News & Politics

Biden's Inexplicable Gift to Vladimir Putin

(Stefan Sauer/dpa via AP, file)

Is Joe Biden a Russian asset? If he isn’t, Old Joe needs another cognitive test to make sure he knows he’s supposed to be playing for our side.

Joe Biden handed Russian President Vladimir Putin an 8 billion-euro gift when he grandly waived sanctions on the company that’s building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Those sanctions, imposed by Congress in 2019, pretty much sounded the death knell for the project, which would have doubled the Russian capacity to sell natural gas to western and northern Europe. Work on the project was hampered by companies not wanting to be sanctioned by the U.S. for building the pipeline.

Enter Joe Biden with a lifeline for Putin — and the monopolistic Russian energy companies building the project. Putin had staked a lot of prestige on finishing the pipeline. Thank God for Joe Biden, right Vlad?

Wall Street Journal:

While the Biden Administration wants to target Russian ships working on the nearly complete pipeline, the company running the project and its CEO won’t face sanctions. State will recognize that Nord Stream 2 AG and its leader—a former East German intelligence officer—deserve to be sanctioned. Yet restrictions on a Putin crony will be waived in the name of “U.S. national interests.” This is the kind of move that prompted the media to assert that Donald Trump must be a Russian agent.

The decision suggests Mr. Biden doesn’t want to blow up his relationship with the German government, which strongly supports the pipeline. But this gets it backward. The project generates bipartisan opposition in the U.S., and in April the European Parliament called for it to be stopped. Germans have the responsibility to avoid damaging relations with Washington and the rest of the Continent.

As my colleague Bryan Preston wrote on May 18:

Again, who’s the Russian stooge in the White House? The president who made America energy independent and always prioritized America’s interests around the globe, or the president who returned America to energy dependence, killed an international pipeline that would have benefited America and Canada, cut American energy production, and then empowered Putin?

The WSJ calls it “geopolitical malpractice.” Indeed, Putin’s big win will tie Germany even closer to Moscow, and make much of western Europe more dependent on Russia for its energy needs. It will also enrich Putin personally as it’s believed he’s heavily invested in the pipeline. It will also enhance his stature on the continent.

Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. That was a campaign debt he owed special interest groups that saw the pipeline as making America more energy independent. At a time when Biden claims to want to wean America from fossil fuels by 2050, it’s strange that he would empower America’s enemy to grow stronger while he weakens the U.S.

Maybe Biden is, indeed, a Russian asset.