The West's failure to impose serious sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime has led him to use natural gas as a weapon against Europe, a former Trump administration official told Newsmax.
Appearing Tuesday on "The Record With Greta Van Susteren," Marshall Billingslea, former special presidential envoy for arms control at the State Department and current senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, was asked about Russia's skirting of Western sanctions by selling surplus natural gas to China, which in turn is selling it to Europe after tacking on a fee.
"This is what happens when you fail to impose serious sanctions on the Russians and you create all of these loopholes that they can then exploit," Billingslea said. "But you know this latest threat, Putin has repeatedly shown that he will use Russian energy as a weapon against Europe. He did that as far back as the winter of 2009, long before he invaded Crimea. So there's nothing new here."
That is why then-President Donald Trump urged Germany to abandon dependency on Russian oil and gas, Billingslea said.
"Their arrogant response, that video clip that we've all seen of them at the U.N. laughing, hasn't aged very well for the Germans," he said.
"Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course," Trump said in the 2018 address to the United Nations as the German delegation laughed. "Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers."
With the war with Ukraine, Russia had already cut off 80% of natural gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in response to sanctions. With winter approaching, it just announced a total shutdown until sanctions are lifted.
Meanwhile, Germany has postponed shutting down two nuclear power plants in case of a crisis.
"I don't know what constitutes a crisis, but at least the Germans are having a pause in what I think is a very unwise decision to shut down these plants," Billingslea said, "particularly because you know Putin will follow through on this decision to shutter the Nord Stream."
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