United States Senate Endorses Nord Stream 2 Sanctions

How is the United States endorsing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and what are the reasons they are doing so? What are the negative consequences of Nord Stream 2?

By Alexander Tantum

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a Russian gas pipeline that is currently being built, and will connect the Kremlin to Germany through the Baltic Sea. The pipeline poses a significant threat to other European nations, including those involved in the Three Seas Initiative (3SI), specifically towards their energy security. Through Nord Stream 2, the Kremlin is essentially bullying 3SI member nations by weaponizing gas, and on a more broad level, energy. They are undermining Europe’s energy security by putting a monopoly on energy. There would be less competition within the energy sector, which could potentially damage the European energy economy, and the economy as a whole. Additionally, European countries would have to rely too much upon Russia for their energy with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in place.

The United States and President Donald Trump also believe that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a threat to numerous European countries, and wish to enact penalties upon the Kremlin and Germany for their involvement with and support for the pipeline. One piece of legislation which is attempting to impose sanctions and counter Russian influence is the “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019” (S.1441). The bill, which is sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), still needs to pass House and Senate votes before President Trump can authorize it through his signature. Cosponsors of the bill include John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Through the “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019” bill, the President Trump and the United States hope they can stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and with that, end the Kremlin’s attempt at having too high of a level of energy leverage in Europe. As mentioned in the bill, the United States and Europe share a common history and identity, which involves democracy and individual freedoms, and because of this, have strong relationships with many countries in Europe, including those countries involved in the Three Seas Initiative. America feels as though the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a threat to those relationships, and thus, will impose sanctions in part due to their national security interests. As specified in the bill, the United States will place sanctions upon certain vessels to the construction of the pipeline. Essentially, this will mainly affect construction companies which are helping the Kremlin and Germany in building the pipeline. Additionally, entities which provide goods, information, and/or technology for the construction of the pipeline will be affected as well. As specified, if necessary, the United States may go so far as to prohibit any American financial institution from making loans to foreign entities involved with the pipeline. From Poland’s perspective, I would argue that it would be beneficial for the “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019” bill to be put into law. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be detrimental to Poland along with other Three Seas Initiative member nations, particularly with regards to the nations’ economies. The pipeline would eliminate competition, and also would potentially be damaging to the energy sector of a collective 3SI economy. Bills such as “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019” will help keep the collective 3SI economy strong.

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