M. Rubin: “The US should blow up the Turkish Stream just like they did with Nord Stream 1 and 2”

One of the most famous Washington “hawks” among the US Democratic Party, Michael Rubin, in his article in the National Interest, said that the undermining of the Nord Stream was carried out by the Americans on the orders of President Joe Biden,

and demands that the US also strike the Turkish Stream pipeline, which transports Russian natural gas, “to guarantee transatlantic energy solidarity.” According to him, “Biden should show the Turkish energy corridors the same attitude that he ultimately gave Nord Stream 2, and for the same reasons.”

It should be noted that Michael Rubin also has links to US decision makers and the website National Interest, which has direct access to US intelligence services. The following is an article by Michael Rubin, who has helped shape the foreign policy of the US Democratic Party for many years.

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When Russian Gazprom and its European partners announced plans to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would bring Russian gas directly to Germany, the eight members of the European Union (EU) and the Obama administration opposed. They understood that the operation of Nord Stream 2 would give the Kremlin leverage over Europe, as well as isolate Ukraine, which remains dependent on external sources of energy. The condemnation did little to slow down the project. Germany craved gas without regard to strategic costs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had little patience for such a position. He realized that a greater dependence on Russian gas would make the West vulnerable and therefore lifted sanctions from it. Nord Stream 2 stalled until President Joe Biden lifted sanctions on the logic that ending objections to Germany’s pet project would restore U.S. relations with Europe and promote a transatlantic partnership against China. As Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) perceptively pointed out, the Kremlin will see the lifting of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 as a green light for aggression.

While Biden now understands the fallacy of increasing Russia’s share of the European energy sector, he does not seem to see the broader lesson. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration canceled commitments made under Trump to support the Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed) pipeline, ostensibly because the State Department deemed it uneconomical.

There are three problems with this justification: First, private sector assessments matter more than diplomats with no business experience or financial interest in the project. Second, while pipelines through Turkey may be cheaper if they only carry gas, the EastMed pipeline, which would bring gas from Israel and Cyprus to Europe, bypassing Russia, Turkey and Iran, could also support Cypriot green hydrogen fuel developments. A larger initial investment provides longer-term benefits. Finally, while Turkey threatens an aggressive war against Greece, a NATO member, Biden ignores the danger of replacing one dictator with another.

It’s time to change the situation. The bipartisan Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 states: “It is in the national security interest of the United States to promote, achieve, and maintain energy security among and through cooperation with allies.” He approved the construction of the EastMed pipeline and other energy infrastructure facilities to Europe; called on Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the US to strengthen partnerships and cooperation in energy production; directed the Department of Energy to establish the US-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center in the United States to further research into innovative energy technologies and water science. The Euro-Asian Interconnector, the world’s longest submarine power cable, is already under construction and will link Israel’s power grid to Europe. Unlike the corridors currently being promoted by Turkey, the interconnector is a multi-purpose, pluggable infrastructure capable of receiving electricity generated in various ways and from various sources. It meets the criteria of climate change progressives.

Part of the strategic wisdom of the Vostok-Med partnership lies in its “carrot and stick” approach. He pushed the State Department to support the US partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum, while excluding Turkey as long as it remains an autocratic and destabilizing force in the region, an approach that the State Department has shied away from in the name of promoting inclusiveness. This ties Ankara’s reforms to financial gain rather than rewarding defiance. As ExxonMobil continues to find significant gas reserves off the coast of Cyprus, the State Department’s efforts to give Turkey a say in Cypriot gas are counterproductive for two reasons. First, it legitimizes Turkey’s maritime claims and its illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus. Secondly, it encourages continued irredentism towards Greece, signaling that stubbornness is more than truth in illegal land grabs.

Today, Turkish officials boast that they will double the transit of gas and oil to Europe. Ironically, they plan to do this by laundering Russian hydrocarbon investments, supporting the Azerbaijani dictatorship, and empowering Iran.

The simple fact is that any new or expanded TurkStream is just as bad an idea as Nord Stream. It encourages both Turkey and Azerbaijan, regimes dissatisfied with life within their borders, and makes European democracies susceptible to blackmail by hostile regimes.

The first consideration for new energy projects in the Mediterranean should be that they do no harm to the United States and its allies. Biden should give trans-Turkish energy corridors the same treatment he ultimately gave Nord Stream 2, and for the same reasons.



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