By Prof Rodrigue Tremblay
[NATO’s goal is] “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Lord Ismay, first NATO Secretary-General (1952-1957).
“Near-term-thinking [by political and business decision-makers] is not only deeply irresponsible—it is immoral.” Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, (in a speech to the General Assembly, Monday February 6, 2023).
“Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.” Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928-2017), Polish-born American political theorist. (In his book ‘The Grand Chessboard’, 1997).
“Peace is the virtue of civilisation. War is its crime.” Victor Hugo (1802-1885), French novelist and political figure, (in ‘Œuvres complètes de Victor Hugo’, 1885)
A preamble is necessary to understand what follows.
Since the end of World War II in 1945, the influence of the U.S. government in European affairs has been front and center. During the Cold War (1945-1989) between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), Europe relied on the U.S., first for financial assistance with the Marshall Plan of 1947, and secondly, for military protection with the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, a mutual security and military alliance.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a realization in Washington that Europe could become less dependent on the United States. Indeed, the demise of the USSR also meant the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet-controlled military defense alliance. Therefore, there was no logical reason to keep NATO alive. The question was then, to dismantle NATO or not?
Because NATO was the main source of U.S. influence in Western Europe, the George H.W. Bush administration and its Secretary of State, James Baker, decided not to dismantle NATO. However, they promised Russia that the military alliance would not expand into Eastern Europe. This promise was broken by the Clinton administration and subsequently by other American administrations, and NATO did expand eastward, with vehement protests from Russia, because it considered such an expansion a threat to its security.
Nevertheless, economic ties between Western Europe and Russia grew stronger over the years, through mutual trade and investment. In 2012, a new pipeline, Nord Stream 1, came into operation, bringing cheap Russian natural gas to Germany. German companies have greatly profited from this cheap source of energy. Some German companies have even been selling their excess imports of Russian natural gas to other European countries. In June of 2015, a decision was made to build a second pipeline, the Nord Stream 2, to double the quantity of Russian natural gas destined to Germany and to other European countries.
The above announcement raised strong fears in the U.S. government that Western European countries were becoming too dependent economically on Russia, and this, just as NATO was expanding in Eastern Europe to include former allies of Russia: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia.
Thereafter, all successive Congresses and U.S. Administrations have strongly opposed the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. They feared that the new pipeline would greatly increase Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas, and that this could have serious geopolitical consequences.
The war between Russia and Ukraine, which flared up on February 24, 2022, after the Russian invasion, but which really started in 2014, is, to a large extent, the result of NATO’s expansion, which has de facto encircled Russia militarily. It is also a by-product of the American foreign policy goal to reverse Western Europe’s growing economic ties with Russia.
As the Brzezinski’s quote above states very clearly, the country of Ukraine is only a pawn in a much larger game by the United States government, designed to cut the economic ties between Russia, Germany and the entire European Union (EU).
Who sabotaged the pipelines Nord Stream 1 & 2?
On Monday, September 26, 2022, the day of Rosh Hashanah (which literally means “beginning of the year” in Hebrew*), U.S. President Joe Biden is alleged to have ordered the destruction of the undersea gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2, linking Russia and Germany. (N.B. The pipeline Nord Stream 1 went into operation in 2012, whereas Nord Stream 2 was completed in 2021, but has never gone into operation.)
If confirmed, such an act of state terrorist sabotage would be considered an obvious act of war on the part of the Biden administration. It would also most likely have important political, geopolitical and economic consequences in the coming months and years.
That is precisely what is revealed in an explosive, well documented, coherent and lengthy report, entitled “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”, dated February 8, 2023, and written by celebrated American journalist Seymour Hersh (1937- ). Pulitzer prizewinner Seymour Hersh has had a long and successful career as an investigative journalist specializing in American military affairs and American military involvements abroad.
Mr. Hersh reports in much detail—while citing reliable sources that must remain anonymous for the time being—how a top secret plan to destroy the 750 mile-long natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, linking Russia and Germany, was drawn up in Washington D.C., by an interagency group under the direction of Jake Sullivan, Biden’s National Security Adviser, beginning in the late fall of 2021.
It is important to note that such planning would have taken place months before Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, 2022, with the objective of preventing Ukraine from joining NATO.
Soon after the explosion of September 26, 2022, some American media surprisingly called the sabotaging of the strategic natural gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 a wartime “mystery“. Some media even alleged that Russia could have blown up its own pipelines for some foggy reasons. Now it appears that the mystery can be dissipated, thanks to the diligence and hard work of American journalist Hersh.
