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Nord Stream: "We should cut it off."

Ola Tunander
Ola Tunander
Tunander is Professor Emeritus of PRIO. See also wikipedia, at PRIO: , as well as a bibliography on Waterstone
HISTORY / Russia and Germany (as Europe's engine) should, like the coal and steel union, be developed into a joint peace project which in the future should make war between Russia and the European powers in the west impossible. The US clearly did not want this.


Political leaders in USA have repeatedly said that the gas pipelines must be stopped at all costs, since they tie together Germany and Russia, or rather Europe and Russia, in a community of fate. And despite deep crises, such as in 1983 when Moscow and the West were on the brink of nuclear war (NSA 2021), both Russia and Germany held on to the gas pipelines.
In the 70s, West Germany and the Soviet Union signed contracts for gas pipelines from Siberia. Moscow offered 25 years of guaranteed supplies at a fixed price. Deutsche Bank stepped in in July 1981 with credits of 3,4 billion German marks for the Trans-Siberian gas pipeline. But as early as May 1981, CIA chief William Casey and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger stated that this would give Moscow Western currency. Weinberger told President Ronald Reagan that "we must put sanctions in place immediately to prevent it from being built" (Schweizer, 1994). At the time, however, the American foreign ministers did not want to Alexander Haig og george schultz make some "economic war" with the Europeans. But since 1981, more and more American leaders have demanded an end to the German-Russian gas pipelines.

Germany and Russia

In June 1982, President Reagan was in Bonn to discuss the pipeline with Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Peter Schweizer (1994) writes: "As Reagan made an impassioned plea to Schmidt, Schmidt looked out the window and out into the garden." Schmidt had deliberately ignored the president, but "it was a mistake", writes Schweizer. Reagan now advocated full economic war, but for Schmidt it was probably about the fact that we live on different planets.

Reagan advocated all-out economic war.

According to President Reagan's national security adviser dick allen and his closest adviser Tom Reed succeeded CIA to blow up the Trans-Siberian gas pipeline in 1982 (Arte 2015), but the US was unable to stop it. The new Chancellor Helmut Kohl from the Christian Democratic Party also supported the gas pipeline, and when Mikhail Gorbachev became the new leader in Moscow in 1985, the Soviet leader was more popular in Germany than the American one.
Bonn's and Moscow's mutual dependence on gas and industrial products came increasingly to resemble the German-French Coal and Steel Union in its mutual dependence. Russia and Germany (as Europe's engine) should, like the coal and steel union, be developed into a joint peace project which in the future should make war between Russia and the European powers in the west impossible. It ushered in the end of the Cold War, and while many leaders in Germany and Russia saw it as the beginning of a deal and an "eternal peace", leading Americans saw it as a "pause" in the Cold War. The "pause" thus provided an opportunity for a NATO expansion, to gain territory, before starting the Cold War again.

Before Nord Stream was built, 70-80 percent of Russian gas to Europe went through Ukraine. But Ukrainian oligarchs tapped gas for their own purposes, and from 2014 anti-Russian movements in western Ukraine would sabotage the deliveries. For Russia and Germany, it became more and more important to have a gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea to replace the increasingly uncertain deliveries through Ukraine.


But also in 2014, the former US Secretary of State said Condoleezza Rice that Europe "must become less dependent on Russian energy" (N24/Welt), and continued: "I'm a great admirer of Chancellor Merkel […], but now we have to have tougher sanctions, and I'm afraid that will also apply oil and gas […]. This is one of the few instruments we have. And in the long run you have to change your energy dependence. You must become more dependent on American energy with the wonderful oil and gas resources you will find in North America. You will get gas pipelines that do not go through Russia and Ukraine. For many years we have tried to get the Europeans interested in other gas [sources]. The time to do it is now. It is a question of acting and acting as quickly as possible.”

In 2015, the Swedish Defense Forces found an underwater drone with explosives near the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in the Swedish economic zone.

For Rice, it was a matter of preventing a new "coal and steel union," preventing a "gas and industrial union" in Europe that included Russia. Rice wanted to replace a German-Russian dependence with a dependence on the United States. A year later, in November 2015, the Swedish Defense Forces found an underwater drone, a UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle) with explosives near the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in the Swedish economic zone near the island of Gotland. Sweden disarmed the UUV and informed the company Nord Stream AG. The national identity of the UUV was not revealed, but if it had been Russian, we would have known this.

Condolezza Rice

"We have to cut" the gas line

On July 30, 2020, the US Secretary of State said Mike Pompeo to Congress that the United States will impose sanctions on the companies that contribute to the gas pipeline: "We want to prevent it from ever being completed." President Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton said (Sky News, 6.1.22) that "we should cut it off. We should have cut it off in the Trump Administration". Trump considered it but took no action, according to Bolton. Senator John Barrasso and other senators supported the demands to stop Nord Stream 2 ("permanently"). Barrasso explained that Congress will prevent Nord Stream 2 from ever being completed. Pompeo said they would guarantee that American LNG (liquefied natural gas) would be able to replace the Russian gas (Pompeo and Barosso, 2020)

Mike Pompey

The US number three in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (US Under Secretary of State) Victoria Nuland said on 7 December 2021 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "the sanctions we are preparing will completely isolate Russia from the global financial system". A member of the committee, Senator Ron Johnson, asked Nuland about the sanctions for Nord Stream 2, where he stated: “The Foreign Affairs Committee was disappointed that the sanctions had not been fully implemented and that construction has continued. I can think of no stronger signal against Russian aggression than stopping development and, if possible, preventing Nord Stream 2 from ever being completed […]. I really hope that the foreign affairs committee will 'go beyond just suspending it, but ending it permanently'."

On 27 January 2022, Nuland said during a press conference that if Russia invades Ukraine, "Nord Stream 2 will not be completed". In other words, the gas pipeline which was perhaps the biggest German prestige project, economic project and peace project in recent times, Nuland comments in the following way: "We will work together with Germany to make sure that the gas pipeline will not be completed."

See the main case for this subcase – Who was behind it.


NSA 2021 (Able Archer War Scare "Potentially Disastrous"), National Security Archive, 17.2.21/XNUMX/XNUMX.

Peter Schweizer, Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy that Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994).

Arte 2015 (interview with Thomas Reed in "Täuschung: Die Methode Reagan", Arte, 5.5.2015/XNUMX/XNUMX).

Interview with Condoleezza Rice ("Europäer selbst sind Teil des Ukraine-Problems"), N24/Welt (German TV), 16.5.2014.

"Explosive-Laden Drone Found Near Nord Stream Pipeline", Pipeline Technology Journal, 13.11.2015/XNUMX/XNUMX

Barrasso questions Pompeo on Nord Stream 2, Congress, 30.7.20.

Interview with John Bolton, Sky News, 6.1.22 (Tom Hussey, "Ex-US security chief orders EU to immediately ‹cut off› Nord Stream as Putin threat soars", Express, 6.1.22).

Senator Ron Johnson questions Victoria Nuland ("I Don't Want That Pipeline Operational": GOP Sen. Presses Witness On Nord Stream 2), The Hill TV, 7 Dec. 2021.

Ben Norton, "Who sabotaged Nord Stream pipelines? US boasts 'tremendous opportunity' to weaken Russia. CIA knew", Multipolarista, 6.10.22.

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