By Pepe Escobar
The twists and turns of the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) saga have yielded yet another stunning game-changer.
It started with Gazprom revealing that the Line B string of NS2 is intact; not only it escaped Pipeline Terror but may “potentially” be used to pump gas to Germany.
That confirms once again that NS2 is an engineering marvel. In fact the whole system: the pipes are so strong they were not broken, but merely punctured.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak followed up, with a caveat: restoration of the whole system, including NS, is possible, and “requires time and appropriate funds”. But first, in Russia’s order of priorities, the perpetrators must be conclusively identified.
Sources in Moscow confirmed Gazprom’s assessment of NS2. Even Bloomberg had to report it.
Subsequently in Vienna, attending the Opec+ meeting, Novak remarked the Russian Federation is “ready to supply gas through the second line of Nord Stream 2. This is possible if necessary”.
So we know it’s possible. “Necessary” will depend on a political decision by Germany.
Novak also sharply noted that neither Russia nor the Nord Stream operators are allowed to investigate Pipeline Terror. Russia insists that without its participation the investigation is flawed.
Whatever the modus operandi of Pipeline Terror, incompetence was part of the package. No explosive charges were placed or detonated on Line B of NS2.
That means, as Novak said, it’s virtually ready for business. Line B is capable of pumping 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year, which happens to be half of the total capacity of NS.
NS’s capacity had been reduced to 20%, due to the interminable turbine saga, before it was completely shut down. Crucially, Line B of NS2 would still pump 2.75 times the capacity of the recently inaugurated Baltic Pipe from Norway to Poland via Denmark. Which basically profits Poland, unlike NS2 servicing several EU customers.
NATO investigates NATO
In a rational world, Berlin would scrap the Russian sanctions pile up and immediately order the start of forever-delayed NS2, guaranteed to at least attenuate the ongoing process of de-energization, de-industrialization and deep socio-economic crisis imposed by the usual suspects on Germany.
But the collective West remains enslaved by geopolitical psychopaths guided by irrationality. So that’s not likely to happen.
For starters, the “investigation” of how Pipeline Terror happened feels like Kafka rewritten by NATO.
The operators of NS and NS2 – Nord Stream AG and Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG - cannot reach the scene of the crime because of absurd restrictions imposed by the Danes and the Swedes. The operators need no less than 20 working days to obtain the “permits” to carry out their own inspections.
Copenhagen police is handling the crime scene near the Danish exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in parallel to the Swedish Coast Guard around the Swedish EEZ.
If this looks like one of those Scandinavian noir series popular on Netflix, that’s because it is. With a crucial twist: it’s NATO investigating itself – Sweden is about to enter NATO – with no Russians allowed. All top working hypotheses on Pipeline Terror point to an intra-NATO dirty op against NATO member Germany.
So any disturbing evidence pointing to NATO actors may conveniently “disappear” or be tampered with during these long 20 days necessary for the “permits” to be issued.
Meanwhile, the consequences of the energy war imposed by the US on Europe against Russia will keep piling up, and cost the EU up to a whopping 1.6 trillion euros, according to a report by Yakov & Partners, the former division of McKinsey in Russia.
Considering a NS2-deprived EU plus non-stop rising energy prices on the spot market, the EU GDP may decrease by as much as 11.5% (1.7 trillion euros), with about 16 million people thrown into unemployment.
EU gas storage at current high levels (90%) does not mean having enough gas for the winter. Total gas storage amounts to about 90 days of demand. The EU could easily be out of gas by March or even earlier at the current pace of just a trickle of gas flowing.
This means that the EU will have to cut gas consumption by at least 20% overall. And never forget that imported Norwegian or American gas is ridiculously more expensive than fixed-contract Russian gas.
The Return of the Morgenthau Plan
The sanctions dementia never stops though. The G7, in three subsequent stages, will target Russian crude, diesel and naphtha, according to the US Treasury. They still insist on an oil price cap - which neither Russia nor several Global South customers will follow.
The Big Picture remains the same. Pipeline Terror was a desperate gambit to keep Germany from concluding a sanctions carve-out for the Nord Streams with Russia.
A secret channel of negotiation was in effect. It’s enlightening to consider that all previous actions by Berlin and Moscow, delaying and restricting the gas flow, were carried out to keep the Empire from following through on its threat of terminating NS2.
Then the Empire made its move.
From Moscow’s point of view, that changes nothing in the Grand Chessboard. The Kremlin has manipulated Washington’s absolute desperation in refusing to admit to the greatest foreign policy debacle since Vietnam; the Russians meanwhile keep pursuing the objectives of the Special Military Operation (SMO), which is about to metastasize into a Counter-Terrorist Operation (CTO).
As it stands, Moscow is not affected by the interconnected energy, fuel and resource crises coupled with immense, worldwide supply chain disruptions.
Russians are essentially bemused spectators contemplating the slowdown of industrial production in the eurozone coupled with capital outflows, the rise of inflation and the about-to-explode social protests.
There’s a dangerous window for irrational imperial actions from now to the G20 next month in Bali. Afterwards we will have a completely different ball game, not only in the Ukrainian battlefields but mostly across a mired in distress EU.
The Morgenthau Plan after WWII was concocted to literally starve Germany to death via the destruction of the Ruhr coalmines. It's strikingly similar to the Straussian plan by American neocon psychos to cut Germany off from Russian natural gas by bombing NS and NS2.
The first Morgenthau Plan would have led to the deindustrialization of Germany. According to Clause 3, the entire Ruhr "should not only be stripped of all…existing industries but so weakened and controlled that it cannot for the foreseeable future become an industrial area.”
The ending of Germany as an industrial state would have created massive, permanent unemployment affecting 30 million people, according to Henry Stimson, the US Secretary of War. Morgenthau's response was that the surplus population could be dumped on North Africa.
US intel was very much aware of the rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow. Striking NS and NS2 was the signature gambit of the Morgenthau Plan remixed by the Straussian/neocon combo.
Yet it ain’t over till the Wagnerian lady sings. No need for Gotterdammerung: Germany may have its own destiny on its hands after all. Just turn on the switch on NS2.
Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.
(The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)