Even though the sabotage action by U.S. Navy diving specialists (with the active cooperation of Norway) was supposed to remain a well-guarded secret and be shrouded in deniability, President Joe Biden could not resist from commenting publicly about the top-secret plan, even before the plan was to be executed.
Indeed, on February 7, 2022, during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington D.C., Mr. Biden went on record, declaring the following:
[If Russia invades Ukraine], “then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” He added, to be perfectly clear, in a response to a follow-up question by a journalist: “We will, I promise you, we will be able to do that.”
Therefore, what journalist Hersh is now revealing in detail in his 5,000-word report is not a complete surprise, considering that President Joe Biden himself had clearly indicated that it was his intention to eliminate the natural gas pipelines linking Russia to Germany.
Moreover, what has now been made public are the enormous efforts made by the Biden administration to keep the sabotage plan top secret.
First, Congress was kept in the dark about the plan. Second, according to Seymour Hersh, special diving commandos of the U.S. Navy were secretly recruited and trained for the mission of placing mines in the deep sea, on the Nord Stream pipelines in Danish waters, off the coast of Bornholm Island. Third, the placing of explosive charges on the pipelines, in June 2022, was dissimulated within NATO military exercises named Baltops 22, and was conducted by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which was in the area at the time.
In addition, since such explosives could be remotely detonated, the precise date for the destruction of the pipelines was left to President Biden to decide.—He is alleged to have chosen the date of Monday September 26, 2022.
Political, legal, economic and geopolitical ramifications of the sabotage
Now that the cat would seem to be out of the bag and the so-called “mystery” would appear to have been elucidated, the consequences of this act of state sabotage could be enormous and numerous.
First politically, not all members of the US. Congress will be pleased to learn that laws have been circumvented to keep them in the dark, when all the while President Biden was vaguely hinting that Russia could be behind the sabotage of its own installations, a few days after he had himself ordered the blowing up of the pipelines.
Congressional hearings on the issue would seem to be required, with testimonies under oath by some of the individuals most involved. Even Mr. Biden’s impeachment could be considered.
This is a reminder of the fabrication and pretext used by the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, after the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in order to justify an escalation of U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War.
Also, one might remember the September 2000 report published by the PNAC (Project for a New American Century). Written under the supervision of neoconservative Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, an avid campaigner for the war against Iraq, the report proposed that there was a need for “a new Pearl Harbor”, to galvanize the country behind the objective of “re-arming America”.
One year later, just by coincidence or otherwise, there came the catastrophic event of September 11, which effectively reshaped U.S. foreign policy.
When a government operates in complete secrecy, independently from democratic legislative institutions, it may take a long time for citizens to learn the whole truth behind certain so-called “mysterious” events.
Secondly, the sabotage event demonstrates that one objective (possibly the primary objective), in having Ukraine join NATO and in provoking Russia, was to create a direct confrontation with Russia, which could ‘justify’ the destruction of the Russian-German pipelines. Therefore, the people of Germany are bound to ask German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for a public accounting of his role in the entire sordid affair. It is not beyond possibility that Mr. Scholz could be called to submit his resignation.
Thirdly, legally, the Russian government and the international consortium that owns the destroyed pipelines can be expected to launch a barrage of suits under international law and request billions of dollars in damages. Other victims of the resulting rise in the price of natural gas could follow suit. Russia would also be expected to launch a formal accusation against the U.S. for having so openly violated the United Nations Charter.
Fourthly, as more information starts to filter out over the coming weeks, European governments and the E.U. leadership—having bought Washington’s official narrative that the push to admit Ukraine into NATO and the European Union was primarily based on a respect for Ukraine’s independence—may have to reassess their motives for supporting a war leading to nowhere, except possibly into World War III.
Indeed, if the Ukrainian war has been an American-led fabricated war from the start, beginning with the U.S.-backed overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government, in 2014, some among the most staunch European supporters of the war could realize that they have been manipulated.
Finally, journalist Hersh’s revelations could also disrupt, and possibly even derail, any plan that the U.S. and NATO could have had to escalate the war in Ukraine.
This sad modern episode in the long history of human warfare should teach us all a lesson. Indeed, in matters of wars or other crimes, the first question should always be “Cui Bono?” or “Who profits?”
In general, when a war breaks out, you can be assured that it is in the interest of one of the parties, the one who actively sought it out, and not necessarily the one who shot first.
Finally, it must be said that in matters of wars of aggression, no government can be trusted.