What does Vladimir Putin have on Joe Biden?
Just a few months ago, the Biden administration argued that Nord Stream 2, a pipeline project from Russia to Germany, was “a bad deal” that “exposed Ukraine and central Europe” . White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted at the time that any new pipeline transporting fossil fuel to the continent “runs counter to Europe’s stated energy and fuel goals. security”.
This week, Axios reports that President Joe Biden is set to waive sanctions against a large company building the pipeline – as well as its CEO, Matthias Warnig, a former Stasi agent and a Putin associate. Putting aside a debate on the usefulness of waivers, the muffled reaction to the lifting of sanctions shows once again that the Russian collusion hysteria that enveloped the media and political conversation for nearly five years was an effort artificial to lie.
Democrats have shamelessly fluctuated over Russian politics. And it’s not just that many of the same officials who shape Biden’s foreign policy have laughed at Mitt Romney for warning of Russian geopolitical threats. Even before President Barack Obama asked Vladimir Putin’s flunky Dmitry Medvedev to “pass” his promise “to Vladimir” of “flexibility” in missile defense, the United States had canceled the sale of American missile defense systems. to our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic. Republic.
It was Obama who spent two years trying to kill Magnitsky Law. It was Obama who allowed Russia to operate with impunity in Syria to protect the prospects for the deal with Iran. It was Joe Biden, not Comrade Trump, who championed the “reset” and surrendered to Russia when it joined the World Trade Organization.
“President Obama made Russia’s accession to the WTO a top priority for US-Russian relations in 2011,” said the White House.
All of this was forgotten when the media decided that America’s democracy had been stolen by a handful of Facebook ads and Twitter bots. Over time, the Trump administration opened up the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine – including anti-tank missiles. It was President Donald Trump who restored sales of Patriot missile defense systems to Eastern Europe and continued to impose sanctions and other measures. It was Trump who refused to extend a unilateral arms control deal. Biden is now asking for a five-year extension.
Now it may be in Germany’s interest to build a gas pipeline and in our best interest to stay out of Europe’s energy decisions. I tend to think so. If Germany is comfortable getting fuel from a Russian kleptocracy, who are we, a nation now ready to empower the theocratic oil-producing regime in Iran, to teach it a lesson?
But we must not lose sight of the fact that not only does Nord Stream 2 enrich and strengthen Putin’s grip on power, it is also in direct contradiction to Biden’s assertion that the “climate crisis” is a major factor in the foreign policy of his administration. the decisions. The pipeline is likely to seriously compromise the ability of Germany, currently in the process of withdrawing from nuclear power, to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Then again, this deal, which Biden joined in one of his first acts as president, also benefits Russia, which will simply ignore impractical carbon emissions targets.
It’s also hard not to notice that the news of the waivers comes just a week after a cyberattack from Russia shut down the massive Colonial pipeline, leading to gas shortages and pipelines in the eastern United States. – for which Biden gave Putin absolution before anything major an investigation could have been carried out. It’s also the same president who shut down construction of our own Keystone XL pipeline, costing thousands of jobs.
The waivers were almost certainly aimed at easing tensions ahead of this week’s meeting in Iceland between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Yet reading the news coverage in the context of the last five years of Russian mania is a surreal experience. Trump, supposedly a Russian asset since 1987, must have been a supreme disappointment for the Kremlin.
There is no doubt that such an allocation from Trump would have been greeted with a wave of frantic bellowings from the conspirators who still populate cable news networks. They would have wondered aloud what kind of kompromat Putin had on Trump. Biden has said a lot of scathing things about Putin – calling him “evil” and “killer” (true and true) – but there is no evidence that his policies are harsher on Russia than Trump’s. In many ways, in fact, they seem less so.