German-American friendship has at all times stopped the place Russian fuel started to circulate. Even 40 years in the past, with the Chilly Struggle in full swing and the U.S. defending West Germany with some 220,000 GIs, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt went mano a mano with Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan over a barter deal for trillions of cubic toes of Soviet fuel.
Again then, the U.S. caved, however now Chancellor Angela Merkel is up towards Donald Trump, who along with his standard finesse has ordered her to “cease shopping for fuel from Putin.” At stake is a brand new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that may pump fuel immediately from Russia into Germany, outflanking NATO allies Poland and the three Baltic states in addition to Ukraine. They aren’t amused by what they see as Russo-German collusion.
Not like Mr. Carter and Reagan, Mr. Trump has unleashed lethal sanctions that would shred an investment of some €10 billion. With solely 100 extra miles left to go throughout the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream 2 might not ship a single molecule of fuel. It might rot away as an 800-mile-long monument to folly.
Unfazed by Mr. Trump’s tone, Ms. Merkel has insisted: “We wish the challenge to proceed.” However all of a sudden, Russo-German amity, a pillar of Berlin’s diplomacy, is popping wobbly. Why is continuity cracking? Credit score a single man, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin’s worst home foe, who has barely survived an try on his life. The Kremlin denies culpability. However Novichok, a nerve agent, can’t be purchased on the drugstore; it was developed by a secret Soviet lab and has been used to poison an extended chain of dissidents.