American Sanctions Bite Europe Yet Again

Stefan Sauer/DPA via ZUMA

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With a sparkling new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany nearly finished, US sanctions have brought construction to a halt with only 160 kilometers left to go. Germans are pissed:

The U.S.’s move sparked outrage in Germany, prompting senior officials and politicians to call for a coordinated approach to protect the strategic interests of European Union members against future U.S. sanctions.

….A senior German government official said, in response to the pipeline sanctions, that Germany would make a renewed European push to build a firewall against U.S. sanctions when it takes over the EU’s rotating presidency next year. One goal would be to create a separate financial infrastructure that would allow European companies to escape the scope of U.S. sanctions. The banks involved would have to be based in jurisdictions out of the U.S.’s reach, such as China or possibly Russia, the official said.

American use of financial sanctions has been out of hand for a while, seemingly our automatic response to anything in the world we dislike. Add this to all the Trumpish trade and tariff actions of the past couple of years and Europeans are starting to wonder if they really want to be the US sidekick in yet another cold war against our enemies du jour.

Having said that, though, it’s worth noting that this squabble is all about . . . fossil fuels. Germany is one of the most reliable fighters against climate change in the world, but in the past decade they have decommissioned their nukes, continued mining huge amounts of coal, and are increasing their dependence on Russian natural gas. If that’s what the serious climate change fighters are doing, can you imagine what the rest of the world is doing?

The answer is: pretty much nothing. This is why I have finally decided that our only hope is massive climate R&D.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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