The latest US sanctions are not just targeting Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline but the whole energy alliance between Russia and Europe, according to Alexander Rahr, research director at the German-Russian Forum.
RT talked to Rahr, following the approval of a bill by the US Senate, which would sanction companies involved in the construction of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. The bill is expected to be signed by US President Donald Trump later this week.
European companies working on Nord Stream 2 will have enough time to complete the project before US sanctions are implemented, according to Rahr. Under the new bill they will have 30 days to stop their operations.
“European companies participating in Nord Stream 2 will have enough time and the US president knows that and he needs a bogeyman story for the Europeans. He understands that he can’t stop Nord Stream 2, but the new bill will give him power in the future to pressure Europe,” Rahr said.
There is certainly a risk that some companies cooperating in the energy sector with Russia will wind down operations and “run to the United States to save their business which is more profitable for them,” Rahr explained. However, there are others that will stay and continue their business in Russia, he added.
The expert explained that Washington does not want Moscow to make money on the European market, while trying to increase its own exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). At the same time, the US does not want to save Ukraine from possible bankruptcy if Kiev loses the $2-3 billion it makes annually from Russian gas transit to Europe.
He explained that Washington’s goal is to turn Western Europe and Eastern Europe against each other. Western Europe, which since Soviet times has set up an energy alliance with Russia, putting money and effort into the whole structure, will not give up on it. Meanwhile, Eastern Europe will lobby for purchases of American LNG and that “will of course destabilize the situation on the European market.”
That will be the effect of the US political influence, Rahr said, adding it will leave a “bad aftertaste for Germany because the Americans had so insolently interfered in the energy security of Europe and in fact have tried to discipline Germany.” He added that he doesn’t think that Berlin will agree with such a situation.
It is not good for the US to break relations with Europe at times of its trade conflict with China, according to the expert. “The United States is not as powerful as it thinks.”
Rahr said the whole sanctions’ push shows that Washington simply wants to accomplish its strategic, geopolitical, economic, and commercial interests irrespective of its allies’ interests.