The current developments around the Kremlin's grandiose project of geopolitical influence aka Nord Stream-2 are nothing but panic, I believe. Moreover, while last year, when sanctions were looming over anyone daring to complete the pipe laying, even before they were actually imposed, the only thing we were observing was perhaps some slight nervousness. Today, though, we can see panic-driven convulsions and hysterical moves resulting in a number of clearly deliberate destructive actions.
In this case, some mediocre lobbyists won't do, the Kremlin realizes, so some heavy artillery is being employed in the face of ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who literally demanded that counter-sanctions be introduced against the United States, the country which is blocking the construction of Vladimir Putin's geopolitical pipe.
Naturally, as soon as Herr Schroeder voiced this heresy at an open meeting of the Bundestag economics and energy committee, most international media picked up on a story, accusing Schroeder of an open, undisguised, and shameful Kremlin lobbyism. But few thought that, in fact, Schroeder's role in the play could be much deeper.
It is no secret that relations between Berlin and Washington are now as tense as ever. Moreover, both sides are pouring more fuel into the fire, but one thing is demanding larger contributions to the NATO budget or indulging Russia's energy projects, or even controversially withdrawing troops from Germany in a populist move, while sanctions threats are a thing of a totally different nature. This is a threat voiced amid the most difficult period of the global coronavirus pandemic as not even most developed economies can boast of standing immune to the COVID-19 fallout.
Now, let's imagine that Gerhard Schroeder's threat, for some reason unknown and illogical, is actually put to life. And no matter the type of sanctions Germany might imposes on the U.S., the response could be much more painful for the German economy. For instance, this could be an embargo on German car imports... The German economy, already affected by the pandemic, would lose billions of dollars, driving the country's GDP to another historic low.
But what do we get in the end? In the end, we get a war on the political and economic arenas between the two countries which in the past century were the main pillar of opposition to the Soviets. At the same time, these two countries will suffer both reputational and enormous economic losses.
Most importantly still, make war for what? For the sake of a project that's already practically presumed dead? A project that could bring serious losses to Berlin instead of profits? After all, this ritual dances around the project's corpse by all those Kremlin puppets could stir the largest-ever political crisis in the modern history of NATO and the European Union… After all, the two most influential players in the region is Germany and the U.S. – from across the pond.
So, in the context of Gerhard Schroeder's statements, the question arises: were they made simply due to panic catalyzed by the stench from the rotting corpse of Nord Stream 2, or were they a well-thought-out template aimed at major destabilization of Germany, the U.S., NATO, and the EU?
Is it possible that Herr Schroeder is now set to get the Kremlin's highest award – the Hero of Russia?