Trump Firmly In the Twilight Zone: Threatens Nord Stream 2 With Sanctions

Trump's vise on the EU started with steel, progressed to cars, then to Iran, and now to a gas pipeline vital to the EU.

The story of the day, not discussed in mainstream media, involves Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline between Russia and the EU. The feature image is from Gazprom.

Gazprom says "The new pipeline, similar to the one in operation, will establish a direct link between Gazprom and the European consumers. It will also ensure a highly reliable supply of Russian gas to Europe."

Some suggest the EU is unwise to depend on Russia. That is nonsense. Why?

Free trade stops wars!

Regardless, it is the EU's decision to make, not Trump's, and the deal is already underway.

Gazprom, Partners Invest €4.8 Billion Nord Stream 2 Construction

TASS, the Russian news agency reports Gazprom, Partners Invest €4.8 Billion Nord Stream 2 Construction.

Believe that? Why not? There is no dispute from the EU.

My point is the investment.

Russia’s gas producer Gazprom and its Nord Stream 2 partners have invested a total of 4.8 bln euro in the project on natural gas pipeline construction as of the end of June, Chief Financial Officer of Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the pipeline construction, Paul Corcoran told journalists on Thursday.

"We have received 96% of the pipes, we have concrete coated 55% of those pipes and we mobilized vessels for the pipelines. So we are quite well prepared on track and on time for the project," CFO added.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019.

Stop It All Says Trump

Eurointelligence reports Trump now gunning for Nord Stream 2

As if the tariffs on steel and aluminium - and soon cars - were not enough, the US administration is now preparing sanctions against five European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Those sanctions previously had the status of a rumour. But FAZ reports this morning that it received confirmation from a senior US official, at the World Gas Conference in Washington, that the administration is formally considering an application to impose such sanctions. There are two German companies involved, Wintershall und Uniper, as well as OMV from Austria, Engie from France and Royal Dutch Shell. Together they fund 50% of the project. Gazprom funds the other 50%.

FAZ notes that Uniper, one of the German companies, would be particularly hard-hit. The company is a big player in the US coal trade. The company's CEO is quoted as saying that he continues to believe in the necessity of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to secure gas supplies for the EU. It remains to be seen whether the companies will back off from the project once the sanctions are actually imposed.

Twilight Zone

Trump's Iran sanctions are absurd. His Nord Stream 2 demands are so far beyond absurd as to be in the Twilight Zone.

Does Trump have a yes or no vote on any and every trade agreement in the world?

It appears so.

The EU and all the countries that border the pipeline agreed to this deal. They invested heavily in it. Construction is underway.

What's Next?

This is so damn absurd, it's logical to conclude there is no way the EU will back down.

However, logic and reality can be quite different things. Trump is proof enough.

Either way, the problem is "what's next?"

History suggests that when trade stops, war soon follows.

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Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (18)
No. 1-18
Realist
Realist

Trump has already started a trade war with virtually every country in the world. When he starts losing that war, it wouldn’t surprise me if he resorts to some type of military solution; perhaps it will start with a blockade of Iranian oil shipments to China and India, and an equivalent response from China and India. Next comes the invasion of Canada and Mexico.

MorrisWR
MorrisWR

This is idiotic but invasion of Canada and Mexico seems a bit over the top. Perhaps that was sarcasm though.

SweetKenny
SweetKenny

Trudeau is dangerous enough - US just has to wait until Trudeau destroys the economy and then buy the half China doesn’t already own.

channelstuffing
channelstuffing

they'll have to borrow the money (or print it)from china to do it.lol

Brian1
Brian1

Trump takes extreme positions so after negotiating he still gets more than he originally wanted. He only wrote a book explaining this 30 years ago.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Trump's objection to the pipeline isn't about Russia as much as against Germany. Germany has effectively used the EU to take over Europe through trade and policy. Allowing Germany to control the LNG spigot gives it the coercive force to complete the takeover without the need for a military. Never forget how many lives were lost in WW2 to defeat Germany.

