Nord Stream 2 Provided Opportunity to Secure Peace in Europe - Ex-US Lawmaker
22:00 GMT 25.08.2022 (Updated: 21:19 GMT 19.10.2022)
WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project was a good way to secure peace in Europe through mutual dependence, former Virginia State Senator Richard Black told Sputnik.
"They keep saying that Russia is going to blackmail Europe and force them to do their bidding because they'll cut off the gas. Well, that's not true at all, because Russia needs the revenue from the gas just as much as Europe needs the gas," Black said. "So, it was actually a good way to secure peace in Europe by making different countries mutually dependent on one another."
Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline project with a capacity to carry 55 billion cubic meters per year, enabling gas transit from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany. The pipeline's construction lasted for three years and was completed in 2021. However, in response to the special operation in Ukraine, Western countries imposed a series of sanctions on Russia, with Germany halting certification of the ready-to-operate Nord Stream 2.
"I think Nord Stream 2 was one of the greatest industrial developments of recent times," Black stated. "There's nothing particularly technologically new in the pipeline. But it was very well constructed and it was a very secure channel between Russia and Germany, where you didn't have all sorts of political interference with the travel of gas to Germany."
Black underscored that Russia has been an enormously reliable supplier of gas.
During his visit to Kiev on Tuesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda called for a "complete dismantling" of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
"I think with Poland, unfortunately, they're trying to break any relations, good relations between Germany and Russia," Black said in response to Duda's comments. "I think there's no reason that Russia and Germany should not be the closest of allies, and France too. Poland has its own axes to grind... there's sort of a militaristic tint to what they're doing these days. That kind of leaves one uneasy, but the idea that they would go out and destroy Russia's pipeline is a very hostile, very war-like thing, and certainly, the Nord Stream 2 should not be dismantled."
US companies, he added, would love to sell the gas and see their competition cut off.
"But no one can supply gas to Europe as cheaply as Russia and as reliably as Russia. So I think if the Germans ever wake up, they will realize that much of their economy is dependent on a good supply of Russian commodities and Russia and Germany are very important to one another, and they really should have the best possible relations," he said.
NATO Not Dissolving With Warsaw Pact One of History's Greatest Tragedies
Black believes that instead of dismantling the alliance, the West decided to maintain this tremendous bureaucracy of people and justify their existence by creating an illusion that Russia was a generic substitute for the Soviet Union.
"I was stationed in Western Germany during the early 80s. I was with Army units that were part of NATO," Black said. "At the time, NATO was a defensive alliance. On the other hand, on the Soviet side, you had the Warsaw Pact. I had no problem with NATO at that point. I thought it was doing what it should do. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, and that was in 1991. I think one of the great tragedies of Western civilization is that NATO did not dissolve at the same time as the Warsaw Pact."
25 August 2022, 07:48 GMT
"In the ashes of the Soviet Union, arose the Russian Federation, and it was a very chaotic time," Black said, stressing that Russia wanted to be closer to the West and have good relations. "They changed. It used to be that the old Soviet Union was officially atheists. Now you have Russia as one of the stalwarts of Christianity in Europe. Russia went from being a communist economy to where it's very much a capitalist type of economy. So, there was a totally different environment."
They were able to create the illusion and sell this idea to the American and European people to continue arming and began the relentless march eastward.
Black thinks that the West and Moscow could have signed a treaty to make the territory between Germany and Russia a neutral demilitarized area, something like Austria during the Cold War.
NATO has become a very counterproductive organization, he added, that has gone from being a purely defensive organization to being a rather vicious offensive power.
"They supported the unprovoked invasion of Libya. They've supported the unprovoked attack into Syria. NATO supported the attack on Serbia, which was certainly unprovoked," Black said. "It really turned sour. It was a positive force at one time in the distant past. And now it has become a very destabilizing element in foreign affairs."
Black warned that anytime NATO approaches the Russian border, they increase the chances of "inadvertently triggering a thermonuclear war.”
"It won't be because of Russia. It will because of the United States and NATO, and I think it's a very, very bad thing," he said. "I really didn't favor moving NATO to the east at all, even the very first countries that were involved. I had great misgivings because I was able to foresee that there was a change in philosophy and that NATO would become more and more threatening."