Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Nord Streams

You know about the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines: we can safely conclude they were sabotaged. Commander Salamander discusses it, and in the comments one finds that many people blame the US--not surprisingly, given Biden's -- shall we say ill-considered? -- remarks.

Trying to figure out why is a bit harder.

Russia already had them shut down, so what could they gain by breaking them? They could get credibility as a "we can do more than just this without going nuclear" as someone suggested at that link above, or demonstrate a bit of Stenka Razin-esque resolve (I won't let any benefits or joys distract me from the fight!)--but only if it is known that they did it.

I don't quite see how the US benefits, though there are factions here or in Germany eager to make permanent dents in hydrocarbon use--it's really scary if they've run amok. The pipelines aren't that deep; non-state actors could have done it. But I don't think Biden's handlers would let him actually damage the pipelines.

Ukraine, to try to damage Russian interests long-term--but these things can be fixed, and on the time-scale of the war would be if Russia cared to.

I'm missing something here. Maybe the internal factions have more freedom of action than I suspect.

UPDATE: The pipes involved are fascinating.

UPDATE2: I was out of town for a bit when this came up. An unmaintained gas pipeline with dropping pressure on one side can be a time bomb--and tinkering with it carelessly can trigger problems. So, maybe we can't safely conclude sabotage.

1 comment:

Christopher B said...

I think plausible deniability also leans towards the Russians as most likely. The Russians could only pretend to shut down the pipelines 'for maintenance and inspection' for so long but officially announcing they were closed until NATO stops aiding Ukraine, which I think to this point has only been strongly implied, would seem to be a significant escalation. The improvident statements by the current administration have aided the Russians in obfusticating responsibility but the blowback on the US if we did it and the Germans found out would be earthshaking. There are reports from outside the usual regime-friendly media that there are significant protests in Germany demanding negotiation with the Russians to get the gas flowing again, and they would turn anti-American in a flash.