The Nord Stream: Before the war, Europe heavily relied on cheap Russian oil. Germany sought to increase that reliance through the Nord Stream, a pair of pipelines that would send oil directly from Russia to Germany without outside intermediaries.
America fought the Nord Stream until the end. Why? America feared that Russia could use the pipeline as a political weapon—halting gas flow as leverage. They also saw that the pipeline would’ve strengthened and normalized relations between Europe and rival Russia. For those reasons, the U.S. attempted to prevent the pipeline's completion through sanctions and diplomatic efforts and then vowed never to let it operate.
Both Nord Stream pipelines were attacked yesterday, causing leaks and preventing future operations for now. Sweden’s National Seismology Centre said, “there is no doubt that these were explosions.” Most major geopolitical entities agree that sabotage is likely.
Who did it?
- European nations, united against Russia, are blaming Russia, saying it would be an excuse for Russia to escalate the war. Those pushing back against these claims cite Russia’s heavy investments into the pipelines and the pipelines’ opportunity for regional influence, making self-sabotage unlikely.
- Critics and commentators like Tucker Carlson are scrutinizing America’s role. They cite America’s past efforts and promises to sabotage the pipelines. Others say that America’s role is unlikely, considering the CIA warned Germany of sabotage efforts weeks ago.
Big picture: We likely won’t know which nation is to blame. Still, the sabotage of the Nord Stream marks a global escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war.