EU: Guy Verhofstadt calls to ‘reconsider’ Nord Stream 2
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The German Chancellor agreed with US President Biden to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. The move, however, could spark Russian President Vladimir Putin to unleash an attack on neighbouring country Ukraine, and on Europe as a whole, according to Maximilian Terhalle.
The professor at the Grand Strategy Programme of King’s College London and former senior adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence, claimed that the pipeline would give President Putin leverage on the EU in his ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
Writing in Politico, Mr Terhalle argued that the Russian leader would take advantage of the US’s inability to fight two big wars at the same time and in the event of a war between the US and China, Europe would be left on its own to defend itself from a powerful Russian attack.
He wrote: “It is likely that Ukraine — at war since 2014 and deprived by the pipeline of even the minimal control it once had over Russia — is now doomed. Russia’s smaller neighbouring NATO members are also rightly shivering, left wondering, yet again, how credible the alliance’s deterrence really is.
“And with good reason.
Angela Merkel and Joe Biden agreed on Nord Stream 2 last week (Image: GETTY)
“The Russian President is sure to have been emboldened by Germany’s persistent disregard for the sharp criticisms raised against the pipeline by Poland and the Baltic nations — not to mention Biden’s recent indication that Russia is a lesser security challenge for the US than China.
“Last week, Putin declared that it was the West’s supposed ‘anti-Russia project’ that had galvanised him to write an article about why Russia and Ukraine were indeed one nation.
“The implication was clear: Sudetenland, Kuwait — is Ukraine now next?”
He continued: “Former officials point to the iron law of NATO’s deterrence: Russia will not attack the alliance’s eastern flank as long as US soldiers are stationed there — read: German, British or French ones wouldn’t matter.
“With former US President Donald Trump gone, US troops are here to say. So what’s all the fuss about?”
He explained: “When James Mattis, then US Secretary of Defence, was asked by the Senate in 2017 whether the US could fight two major wars simultaneously, he responded, ‘No, Sir!’ And that’s where Putin might be hopeful for an opportunity.
“A US-China war would likely absorb most, if not all, US economic and military capabilities and, consequently, heavily undermine its credibility to provide deterrence in Europe.
“And because of that, such a conflict would provide Putin with the much longed-for opportunity to remedy Russia’s defeat at the end of the Cold War in 1991.
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Vladimir Putin could take advantage of Nord Stream and attack the EU (Image: GETTY)
“To be sure, whether a US-China showdown will break out at all remains unknown. But it’s not possible to rule out that the ongoing competition could evolve into a massive conflagration, precisely because it is very unlikely that either side would be willing to concede power in any substantive way.”
The deal between Mrs Merkel and President Biden was also lambasted by her EU allies.
German MEP Manfred Weber lashed out against the deal claiming the decision is “detrimental” to the whole of the EU.
The CDU politician, leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, said the German leader should have consulted the EU Council before entering into negotiations with the US President on the issue.
Mr Weber told Die Welt: “The decision for Nord Stream 2 is to the detriment of Europe as a whole and of Ukraine.
“Without the services of ex-SPD Chancellor Schröder for Putin, the pipeline would have been hardly conceivable.”
He added that “this is a heavy burden”.
Germany should “in future discuss and decide more in a European context” on projects of this size and closely cooperate with European partners, he continued.