Our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions on complex topics.
The truth about Russia and Nord Stream may cripple Europe
Hello, everybody, Peter Zeihan here, coming to you from Colorado. It is Monday the 21st of November, so Happy Thanksgiving week to everybody. We’re going to have a series come out this week on issues that have come out of the Ukraine war in terms of economics and strategy and everything else.
Now, we’re going to start with something that the Swedish government started announcing this past Friday, when they started releasing bits and pieces from the forensic work that they have done on the Nord Stream bombing. Now Nord Stream is a natural gas pipeline that goes under the Baltic Sea from the Russian mainland to the German coast. And when it was operating, it was providing the German economy with 40% of their natural gas usage. And without it, we are talking about the beginning of the end of Germany as an industrial power. More on that later in the series.
But the new news is that the Swedes had identified the type of explosive and they’ve actually gotten samples from within the pipeline, which means that they’ve got their nose so far deep into where the evidence would be that they know exactly who did it and how. For weeks, Sweden has been unofficially pointing the finger at Russia, Sweden has by far the most capable navy on the Baltic Sea. Sweden has by far the most advanced sonar and forensic capability in the area. And on the day that Nord Stream was bombed, they started quietly telling their European partners that it was definitely the Russians who did it. And if there’s anyone in the space that has the ability to identify what actually happened, it would be Sweden.
However, they have not made their findings official in any…possible way until now. And the question is, what has changed, and the question is, why have they not? Unfortunately, for the Europeans, the answer is pretty simple to the second questions. If they admit that the Russians are deliberately destroying critical European infrastructure, then that requires action. In the parlance of the United States, it makes Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. And countries that kind of fall into that category, you don’t trade with. And this, at least at this moment, has not been an option for the Europeans at all. Even with Nord Stream offline, Russia remains the number three supplier of natural gas to the continent. It is the number one source of the inputs that allows the Europeans to make fertilizer or to smelt aluminum. This is the raw material that goes into their steel. This is the raw material that goes into their copper. This is the raw material that goes into the European semiconductor sector. This is timber.
You remove all of that from the European system and there is no way you don’t have something that is at least as bad as the 2007-2013 financial crisis in the Europe space. This is the kind of thing that would trigger a recession, that it’s very possible that the Europeans wouldn’t recover from. Because we are, we are well past the point where Europe was a…consumer of goods. Europe has aged. The demographics of the continent are sharply terminal, and it has far more people in their 60s than their 50s than their 40s than their 30s. So the business model for Europe today is to take raw materials from somewhere else, metabolize them into finished goods, and then export them into markets that can actually consume. Without the Russians, they lose that first step, and the entire economic model goes away.
Now the sanctions that the Europeans have put on the Russians to this point were done with this in mind. The whole idea was you phase things out over months or even years, so that the European system has a chance to adapt to either get new suppliers, or more likely go through some very significant economic restructuring. So that on the other side of this, the Europeans aren’t nearly as dependent upon the imported materials, no matter where they came from.
The Nord Stream investigation threatens to throw that all into a tizzy, because if the Swedes actually do come out and provide the proof that everyone seems in Europe to know that the Swedes have, then all of a sudden everybody has to make some very specific decisions. And even if the Europeans don’t do it, with that evidence out there the Americans under existing law really don’t have much of a choice. And then the Americans will have to stop trading with any country that is still trading with the Russians. And in that sort of circumstance, the entire European economic and social model goes away in a very, very short period of time.
This is one of those situations where the truth will not set you free, but the truth appears to be about to come out. Next time we’ll dive into the energy situation and specific, give you an idea of what’s coming down the pipe. Until then.
Should we worry about Chinese land purchases in US?
Some U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about increasing ownership of American land by Chinese entities, often attributing it to the Chinese government’s attempt to control food supply and surveil U.S. infrastructure. China ranks 18th on the list of foreign landowners in the U.S., trailing Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and the U.K. So how worried should…
Sweden finally within sight of joining NATO
Sweden has been trying to join NATO for almost two years now, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Turkey and Hungary had been stalling that process, preventing Sweden from joining the Western military alliance. But recent public signals of approval from both Turkey and Hungary suggest a positive shift, indicating that the…
Will Europe go nuclear if US quits NATO?
The NATO alliance secured almost a century of peace on the European continent, with the exception of smaller conflicts and minor wars, until Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022. This was one of the longest stretches of continuous peace in recorded European history. Yet American isolationist instincts are resurfacing, just as they did before World…
Nigeria in a post-American world
Nigeria has the largest population and the largest economy of any nation in Africa and is projected to become the fourth-largest country in the world by population before 2050. But Nigeria is also a country with plenty of troubles, from notorious political corruption to domestic terrorism and armed insurgency. Peering ahead into the post-American world,…
Don’t expect US tactical response to death of Putin critic Navalny
On Friday, Feb. 16, Russian prison authorities announced that Aleksei A. Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in a remote Arctic prison. Navalny was imprisoned in January 2021 and serving a 19-year sentence. He was renowned as Putin’s most vocal domestic opponent, gaining prominence in 2011 when he declared the existence…
Underreported stories from each side
Public satisfaction with 12 of 29 aspects of US declines during Biden presidency: Gallup
6 sources | 0% from the left
US is imposing more than 500 new sanctions on Russia’s war machine, indicts Russian businessmen
214 sources | 17% from the right
EPA mulls EV transition delay amid pushback from lawmakers, automakers
SAG-AFTRA accuses CBS News of seizing files of fired journalist
Biden weighs border executive order as immigration approval rating hits 28%
Florida social media ban for kids under 16 awaits DeSantis' signature
Loopholes in some plastic bag bans increase plastic waste
In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum.
We know it is important to hear from a diverse range of observers on the complex topics we face and believe our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions.
The commentaries published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
- What in the World
- America Speaks
In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. We hope these different voices will help you reach your own conclusions.
The opinions published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
Other AEI Contributors