Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: WHAT SHOULD THE EU STRIVE TO ACHIEVE IN RELATIONS TO RUSSIA?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The EU needs to achieve a significant rapprochement with Russia while distancing itself from the US.
The Trump administration is openly hostile to European interests. It makes no bones about it’s desire to make America great at Europe’s – and everyone else’s -- expernse. Hands up. Hand me your wallet.
The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has repeatedly tried to bully Germany into refusing Russian gas at a very cheap price while buying expensive US LNG. This is a very unfair and unfriendly trading practice, particularly considering that the US imposed third-party sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline at a time when the project was almost completed. If the US had succeeded in stymying the project at this stage, the European companies involved would have lost billions. The administration’s flimsy excuse was that somehow buying Russian gas would make Europe less “energy secure” but buying extravagantly priced US LNG would be the appropriate remedy. This ridiculous argument was based on the old Cold War notion that Russia is the enemy of Europe. But even if this were true, and even if Russia were to apply undue political pressure on Europe using the pipeline as a bludgeon, a hub for US LNG could certainly be built in a reasonable time frame to enable Europe to cut the ties to Russia. But let’s get real. Are they more “energy secure” being strong-armed by the nuclear-armed US to buy US gas, which they can ill afford, than voluntarily buying cheap Russian gas?
What is worse, Bank of America just issued a dismal forecast calling for a “Gasmaggedon,” with gas prices falling below $2 MMBtu mark and below throughout 2020. This would add to the already existing troubles of US shale gas producers, who have been fighting a losing battle to stay afloat, as we reported here and here. But even before the more-recent spate of bankruptcies in US natural gas, I noticed in 2018 that since almost all the US energy is extracted from shale by the expensive fracking process, US energy was bound to be more expensive than energy from countries with traditional extraction processes and that it would be a miracle if US energy could compete successfully in the free market. This fact led to the US becoming the only country in the world using purely political means to bully other countries into buying its overpriced product. Trump was killing the free market and his “conservative” followers were calling that “great.”
Europe must also reject NATO’s insistence on the nonsense that Russia is an “enemy.” The only way to escape this unwanted pressure, leading to military exercises right at Russia’s border, is to eventually quit NATO and found a pan-European military alliance with ties to Russia. Russia is not the aggressor. The US is the aggressor. I explained this in detail at Quora.
As if on cue, the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement in early February that NATO’s provocations including the latest, dubbed Europe Defender, with NATO’s military drills scheduled on the eastern flank are increasingly more reminiscent of purposeful preparations for a large-scale military conflict. Moscow has promised to respond.
Here is why it is important for Europe to leave NATO:
The US pressure to buy US LNG and the pressure to pay more money to NATO are part of one and the same unfair trade strategy aimed at making the US richer and Europe poorer. NATO’s only raison d'être is money for the US, in the form of contributions to the alliance and purchases of US-made arms. Russian arms are cheaper and in many cases, superior.
Never before in US history has Washington so blatantly and openly bullied its allies in an undisguised effort to enrich itself at their expense.
The mask is off. So is the trust.