In late September 2018 — four years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine — the American President gave a speech, a prescient and foretelling speech, at the United Nations in which he cautioned the German nation not to become dependent upon Russia for its energy needs.
In that speech the American President said:
Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states, such as Poland, for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.
He was referring to the completion of NordStream II and the continuing operation of NordStream I.
Here is a complete transcript of what I believe to be that President’s best international speech. It was, in retrospect, the high point of his tenure and is worthy of your review.
Chancellor Merkel stubs her toes and Germany suffers
At this time, Germany was ruled by Angela Merkel, its Chancellor. She was the leader from 2005 until 2021, an extraordinarily long term for any leader, especially a German leader though a knowledgeable reader points out the Germans have had other leaders of similar tenure — Adenauer and Kohl.
Germany, of course, has the largest economy in Europe and is a critical trading partner for many countries — including Russia — with its exports of machine goods amongst other things.
Merkel was the first woman to serve in that position which also made her the de facto head of the European Union which turns out to be a critical fact in the current energy crisis in Europe. With few exceptions, Europe followed Germany’s lead with Poland being a notable exception.
During her tenure as the longest serving incumbent leader within the European Union, Germany made the following critical decisions:
1. She agreed to both NordStream I and II, gas pipelines from Russia to Germany.
NordStream I provides almost half of all German natural gas, a critical commodity for the German economy and for general energy use.
NordStream II was completed, but never commissioned due to the sanctions leveled against Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
2. Chancellor Merkel oversaw the dismantling of the German nuclear power infrastructure and a shift toward green policies including renewables.
Four years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the American President warned the Germans not to become dependent upon Russia for energy. Now, the Russians have turned off NordStream I and the Germans are acting surprised.
The Germans laughed at the American President when he warned them not to become dependent upon Russian largesse for their energy needs. Now, that this warning has become a harsh reality, the Germans act surprised as Putin weaponizes the Russian energy supply to Germany. Surprised!
Here is a link to a Washington Post article showing the German delegation laughing.
The big difference today is Germany has dismantled its nuclear power infrastructure — they are exploring how to recommission some of their shuttered nukes, but it doesn’t look good — and the Russians have done what the American President predicted they would do: turn off the tap and leave Germany to face a cold winter with inadequate energy supplies to heat their homes and run their industry.
This was completely avoidable. Thanks, Angela. WTF did you think the Russians were going to do?
The Russians have graciously offered to open the tap if Germany will lift the Russian sanctions enacted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Stay tuned because the Germans will crack.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. God bless you, Germany.