North Stream 2, the EU & Multipolarity
In the end of October 2019, The Danish government chose to go against the interests of Washington D.C. when they gave permission to Russian Gazprom to build the North Stream 2 natural gas pipeline through its waters. This change in attitude could be linked to the change in government that Denmark had earlier this year when the centre-right coalition (liberal-conservative with a foreign policy view in line with American neo-conservatism) lost to the now ruling centre-left coalition made up of primarily socialist parties.
From a geopolitical perspective the creation of this pipeline which will create a direct energy resource link between Germany and Russia, thus bringing these historically tellucratic powers closer together, is very positive. The EU therefore stands to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the USA which seems to be losing more and more influence among its European allies. This is also a positive step in the direction of Multipolarity and more independent and sovereign actions taken by the EU in this direction can only be welcomed as long as good relations between its great civilizational neighbours are being fostered.
Russian President Vladimir Putin came out to praise the decision in a similar tone: ““We welcome this decision,” […] “Denmark has proved itself as a responsible participant of the international communication, defending its interests and its sovereignty, (as well as) interests of its main partners in Europe that are interested in diversification of deliveries of Russian hydrocarbons.” (Jacobsen: 30 Oct 2019)
Furthermore it removes the Ukraine from the centre of focus in terms of being a strategically important actor standing between the EU and Russian energy cooperation. The EU and Russia will therefore be able to find more common ground, as opposed to zero-sum American economic interest, in the Ukraine and possibly be able to open a more nuanced dialog between all involved parties. Germany has pointed out that they would only agree to North Stream 2 if Gazprom would continue to deliver gas through the Ukraine (ibid.) which again shows a spirit of good faith in regards to finding a solution to the benefit of all.
The USA has already responded aggressively to the prospect of energy cooperation between the EU and Russia on several occasions. The U.S. Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, has already made it clear that they intend to sanction all the European businesses involve in the building of this project (Kruse: 21 May 2019). This threat has materialized in a bill which has passed a U.S. Senate committee in July this year but still has to make it to the full chamber (Jacobsen: 30 Oct 2019). Whether this bill aims to sanction only European companies involved in the building project, Russia, or both still remains to be seen; but the fact that the EU (notably Denmark) chose to allow the construction of the pipeline despite these threats is very positive.
A world order based on Multipolarity is slowly rising and the more of a vacuum created by American withdrawal in international affairs the faster the civilizational blocs will be able to strengthen, consolidate and mature. The EU seems to be on its way and it will be interesting to follow the developments in this direction in the future.
Jacobsen, Stine. Soldatkin, Vladimir. “North Stream 2 clears major hurdle as Denmark OKs gas pipeline” Reuters Business News. Reuters 30 October 2019. Web. 26 November 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gazprom-nordstream-2/nord-stream-2-clears-major-hurdle-as-denmark-oks-gas-pipeline-idUSKBN1X91KR
Kruse, Simon. “Trump vil kvæle russiske gasdrømme - og tyske protester - med nye sanktioner i Østersøen” Berlingske Internationalt. Berlingske 21 May 2019. Web. 25 May 2019.