As the disasters pile up left and right in these early months of the Biden presidency, one might be called “The Tale of Three Pipelines.” Three separate pipelines, three separate challenges, united by one consistent theme: in each case, the foolishness and weakness of the Biden administration has led to disaster.
First, President Biden began his administration by killing the Keystone XL pipeline on day one. This decision was a gift to the radical environmentalist non-profit industry in Washington, D.C. and destroyed thousands of good, high-paying, blue-collar American jobs—including many jobs in my home state of Arkansas.
Second, last week, Russian-affiliated hackers attacked the Colonial Pipeline—an artery that supplies nearly half the fuel for the East Coast—causing widespread gas shortages across the Southeast. Instead of making the hackers feel the full wrath of the United States government, the Biden administration called the attack a private-sector concern. Colonial then paid the hackers over $4 million in ransom, presumably with Biden administration foreknowledge and acquiescence, if not explicit support. This payment, of course, will only encourage further such attacks on American companies.
Third and finally, yesterday the Biden administration announced it will waive major, legally mandated sanctions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany. This refusal to implement sanctions approved by Congress directly benefits—by design—the Russian company building Nord Steam 2 and its CEO, who, you won’t believe it, is a former Communist East German Stasi officer and longtime crony of Vladimir Putin.
President Biden’s decision to cave on Nord Stream 2 is just the latest show of weakness toward Russia by this administration. Which is strange, coming from a party that spent the last four years all chesty and boastful, pretending they were Jack Ryan in a Tom Clancy novel.
Nord Stream 2 will serve as a noose around the neck of Europe’s energy supply. It will allow Russia to squeeze the sovereign nations of eastern and central Europe into submission. You may think I’m exaggerating, but Russia has used energy as a weapon of foreign policy many times in the past.
In 2009, for instance, Russia shut off the flow of natural gas to Europe during a dispute with Ukraine, causing energy shortages in the dead of winter. Russia has reduced or shut off gas to Austria, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and Slovakia whenever those countries have refused its demands or otherwise displeased the Kremlin.
Nord Stream 2 will deepen Europe’s addiction to Russian gas—and make it ever more dependent on the dealer. All of Europe could suffer, but Ukraine would be hurt most of all. If the Nord Stream 2 pipeline comes online, Russia could bypass Ukraine entirely. This would not only cost Ukraine’s economy billions of dollars in transit fees, it would also give Russia the ability to isolate and starve this proud nation. It’s hard to imagine a worse time for this to happen, with Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border while Russia’s dictator salivates over conquering or further partitioning this country.
It’s no wonder that the vast majority of Europe sees the dire danger posed by this pipeline. The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly against it on three separate occasions—including just last month. The United Kingdom, France, and Eastern Europe firmly oppose its construction as well. It is only a small but influential group of German elites that support this misguided plan. It’s ironic that these men and women of power and privilege would doubtlessly claim to support the so-called “liberal international order”—as is the fashion in such circles. But their actions are directly empowering a dictator who poses the greatest threat to their dreams. A man who rose to power and has maintained it through extortion, murder, and brutality. Putin’s most recent political rival, Alexei Navalny, was poisoned with a nerve agent and today is rotting in a Russian penal colony. Navalny’s only crime was exposing the corruption and depravity of the Russian state. Yet, President Biden wants to enrich and reward this very regime.
Ultimately, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is emblematic of the Biden administration’s America Last foreign policy. But there is still time to stop it. I’m urging the president to reverse course immediately. There is little room for error left at this late, perilous stage. Nord Stream 2 is 95 percent completed—like an outstretched arm, Russia’s pipeline extends ominously within reach of Germany’s shore. We have to move quickly and in concert with our allies to make sure it extends no farther.
This Russian pipeline is bad for America and bad for Europe. If the president wishes to take the reins of international leadership, this is his opportunity. Kill Nord Stream 2 now, and let it rust beneath the waves of the Baltic.