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Blinken: Whodunnit, Who Cares? It's A Tremendous Opportunity!
Remember Blinken’s initial, reflexive, response to the US sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines? It was to gaslight: Nobody benefits from this. Get it? It was all a big mystery, so don’t bother asking, Cui bono? There’s no point. Of course, as economist Michael Hudson pointed out, that bit of gaslighting wasn’t going to have much of a shelf life—If nobody benefited from the sabotage, how do you explain the incontrovertible fact that somebody did do it? This wasn’t some teen prank. This was the sort of state sponsored terrorism that only a handful of countries had the technical means to pull off, and state actors don’t do drastic deeds of this sort unless they see a clear benefit. All an inquiring mind needs to do is to take that short list of capable countries and ask, Which country on the list benefits? Not Russia, for sure. And no other country on the list would dare attempt this stunt without a go ahead from the US—what country would dare launch an attack on such a significant bit of Russian infrastructure of enormous economic value without US backing?
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So, a few days later Blinken’s mask came totally off. Who benefits? Duh! We do! We the US of A, dummy! And you Euros? Tighten your belts, wean yourselves off cheap Russian energy—and buy some of our expensive Red White And Blue stuff. You’ll have a helluva lot less but you’ll have to like it, cuz ain’t no other ready source. Any other source’s won’t make up the shortfall, so the US will make a killing off you Euros one way or another.
You think I’m kidding? Not hardly, but naturally Blinken’s not very subtle remarks are not getting a lot of coverage in the collective West. Nevertheless, it happened. You can see Blinken saying all these things in this Youtube. This is called chutzpah. Blinken is telling the assembled regime sponsored scribes that when Putin sells energy to Europe at affordable prices, that’s “weaponization of energy” in the interests of Putin’s “imperial designs,” but when Blinken blows up pipelines—I say Blinken, because there’s no telling if Zhou remembers this from one day to the next—then that’s NOT weaponization of energy. And no mention of “imperial designs” on the part of the nation whose military spans and encircles the globe. Aaarrrr. We be pipeline pirates!
Here’s the RT account of this, which contains more of Blinken’s words—everyone else who covered the story, obscure bloggers, is using the RT account, so I may as well, too:
Washington can now step in as Europe’s top supplier of LNG, the Biden administration explained. The US views the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines as a “tremendous opportunity” to wean EU states off Russian energy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Friday.
With winter approaching, Blinken said that the US wants the bloc to use less fuel.
Washington has for years been trying to convince EU leaders to swap Russian gas for its LNG.
The severity of the damage to the undersea conduits now means that the bloc is “indefinitely deprived” of Russian gas via this route, Russian energy operator Gazprom stated on Friday.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, Blinken boasted that the US is now “the leading supplier of [liquefied natural gas] to Europe.” In addition to shipping its own fuel to Europe, Blinken said that the US is working with European leaders to find ways to “decrease demand” and “speed up the transition to renewables.”
Right. Got that? The US can’t possibly supply Europe with enough of its pricey LNG, so the solution is for Europe to “decrease demand”. As in, freeze their asses off this winter. Or find other ways to use less gas, like, shutting down their key industries and “deindustrializing.” But cheap Russian gas is no longer an option—USA or bust:
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from [Russian President] Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs,”Blinken declared.
Remove their dependence. Blow up their pipeline! Yeah, that’ll do it. And then, with Blinken barely able to contain himself as he gaslights the media idiots, RT goes totally gauche by raising the question: Who benefits? And providing the obvious answer:
The US likely stands to gain the most from the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, which were damaged by a series of explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm earlier this week. Washington has for years been trying to convince European leaders to swap Russian gas for its LNG, and the severity of the damage to the undersea conduits now means that Europe is “indefinitely deprived” of Russian gas via this route, Russian energy operator Gazprom stated on Friday.
In a speech on Friday, President Vladimir Putin blamed the explosions on“the Anglo-Saxons,” a Russian colloquialism for the US-UK transatlantic alliance.
“It’s obvious to everyone who benefits from it,” Putin explained. “Those who benefit are the ones who have done it.”
While the way is now open for the US to sell its more expensive LNG to Europe, the shortfall cannot be covered overnight. US exporters warned throughout the summer that they will not be able to ship enough gas to meet demand on the continent, and many of Europe’s import terminals are still under construction or in planning.
I suppose Blinken would say in re the inability of the US to supply Europe, Hey, somebody else’s problem.
Meanwhile, energy bills are skyrocketing across Europe. In Germany, which faces the prospect of rapid “deindustrialization,” protesters took to the streets to demand the re-opening of Nord Stream 2 just days before the explosions. Food shortages have been predicted in Germany and firewood is in hot demand across the continent as citizens struggle to heat their homes.
“There’s a lot of hard work to do to make sure that countries and partners get through the winter,” Blinken said, suggesting, as EU leaders have also done, that Europe work to “reduce demand” for gas.
