The meeting of the defence ministers of the Pentagon’s Ukraine Defence Contact Group in the “Ramstein” format in Brussels on January 14 failed to make any major announcement on the supply of offensive weapons to Kiev.
But the U.S. President Joe Biden is expected in Poland early next week and may have another face-to-face meeting with Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky. Biden probably intends to make a splash before declaring his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election.
The Biden Administration hopes to push Germany to the war front in Ukraine but the meeting in Brussels ended up inconclusively. Later, the press conference by the U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had an air of vacuity, of empty-headedness, devoid of content.
Against this murky backdrop, all that the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg would say was that the supply of military aircraft to Ukraine is being discussed, but this is not an urgent problem. According to him, the current conflict is a “struggle of logistics” and ammunition, so the alliance needs not so much to provide Ukraine with new weapons, as to make sure that everything that has already been delivered works. Stoltenberg stressed the need to deliver on the promises regarding German Marder infantry fighting vehicles, American Bradley, as well as Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks.
The single biggest announcement by Austin on Tuesday was about a decision by the Norwegian government that it will provide 7.5 billion euros in military and civilian assistance to Ukraine over the coming five years. He called it “a very significant commitment.”
Austin pretended it never occurred to him why Norway is making such a grand gesture, which is in reality a pathetic act of atonement for destroying the Nord Stream gas pipelines. Therein hangs a tale.
Of course, the Ramstein meeting did not discuss the bombshell report by Seymour Hersh, an investigative journalist with a track record of breaking major stories, on how the U.S. reduced Germany’s Nord Stream gas pipelines to “a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea”–to borrow the immortal words of Victoria Nuland, U.S. Undersecretary of State–as the conflict in Ukraine was raging.
According to Hersh’s source, the decision to sabotage the pipeline came directly from President Biden and the subsequent top secret debate within the U.S. administration lasting some 9 months was on how to achieve the goal without getting caught.
Hersh’s report on February 8 disclosed wrote that it was the Norwegian navy which finally found the optimal location for blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. Thus, on September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane dropped a sonar buoy in a seemingly routine flight, triggering high-powered C4 explosives that had been planted on the pipelines.
Hersh has since explained to the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung that Norway was particularly interested in successfully pulling off the plot against the Nord Stream pipelines.
In his words,
Norway was interested in income growth, and hence in increasing the volume of its energy supplies to the EU, to the same Germany. And what do we see after the mission? Norway has made it. It’s (energy) exports grew against the backdrop of significant hostility towards Russia.
Norway was attracted to Biden’s sabotage project like a fly to the honeypot, since it stood to gain fabulously in financial terms if it helped the U.S. military to destroy Nord Stream pipelines near Danish waters, and replace Russia as Germany’s principal source of piped natural gas.
To be sure, Norway has made a kill. The loot is estimated to be worth over $100 billion so far! Norway supplied 33 percent of Germany’s gas needs in 2022, making it the country’s largest supplier.
Experts estimate that “Norway’s position as a key provider of energy to Germany is set to further increase in the years to come, including from new Arctic fields coming on line and new discoveries above the Arctic Circle… Expanded production above the Arctic Circle, arriving from the Irpa field 340 km west of Bodø scheduled to come online in 2026, as well as new discoveries in the Barents Sea including one made in 2022 adjacent to Goliat, will be key to maintaining peak production.
With Germany largely disconnected from Russian pipeline gas, the door for Norway to further expand its market share and establish itself as the country’s primary gas supplier remains open.
Ironically, at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in August 2022, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre claimed that “Norway delivers as much gas as possible to Germany.” Of course, what he didn’t tell Scholz was that Norway was about to execute a project to transform Germany, Europe’s largest consumer of natural gas, as a captive market for it very soon. Actually, Norway blew up the Nord Stream pipelines only a month later on September 22.
Norway is now burnishing its image as a rich country capable of the milk of human kindness, which is generously sharing a whopping 7.5 billion euros (out of the windfall profit of $100 billion from the German loot) with Ukraine. And Austin announces it as a grand gesture to thwart Russian “aggression”!
This sordid pantomime provokes an incredulous gasp. One cannot but take pity on the German nation which is saddled in these tumultuous times with a mediocre government of inexperienced, dubious politicians who dare not defend their country’s core interests against American bullying.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was spot on when he spoke at length for the first time about the Nord Stream pipelines and Seymour Hersh’s article at a working meeting on February 15 with heads of foreign media bureaus accredited in Russia:
The main goal was to prevent Germany from feeling comfortable in the energy sphere and from receiving gas via these two pipelines, which were financed by companies in Russia, Germany, Austria and Italy… Germany has not simply been humiliated; it has been put in its place as a satellite of the United States…
Norway is not squeamish about giving away a tiny portion of its loot from Germany, a NATO partner Germany. Maybe, it is indulging in an act of atonement over a fiendish crime perpetrated on a neighbour and ally. Maybe, the Biden team urged Norway to burnish its credentials as a Good Samaritan. And Austin hailed it as a solid outcome of the Ramstein meeting at Brussels.