Editorial: Fool’s gambit
July 23. 2021
With allies like the U.S. and Germany, Ukraine will be left at the mercy of its enemies.
The latest agreement between the Biden administration and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put the nail in the coffin of gas transit in Ukraine, giving the full green light to the Kremlin and Germany to finish their beloved Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
With their hotly anticipated joint statement on July 21, the U.S. chose to appease Germany, solving a long-running dispute over the $11 billion pipeline that will bypass Ukraine and carry gas directly from Russia to Germany.
The statement claims that Germany and the U.S. will take potential, unspecified actions against Russia if it cuts off energy supplies to Ukraine, but the wording is naive at best, if not foolish.
“This commitment is designed to ensure that Russia will not misuse any pipeline, including Nord Stream 2, to achieve aggressive political ends by using energy as a weapon,” the statement reads.
There’s the rub. Such political naivety is dumbfounding, knowing Putin’s track record on the matter.
Russia’s autocrat has been blackmailing Europe and Ukraine with gas transit for decades, but the U.S. and Germany’s position is now clear. Washington and Berlin have officially chosen to turn a blind eye on Putin’s misdeeds.
Putin’s ambitions have been clear since he took power in 2000. For over 20 years, he has been dreaming of reviving a fantasized past of an imperial Soviet Union with him at its head and Ukraine at its feet.
In case Western countries hadn’t heard him well enough, he even recently took the time to write a 5,000 words “opus” outlining his imperialistic vision through the prism of made-up history, in which Ukraine has always been a part of Russia and thus belongs in its orbit.
Yet, as Ukraine puts on Cassandra’s cloak, her words once again fall on deaf Western ears.
Cassandra, the daughter of Troy’s king Priam, was cursed with the gift of prophecy. Despite the accuracy of her predictions, her warnings went unheeded. Cassandra foretold the fall of Troy, and was ignored.
In Putin’s plan, gas transit is as much a weapon as the troops he regularly amasses at Ukraine’s border to hinder the country’s will for its own destiny.
After amassing over 100,000 troops at Ukraine’s border this year and NATO did nothing, Putin boasted he was the one drawing the red lines.
“We don’t want to burn bridges, but if somebody interprets our good intentions as weakness, our reaction will be asymmetrical, rapid, and harsh,” he said back then. “We’ll decide for ourselves in each case where the red line is.”
This time, Biden and Merkel handed him the red pen.