Wag the dog: When Jürgen Trittin defended Nordstream 2

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BERLIN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 25: Greens Bundestag Member Juergen Trittin attends a party federal Congress of Alliance 90/The Greens on November 25, 2017, in Berlin, Germany. After coalition talks between Angela Merkel’s CDU party, its Bavarian sister party the CSU, the FDP and Greens failed, the latter is hoping of increasing its share of votes as the prospect of new elections looms. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

By Kalte Sonne

 by Peter Sommer

Nobody likes to get questionable statements on the sandwich. For the Green Jürgen Trittin, the ice ball that the German energy transition is supposed to cost a German budget a month has long been a running gag – but one that is becoming more bitter every day. Another nice find, however, is a Spiegel interview with Trittin from 2018. There may be reasons to justify the Nordstream 2 pipeline. Nordstream 1 has already been built with Trittin’s help. One of the reasons could simply be: The German energy transition cannot really work without gas, ideally very cheap gas, if you think further about the path of phasing out coal and nuclear energy. But these are not the reasons for Trittin to stand up for the project at the time.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Opponents of the pipeline criticize Nord Stream 2 for betraying the security policy interests of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Do you not care?

Trittin: The basic argument that one would make oneself dependent on the Russians is wrong. Pipeline gas leads to interdependence because the bond between producer and consumer is great. The producer is even more dependent if the consumer also has other sources. While Europe could easily switch to liquefied natural gas LNG from the USA or Qatar, Russia cannot easily change customers. For this they would have to build a new pipeline to China. That takes time.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Wouldn’t an energy boycott by Europe hit Russia’s ruling regime hard?

Trittin: Russia’s entire economic and political system is based on the export of fossil fuels. Depending on the estimate, up to two-thirds of the state budget is financed in this way. The idea that the Russian would turn off the gas tap out of juxtaposition and dollery is therefore absurd: the Kremlin would deliberately harm itself. Not even the Soviet Union did that during the Cold War.

Looking back, pretty much everything about his statements was wrong. In the further course, Trittin also lets us see through why he is, albeit somewhat teeth-gnashing, for Nordstream 2. It is ideology. Anyone who is still an ardent alt-leftist at heart is virtually anti-American by nature.

“SPIEGEL ONLINE: Grenell warns that the pipeline will “flow Russian influence to Europe.”

Trittin: Grenell behaves like a doorstep representative for American fracking gas. The situation is different with the Eastern Europeans. European solidarity applies: no Eastern European country can be blackmailed by Russia. That is guaranteed. Today, Europe has a common gas transmission network and the infrastructure for the so-called reverse flow, i.e. a thrust reversal in the lines to the east. And with the EUGAL pipeline in Eastern Germany, another building block for this security system would be added.”

Read the entire interview in Der Spiegel.

Why, no one knocks these statements around Trittin’s ears? The interview is absolutely worth reading afterwards.

Ambassador Grenell, Chancellor Merkel (archive)
 Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/ dpa