1. Giving Europe a Pass on Nord Stream 2 Is Another Putin Victory
by Debra Cagan and Andras Simonyi in The National Interest
Energy is used by Russia as a political weapon to gouge, dissuade, and suppress countries and populations from their own aspirations. With Nord Stream 2, that will include much of Europe.
he Biden administration is understandably attempting to repair what it perceives as damage done to relationships with some of America’s closest European allies. But there is a cost, often substantial, to pleasing one’s allies when there is no clarity of reciprocity. New rumored arrangements to protect Germany and others in the EU from U.S. sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be pocketed by those governments which now will be even more convinced that doing business with Russia—and for that matter, China, the EU’s latest go-at-it-alone venture—will have no negative impact on their relations with the United States. There is only one victor of this arrangement designed to sanitize Nord Stream 2: Vladimir Putin. The loser, transatlantic relations.
The supposition behind all of these attempts to “fix” this relationship is that the Biden administration must issue a huge mea culpa for the recent mistakes and insults to Germany, and backing off of sanctions would sound just the right note. They are unfortunately buttressed in their view by those within the United States who believe Germany, and by extension Russia, merits if not an apology then a pass under the guise of alliance relations. But the U.S. relationship with Germany is stronger than a disagreement over a single issue. Sanctions are not, nor should they be, viewed as an irreparable point of contention.
2. Nord Stream 2 has damaged the West enough. Time to put an end to it.
US can play important role in preventing the project’s completion.
By Zbigniew Rau and Dmytro Kuleba
Zbigniew Rau is the Polish foreign minister. Dmytro Kuleba is the Ukrainian foreign minister.
Poland and Ukraine have a shared interest in a strong, vibrant and resilient West. We are united behind a great vision, pursued by all U.S. presidents since the end of World War II, of a free, united Europe that is prosperous and at peace.
As ministers of foreign affairs, we must recognize, however, the obstacles keeping Europe truly united. Paramount among them is the false belief that the free world is an elite club, whose members’ national interests are superior to the collective’s. This belief is what emboldens predatory autocratic powers and creates hazards for international stability and world peace.
To aspire to become part of the free world means to reject autocracy, which creates challenges to authoritarian regimes. For their part, autocrats react on three fronts. First, they try to discourage the would-be members of the free world by military force and attempts at annexation, economic coercion and blackmail. Second, they try to tarnish the free world by portraying its political and business elites as corrupt. Finally, autocrats try to poison public discourse by launching far-reaching disinformation campaigns to promote undemocratic narratives. They lay claim to “spheres of privileged interests” and opt for reinstatement of “concert of powers,” thus implying control over the fate of other nations.
Poland and Ukraine have always believed that lasting peace in Europe is impossible to sustain without a harmonized democratic development across Europe.