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one gato's thoughts on recent pipeline events
as many of you likely saw, both the nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines suffered catastrophic pressure drops yesterday. the simple fact is that they both appear to be functionally gone. they are venting gas in mile wide undersea eruptions and appear flooded with salt water. this happened to both on the same day.
i see almost no plausible manner in which to ascribe this to accident.
this appears to be an attack and long time gatopal™ eugyppius provides good detail and assessment here:
as well as this link to the evidence that powerful explosions were detected at the same time as the pressure drops.
the question of who would do this and why seems poignant and so i’d like to put my (admittedly speculative) 2c in on this:
it was the US.
what makes me think so? simple crime solving: motive, means, and opportunity.
the US had clear means and opportunity. our special ops and or simple submarine capability is more than up to this task and blowing up a pipeline in 60-70m of water while creating a reconstruction nightmare, would be a “day at the office” style task for them.
hell, we’ve even practiced just this thing with just this equipment in just the neighborhood where this happened.
here’s a map of bornholm for those not familiar.
so, we’re already into quite a lot of circumstantial suspicion.
but what about motive? clearly, this is a power move that dramatically realigns the chessboard going so far as to sweep a number of pieces onto the floor. but whom does it benefit?
not russia, that’s for sure. russia is suddenly on the back foot in ukraine and losing territory and face at a rapid rate. lines broke, casualties are high, and this new call up of barely trained conscripts is going to be catastrophic. they are neither prepared nor equipped for this. the newly enlisted are getting walked into a wood chipper and further losses are just going to weaken the russian position. they want to get this thing to the negotiating table and get a ceasefire/standstill/peace in place.
but if you are losing militarily, you must find other leverage. i suspect this is why they cut off the gas. they want to dangle its return as a carrot for europe (and especially germany as ring leader) to “give peace a chance” and end this conflict before the russian military is embarrassed further to the point where it starts to threaten putin.
they already have several regional conflicts kicking off and going hot within their own regions as this pinning down of forces and display of weakness lets “caucasus belli” kick off in republic after republic and armenians and azerbaijanis return to pummeling one another and the chechens get frisky.
russia almost certainly has had about enough of ukraine, but this really pins them in place. they no longer have the ability to bribe their way out with offers of rapid return to normal. it sticks them in a fight that looks like a loser.
germany similarly seems ill served by this. it takes alternatives off the table and leaves them at real risk if the energy situation gets bad this winter. you’re kind of kicking yourself in the groin and with an economy stumbling, big plants reliant on cheap energy closing, and a producer price index that is starting to look, no exaggeration, like something from weimar (+46% year on year at last read) one can see why having the option might be appealing.
one can also see why others might be questioning the resolve of germany to remain steadfast in sanctions that are burying the bundesrepublik but affecting russia little might come into question.
taking the “turn the gas back on” option off the table entirely (and possibly permanently) seems far too radical and limiting a move even for radical german greens and while this attack was easy pickin’s for a major navy, it’s well outside the reach of the “chain yourself to the nuke plant” crowd. there does, however, remain the possibility that this is german government acting to preserve itself (and against the interests of the demos) by eliminating the “vote right, get the power back on” option form the menu (more on this in a minute) but hard to see them doing this on their own as opposed to just supporting the US.
one could argue that this is good for ukraine, as it keeps a capitulation/peace from ending what looks to be a push toward territorial recapture and keeps the money spigots open, but i find the idea that they did it difficult to credit. i not only doubt that they have the capability, but even if they did, can anyone actually believe that they would do this absent permission from the US who is basically funding and supplying their campaign? because i find that impossible to conceive.
it might benefit china by keeping the cheap gas flowing east instead of west, but i just cannot see them projecting that kind of power into the baltic. they are just not crazy enough to kick a hornet’s nest like this and the risks in the event of discovery are so outlandishly dire that i just don’t see this as a serious idea. why take such a reckless gamble when this is already working out for you and others are likely to do it for you.
i have seen exactly zero from xi that leads me to believe that would be his style.
and that really leaves just the US who is backing the ukraine, starting to see success, and seems to have a strong inclination toward keeping this war going and of regime change in russia in classic american “let’s create a vacuum and then leave the mess to be a mess” fashion.
this locks europe in place for the fight, right where the US needs them and locks russia in as well. the neocon desire for a fewer polar world has long been a centerpiece of their ideas and they are very deep in the tent with the obiden admin on ukraine. giving the world a grand show of the ukraine defeating russian regulars with 30 year old US weapons is a serious power move for aspiring world policemen anxious to re-establish cred post afghan debacle.
it isolates and weakens russia, pulls the republics out of its valence, puts them into play as possible allies and oil sources, and disconnects russia from europe, possibly for good.
and perhaps most interesting, it sure looks like we basically made this threat back in feb before this all kicked off. it’s never quite explicit, but “ if russia invades… there will no longer be a nordstream 2, we will bring an end to it” is not exactly subtle either.
that’s quite a specific scenario, joe has a funny habit of accidentally telling the truth when pulled off script, and now that no gas was coming to the EU from it anyway and it blowing it up did not actually amount to turning off the power, this sure seems like the time when it suddenly would have been on the menu.
so, that’s my case for “the US probably dunnit.” it’s difficult to imagine that there will ever be a public smoking gun here, so i suspect “plausible suspicion” is going to be about as well as we ever do.
if indeed the US did do this, it represents quite a significant escalation of hostilities and a very aggressive play against our allies as well though likely one in accord with the desires of their elites. i can easily imagine a scenario where the german leadership are terrified about getting ousted by a right wing a la sweden or italy and the greatest risk they face this winter would seem to be the opportunity to flank them by saying “i’ll negotiate with russia and get the gas back on” and having cold people who want the lights and factories back on jump at the chance.
and so maybe this elicits action (or at least) acquiescence in euro capitals who want to be sure that they can keep control of the “who the bad guys are” narrative. one could easily see collusion here where threatened politicians in germany and others and the EC atop them might all be supportive of this. it might even be one of the “tools” to which ursula was making oblique reference.
and there are a few warning signs flashing:
this seems to be a very “anti-russia” move if the goal is to lock russia into a conflict that’s going against them, deny the EU access to fossil fuels from them (and possibly at all), and to put some new shine on tarnished “world cop” credentials while aiming for regime change and extended republic dissolution in russia.
a dangerous game to be sure and one with some very aggressive components with potential for both abuse and escalation (especially if this is a means to effectively disenfranchise euro electorates on energy policy as you never know what kind of backlash that can set off.)
the whole thing kind of reeks of davos and the gang that has been so active here all along. it has the destructive, entitled, manipulative signature for which they are so justifiably notorious.
my odds on bet is this all leads back there and that the US acted as prime mover in support of it.
but, as i said, this is speculation.
are these red pills or crazy pills?
very interested to hear some other ideas and alternate explanations.