The decade's most triggering comedy
The pipelines, which carry natural gas under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, have been the center of geopolitical strife since the invasion of Ukraine. Russia nixed shipments through Nord Stream 1 several weeks ago, while Germany blocked the adjacent Nord Stream 2 from beginning shipments days before. Sweden and Denmark reported damage to the pipelines last week as the system operator confirmed that the destruction was “unprecedented.”
During an appearance on Bloomberg TV, Sachs — who directs Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development — agreed with some Europeans who have suggested that the United States had the strongest motive to carry out the alleged attack.
“The European economy is getting hammered by the sudden cutoff of energy,” Sachs contended. “And now to make it definitive, the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipeline — which I would bet was a U.S. action, perhaps U.S. and Poland.”
When asked to justify his assertion, Sachs claimed that radar data indicated that American military helicopters typically based in Gdansk, Poland, had been circling over the area. He also noted that President Joe Biden said days before the invasion that he would “bring an end” to Nord Stream 2 if Russian troops entered Ukraine. After the pipelines were destroyed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the phenomenon a “tremendous opportunity” to end European reliance on Russian energy.
“That’s a strange way to talk if you’re worried about piracy on international infrastructure of vital significance,” Sachs said. “I know it runs counter to our narrative — you’re not allowed to say these things in the West — but the fact of the matter is all over the world when I talk to people, they think the U.S. did it. Even reporters on our papers that are involved tell me ‘Of course,’ but it doesn’t show up in our media.”
While some European ministers said Russia may have destroyed its own pipelines to increase gas prices, others blamed the United States for the damage, which caused natural gas to spew toward the surface of the Baltic Sea. Disabling the pipelines would remove the possibility of Germany caving to Russia and ending sanctions in time to import energy for the winter.
The German government assumes the destruction emerged from an intentional attack rather than seismic activity. Some have noted that the United States and other NATO members had tested underwater technology months before the pipelines were destroyed. Meanwhile, a report from German news outlet Spiegel pointed out that the CIA had cautioned Germany about possible attacks on the pipelines weeks earlier.
Ministers in the European Union are contending with energy prices that have increased as much as twentyfold in some member states. In accordance with the European Green Deal and the Paris Climate Agreement, nations in the bloc abide by the official goal of becoming “a climate-neutral society” by 2050. As power prices continue to rise, manufacturers across Europe have paused operations through the winter, while some nations are considering implementing energy quotas and other regulations for power consumption.