Washington, D.C. is universally known as a town divided, a place where compromise and dialogue are often sacrificed at the altar of competing agendas. But on one issue, at least, there is consensus: the 764-mile Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will pump Russian natural gas into Germany is a project that must be stopped. And the United States needs to use all of the economic and diplomatic tools at its disposal to do it.
In both congressional testimony and in meetings with Nato allies, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reiterated the official U.S. view that Nord Stream 2 is ‘a bad deal’ for Europe, a potential cash windfall for Russia, and a potential geopolitical coup for Vladimir Putin.
‘President (Joe) Biden has been very clear,’ Blinken said during his meetings in Europe last month. ‘He believes the pipeline is a bad idea, bad for Europe, bad for the United States, ultimately it is in contradiction to the EU’s own security goals.’
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been tougher in their rhetoric, with even Biden’s own supporters urging the administration to sanction any foreign entities even remotely involved in the pipeline’s construction. Senator Ted Cruz stalled the confirmation process of veteran diplomat William Burns, Biden’s nominee for CIA Director, on the issue. He only lifted his objections when Blinken issued a written statement in his own name assuring lawmakers that the administration would enact sanctions on any firm connected to the project.
Nord Stream 2, however, is a classic instance where hype and panic are clouding reason and good judgment. While ceasing construction of the pipeline would no doubt be an embarrassing setback for Moscow, it would also come at the cost of more turbulence to a U.S.-Germany