At Germany's request, President Joe Biden has just inked a deal blessing the completion of Russia’s contentious U.S. Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will all but guarantee Moscow’s energy domination of the European Union and its neighborhood.
Barack Obama’s compromised reset is back. However, Biden knows that an outright romance with Russia must be soft-pedaled. Neither his electorate nor his legacy media are ready to embrace Moscow.
Biden has decided to deal first with Putin’s best friend in Europe, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Hence, the White House has reversed America’s stance on Nord Stream 2, removing a major bone of contention.
Donald Trump strongly opposed the project to prevent the EU’s deepening dependency on the Kremlin’s energy. Moscow has wielded that club with gusto, bashing the Ukrainians and the Poles, in particular, while showing Western Europeans who is in charge.
Therefore, Trump wanted to sell American Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) through friendly hubs in the Intermarium, the lands between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas.
Biden will have none of that. The White House’s objective is to set up a DC-Berlin-Moscow axis. That is tantamount to surrendering Europe, including the Intermarium, to the tender mercies of Germany and Russia. Why? Well Putin and Merkel will lead. Biden will ''lead from behind.''
The savvy set in our nation’s capital senses it. For example, hitherto stalwart Intermarium supporters at the Atlantic Council have recently argued that since the Three Seas project is largely economic, perhaps it should be headquartered in Berlin.
It sounds pragmatic, but it would defeat the purpose. The whole objective of the Intermarium is to support a strategic counterweight both to Berlin and Moscow. If the Atlantic Council plan gets traction, it should be renamed Mitteleuropa, after Germany’s geopolitical scheme for the region.
The Intermarium folks have been screaming foul. Some even talk about Yalta 2, an infamous diplomatic sellout by FDR and his Democrats, who gifted the region to ''Uncle Joe'' Stalin in 1945.
Ukraine is despondent. Having been ditched by the U.S., it has announced that it would become ''a bridge for China into Europe.'' Good luck.
Of course, Beijing will sell Kyiv down the river at the first opportunity after first taking advantage of this opening.
Poland is very worried, too. As a NATO member, Warsaw treats Washington as a strategic partner. It is fully loyal and fully invested – perhaps even overinvested — into this relationship.
As a rule, the Poles buy American, in particular for their military. They have acquired our F-35s, despite many misgivings. They have now shelled out billions of dollars to purchase our Abrams tanks.
Under the circumstances, however, Warsaw would be wise to rethink its relationship with Washington. Joe Biden was elected to represent America only for the next four years. Why gift him with billions of dollars?
Poland has other options. First, it can wait four years and buy American weaponry while a new administration takes over at the White House, hopefully one which will also want to sell U.S. energy to make U.S. money and shore up Europe’s energy security.
Second, Warsaw can further turn down American private energy bids, in particular atomic power, and buy a nuclear plant from France. That would make more sense.
Paris is not only a EU member but it can be prevailed upon to pressure Germany on Poland’s behalf, which Biden obviously does not want to do.
Third, the Europeans also have military hardware for sale. Why buy Democrat-ruled U.S. weapon systems, when Swedish fighter jets are just fine, and French attack helicopters are pretty good?
It would make sense for the Poles to stick with the fellow EU members.
The Polish ask: Why must we always cherish the U.S. and get a kick in the face, when the Left dominates the U.S. government? This is now a widespread mood in Poland.
Meanwhile, Putin has responded to Biden’s signaling. The Russian president wrote a lengthy historical essay and posted it on the Kremlin web site.
The essay underscores the continuity of the Muscovite, Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet propaganda. To boil it down, everything is Russia, including Ukraine.
Also, Russians and Ukrainians are one people. And they would be united but for a few local mistakes and major meddling by evil foreigners.
There are already 21,000 Russian troops in Crimea. More are poised to strike along Russia’s western border.
What say you, Joe Biden? More U.S. hugs and kisses for Moscow and Berlin?
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.
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