The cynicism of it all is just amazing. Equally amazing is the willingness of Euro “leaders” to allow their people to be crushed like this.
Now, what follows is a loose summary of some of Alex Mercouris’ comments from a video today at The Duran. I think it dovetails remarkably well with Blinken’s cynical, in your face, self congratulation. A fair amount of what follows is actual transcript, but a fair amount is also my expansion. Take it for what it is.
The big event of the past week is NOT the battle around Liman, which is more of a sideshow in the big scheme of things. The big event is the accession of the four oblasts of Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson to the Russian Federation. That commits Russia to defending these regions as part of Russia, and we're seeing more and more videos of Russian military resources pouring into these areas. Meanwhile, the collective West's response to this development has been somewhat subdued, and Ukraine's demand for entry into NATO on an "expedited" basis was unceremoniously dismissed.
Perhaps even more remarkably is the fact that there has been very little discussion of the US sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines--which should have been a huge story.
In Europe the lack of attention may be caused by the fact that people are focusing on the day to day effects of the economic "death spiral". The Western countries are focusing inward, perhaps. The most recent poll in the UK has the Conservative party polling at 21%--a situation that can't go on much longer, not with Labor polling at 54%. The UK may be in for another change in government, sooner rather than later.
Across the continent, people are suddenly coming to the realization of "how bad things are and how much worse they'll soon be getting." The idea of somehow muddling through is starting to look delusional. The flow of Russian gas to Italy has suddenly stopped entirely--Russia says the problems are in Austria. Thus, while the enthusiasm for the war on Russia via Ukraine may not have dimmed among the European political class, they're beginning to feel overwhelmed by problems that they didn't fully anticipate.
You could compare this with Condi Rice's confident statements from 2014 about how it was time to start pushing Russia around, showing them who's boss (h/t commenter Shy Boy):
Back in 2014, Condoleeza Rice was being interviewed about the then-conflict in Ukraine, and in her mild, sweet voice, suggested regretfully that the key to solving Ukraine was much, much tougher sanctions on Russia, no matter the cost, with a you-can’t-make-an-omelet-without-breaking-a-few-eggs sort of tone:
… we need to have tougher sanctions [on Russia]. And I’m afraid at some point, this is going to probably have to involve involve oil and gas. The Russian economy is vulnerable. Eighty percent of Russian exports are in oil, gas, and minerals. People say, well, the Europeans will run out of energy. Well, the Russians will run out of cash before the Europeans run out of energy. And I understand that it’s uncomfortable…
Over the long run, you simply want to change the structure of energy independence. You want [Europe] to depend more on the North American energy platform of oil and gas that we’re finding in North America. You want to have pipelines that don’t go through Ukraine and Russia. For years, we’ve tried to get the Europeans to be interested in different pipeline routes.
It’s time to do that.
First, that part that Rice somehow allowed to slip out, that we want Europe to depend on us for oil and gas—that directly addresses the issue of Who benefits from the pipeline sabotage.
Second, Americans and Europeans may not have given those words much thought over the past 8 years, but it's a safe bet that a prudent ruler like Putin spent those 8 years getting Russia ready for the next round of the West's war on Russia. And now the collective West is finding out that they're the ones who were caught with their pants down.
The biggest mistake that was made over the course of this crisis was made at the very outset, by both the US and--even more so--by the European countries. They cast all restraints aside and decided to wage all out economic war on Russia, with the obvious expectation that this economic war would crush the Russian economy, causing Putin's government to fall. Things that the Europeans had previously ruled out, like the de-Swifting of Russian banks and sanctions against Russian energy, suddenly became part of the agenda. Moreover, things that had never previously been discussed because they had never been thought possible--like the sanctions against the Russian Central Bank and the seizure of its foreign currency assets held in Western countries--also came to pass.
Governments like that of Germany, which had appeared to rule out these types of sanctions, suddenly decided to go along with it all. As a result, Europeans find themselves in the middle of an economic war that they never planned or prepared for. There seems to have been some sort of "casual expectation" that these sanctions would magically work overnight--it would all be over with minimal pain, and the partying and back slapping over Russia's collapse would begin.
Instead, Russia has pretty much brushed off the sanctions. Not so Europe. Instead the crisis is escalating, and the Nordstream sabotage has essentially cut off Europe's one line of retreat--via some sort of rapprochement with Russia. The Europeans can't reverse course--a course that they never prepared for. The usual remedies for an economic downturn won't work, because the energy crisis is unprecedented and comes on top of other underlying problems.
The question becomes, In the coming months will European governments pay less attention to Ukraine and become absorbed in problems in their own backyards? Recent elections suggest that this may be the case: Italy, Czechia, Sweden. Interestingly, in Sweden, where it was anticipated that the populist Sweden Democrats would be shut out of government, they now look set to head important parliamentary committees--justice, business, labor market, and foreign affairs--which will give them major influence over government activity.