, I don’t know where I would go for a trustworthy source. With MH17, at least we have a destroyed airplane, contemporaneous traffic records, yadda yadda yadda. For the pipelines, all we will have is digital evidence from submersibles controlled by some Western power — and as I keep saying, digital evidence is not evidence.
Meanwhile, since apparently Ukraine has been given the green light to attack Russian soil, no doubt that will happen, with full mobilization* to follow. The only solution, then, for Ukraine, is neutralization — perhaps a demilitarized rump state, with the Poles gifted Galicia, along with its Nazis. This Russia, IMNSHO, can do, with a level of effort (absent US escalation to the nuclear).
Unfortunately, things won’t stop there.
NOTE * A few Ukrainian bombings in Russia will presumably solidify public opinion behind the war effort.
The roadmap you describe for Ukraine looks plausible to me. Whether will it be contained to Ukraine or we double down again in escalation is yet to be seen but I contemplate the possibility.
The West, we should admit it, is in state of shock. How could Russia dare to confront us, the hegemons? When one is in such state her/his ability to see things, to distance oneself for a while, see the whole picture and evaluate options becomes very much reduced. Is the collective West in tunnel vision mode? So it seems to me.
This week this happened to me: I had my car parked in a place far from home and very much unknown for me, while doing some stuff for about 5 hours, it was already dark when I returned to it, tired, to go back home. I had been in the place twice and I was almost certain both times I had parked it in the very same place. When I go to the site and don’t see the car I entered into state of shock. Where it is? Soon, it has been stolen! I looked around an didn’t see it. Pressed the key buttons to see the flashing lights but nothing I saw. Stolen! Phoned home to tell what happened, located the closest police station and went walking to it to report the theft (a 30 min night walk). Three days later the police calls me saying that the car was in the very same street i reported to have the car parked. Indeed, the car was there if only about 30 m apart from where I thought I had it parked. Shock, tunnel vision, that was it.
Oh my, that sounds like something I’d do. Glad you got a useful lesson from it!
Ha! Now I am an idiot, but a happy one!
Indeed a useful lesson: try to avoid falling in tunnel vision! May be by relaxing, do some breathing exercises, move, walk and think twice.
Love your story. Easily relatable in all of our moments of weakness and confusion. Unlike most, you learned from yours.
Besides the Skripals and MH17 all the idiocy about Navalny, the “real” leader that Russia needed to be West compliant etc.
“From Putin’s speech you can tell any possible bridge to negotiate has been destroyed.”
How do you figure that? He says:
As expected, the Russians are saying they want to negotiate peace, but the longer the Ukraine and those pulling the strings refuse, the less there will be to negotiate over. None of this is surprising, really. The only surprise (to me, at least) is perhaps the speed with which Ukraine is being carved up.
Yes Acacia, but read the rest. This was rhetorical offer, knowing that it has nowhere to go. His speech is a fierce attack on the West and a call to other countries to resist neocolonialism.
Blinken spots a tremendous opportunity in the Russian-made energy crisis:
Now that the USA has attacked a NATO member and destroyed its access to fuel (it was the Bush administration that said the US would not permit Europe to be dependent on Russian gas and oil), when is NATO going to fulfill its requirement to declare war on the USA
Look, we don’t know for sure that this is the case, but it is certainly the most reasonable assumption given the information we have now, which is not trivial but not complete.
The one thing that makes me wonder is that the US has not blamed Russia and press coverage in the US, and apparently in the UK, has been very low given the importance of the event. You’d expect the US to blame Russia immediately if the US or US + an ally had done it.
This suggests the US might have given a positive signal to a NATO-aligned group or country that suggested the idea, as in wanting plausible deniability but now finding out the way it was executed makes that hard.
One of our ex-merc readers claims this didn’t take a state actor, that a well trained diver could lay them in 15 minutes (about the viable max with conventional diving equipment), or in multiple dives (remember they looked to have been remote triggered anyhow). Pretty much everyone has ignored Ukraine as a possible perp. But they have been saying crazypants stuff, like per yesterday’s Alex Christaforu vid, making dirty bombs and using them to attack Russia.
But your point is correct given your assumptions.
“To be America’s enemy is dangerous,
but to be her friend is fatal.” – Henry Kissinger.
Yes, I’ve used that quote before, but it bears repeating.
The blame has not yet been put on Russia, press coverage has been low. Not long after your post, Dutch evening television news presented a retired NATO general. He speculated conveniently simple into the suggestion that it was in Russia’s interest to do the sabotage…
The man also urges the Netherlands and EU-countries to start making weapons.
It’s one person’s view, but presented on a national platform. I fear he’s not the only one having such a view. It seems that a lot of people see this all as a technical, manageable process to facilitate a purpose in the far distance (iow maintaining the rules based order). The nearing economical havoc they seem to accept as bearable (f.i. the Dutch ‘gas protection and recovery plan’). The notion that this purpose in a far distance could eventually turn into a fire right at their doorstep is just theoretical. It makes me think of the similarity to other aspects of globalisation. Labor intensive production, polluting production, everything inconvenient is offshored. In Europe, even political responsibility is offshored (to Brussels). Likewise, this conflict is offshored. Do we really think we’re in control? I wonder if that was the attitude on the brink of WWI too?