Russia’s Pipeline Dreams Advance

The Wall Street Journal is running an article today on the efforts by Moscow to advance the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines against the U.S. and Brussels-backed option to get the Nabucco built.  While the Obama Administration has been pursuing the “reset,” it seems like nothing is off the table… and this change of strategy on the energy politics could prove disastrous for long term interests and Eastern European democracy.  They may as well inform the Poles and Czechs that they are now part of Russia’s sphere of influence.

“We don’t want to have a highly politicized, ‘us vs. them’ discussion with the Russians,” Richard Morningstar, the U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy, said in an interview. “We want to engage with Russia constructively. They are and will continue to be an important player in world energy markets.”  (…)

While U.S. officials say Nord Stream is now unstoppable, they say South Stream may never see the light of day. There have been no feasibility studies, the final route is still undetermined, and it is still unclear where gas for the pipeline will come from. Many question whether the project is commercially viable. But the U.S. no longer criticizes either Nord Stream or South Stream publicly.

Just a year ago, Michael Wood, then the U.S. ambassador to Sweden,urged Stockholm to “take a hard look” at Nord Stream, writing in anewspaper opinion piece that it represented a “special arrangementbetween Germany and Russia” at a time when Europe should forge a unitedenergy policy.

He urged Europe to work with countries in Central Asia to “developan energy infrastructure outside the Kremlin’s control.” Germany issuedan official protest to Washington over the article.