MorrisWR
MorrisWR

The problem is this is world economics and not a real estate deal. We are already skating on thin ice with the economy and this tariff feud along with the Iranian rhetoric can easily speed up the onset of a recession. I hope you are correct but time will tell.

As to Germany controlling the pipeline and thus the EU, I would say they already control the EU but it is sinking fast.

Stuki
Stuki

"Mom, I'm gonna die if I don't get another candy bar...."

Great "negotiation" tactic, that....... Quite brilliant no doubt, by the standards of members of the braindead indoctrinati supporting this dimwit.

I somehow don't think The Kremlin counts amongst those. Nor anyone who has managed to reach the top of cutthroat Middle Eastern dog-eats-dog politics.

Sechel
Sechel

The U.S. is afraid a pipeline between the E.U. and Russia will lessen U.S. influence. I agree. That's one reason the U.S. wants to push exports of LNG to Europe. But the strategy is not coherent. We're lessen U.S. influence by attacking NATO , putting up tariffs against European companies and withdrawing from trade organizations. There is simply no cohesion in what Trump wants.

This has very little to do with Trump. The United States has been against Russian pipelines into Europe for years simply due to the recognition it increases Russian leverage on Europe given that Russia could shut the pipeline in the future and by extension Europe being aware of the importance of the gas supply

Carlos_
Carlos_

Commentators are overthinking this. The opposition to the pipeline is about supporting his base in the US. When the US sales LNG to EU his base wins and their support increases. Any one who thinks that Trump has some kind of global master plan is delusional. Trump is always about Trump. He is already in full campaign mode for 2020. Every public appearance is always about him and for his audience (the deplorable). He has absolutely no interest on the people (other than the ones under his tent - for now while they are useful)

SleemoG
SleemoG

Too complicated. His base doesn't think.

Stuki
Stuki

Yup.

It's a bloody mess. The US doesn't want Europe to become less dependent on, hence supportive of, the US military, under guise of NATO, throwing it's weight around in the Middle East.

Neither does Netanyahu want a competitor to his dream of an East Med gas pipeline into Greece/Europe. And while Trump himself may neither care about Israel, nor be particularly adept at even the spelling of such multi syllable last names; every level in Washington below trump himself, are still largely filled with card carrying Straussians/neocons. And those guys do pay heed to Netanyahu's concerns.

But, given recent developments, I can't really see Germany feeling like there's any less risk of being held hostage by a gas pipeline passing through Greece, than by one from Russia.......

Webej
Webej

America wants the gas to transit the Ukraine. That is what was in past the cuase of any lack of reliability, the Uki's holding everybody to ransom and stealing the gas. Their role will soon be finished, even though the route is the most logical. What would happen if Europe tried to switch to American LNG. For years, there would be not even close to the required volumes. If America could supply the volume, the gas prices in America would go up, and with it the price of electricity and heating, etc. Just as the facking miracle starts to hit depleting wells and debt servicing predicated on future flows from those depleting wells. Sanctioning a company like Shell will take the existing tensions to well into actual war terrein.

conscript
conscript

The pipeline gets turned after talks with Putin in July.

ManAboutDallas
ManAboutDallas

Between sanctions on one hand and tariffs on the other, the U.S. doesn't have a SINGLE real ally left in the whole world. Yes, that's right; we've managed to get nearly the ENTIRE WORLD angry at us about.... something. Think this is going to end well? Watch for LOTS of meetings between Moscow, Beijing, and Mumbai before the Helsinki Summit. I think Putin will get to be the emissary who tells Trump ".... how the cow eats the cabbage." on behalf of the rest of the world. The skids are being greased, one by one, and The United Banana Republic States of America is about to be told to take a trip you-know-where.

Ambrose_Bierce
Ambrose_Bierce

Trump is never right about anything, that much said, putting American LNG into the hands of European and Japanese end users is a geopolitical strategy with merit