In the course of history there sometimes occurs events that are monumentally important yet were hardly noticed by much of the world at the time. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 went almost un-noticed at the time, yet it started a war that killed millions of people and ended four empires within four years–the Ottoman Empire, the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Russian Empire. Eventually even the British Empire succumbed.
The sabotage and what now appears to be the irreparable destruction of the Nord Stream Pipelines has every indication of being such an event.
The Attack Upon the Pipelines Is an Attack Upon Germany
The American political establishment has been railing against the pipelines for years, claiming that Germany will become so dependent upon Russian natural gas that it will be easily blackmailed in the future to do Russia’s bidding or suffer a cutoff of natural gas. This is ludicrous from the start, because Germany can prevent this contingency by diversifying its energy sources. The fact that Germany has not chosen to do so is an indication that its leaders do not view a cutoff of Russian gas as credible. Is Germany wrong? Perhaps. But Germany is a sovereign country with its own constituency to which its political leaders must pander. The Green energy movement, which opposes nuclear, coal, and even natural gas exploitation on German soil is supported by a substantial segment of the German people and cannot be ignored by its political leaders. Some American leaders, such as California Governor Gavin Newsom, are building careers by following the same political winds. Since German industry and the comfort of the German people are dependent upon Russian natural gas, the attack upon the pipeline is an attack upon Germany itself.
Asking “Who Benefits” suggests that those responsible for a certain event are those most likely to gain from it. Logically there are only three possible culprits to the attacks. (The difficulty of the attacks rules out terrorist organizations, I think.) That leaves Germany itself, Russia, or the United States. Germany probably has the capability and, of course, access to the pipelines, but no motive to destroy it. Sure, Germany may shun Russian gas now, but why destroy something that it may desire in the future under a more favorable geopolitical climate? As for the Russians, could there be some deep geopolitical game to destroy the pipelines that took years to build and cost eleven billion dollars? After all, if Russia wanted to shut off gas to Germany, all it had to do was stop the flow at its end. That leaves the US.
Occam’s Razor is a principle that “The simplest explanation is preferable to one that is more complex.” America has been opposed to the pipelines long before the Ukrainian war. See here, here, and here. Watch this video clip of an exchange between Senator Ron Johnson and Russophobe State Department official Victoria Nuland, starting at the 2:52 mark. In separate public statements, President Biden and Ms Nuland said respectively that “there would no longer be a Nord Stream 2” and “Nord Stream 2 will not go forward”. Furthermore, America is an exporter of liquefied natural gas to Europe. Russia claims that American gas costs 30% to 40% higher. As for deeper, geopolitical reasons to destroy the pipeline, it is entirely possible that America does not want peace in Europe. It may not want actual war, but it’s actions indicate that it wants a permanent, armed presence in Europe and needs a reason keep the NATO nations tied to its apron strings. If Russia is just another commercial nation, vying for natural gas contracts in Europe, who needs the American military? Thus, the incessant vilification of the pipelines.
The Lessons from Sarajevo
Getting back to the lesson to be derived from the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, let us consider consequences of sabotaging the Nord Stream Pipelines between Russia and Germany. Eventually the culprits will be identified. I highly doubt that placing the blame on anyone except America is feasible. There is no motive for those who had access and capability, and there is no access and capability to those who might have motive (such as terrorist organizations). That leaves America. America may deny involvement, but Occam’s Razor tells us otherwise. That means that America attacked either Russia, Germany, or both. The legal issue is irrelevant. If Russia feels that America attacked its property, we may see a tit-for-tat escalation similar to what happened in Europe a month after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. If Germany feels that its sovereignty was violated and its industry and people permanently harmed, it will break with America, leave NATO, and most likely take all of Europe with it. Who knows what the repercussions will be around the world, especially as our other allies see us in an entirely new light. Furthermore, our enemies will be emboldened to exploit our perfidy to the political maximum.
If there is any beneficial consequence to this heinous act, it would be that the American people rid themselves of these interventionist elites who treat the world as toys to be broken with no consequences. As a people we can rid ourselves of the hubris that we are the indispensible nation with a moral right to intervene in the affairs of friends and foes alike. How a nation of 330 million can assume such hubris in a world of almost eight billion people borders on political megalomania. It is past time to face reality.