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Biden-Putin Signaling

At the request of Germany, President Joe Biden has just inked a deal blessing the completion of Russia’s contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will all but guarantee Moscow’s energy domination of the European Union and its neighborhood. Thus, via German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Biden is playing footsies with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The U.S. leader has brought back Barrack Obama’s Reset.

Biden knows that an outright romance with “Satan-Russia” would not sit well with his own domestic electorate. Who knows? Perhaps even U.S. legacy media, who customarily shill for the Democrats, may not be ready yet to embrace Moscow after dumping buckets of opprobrium on Putin for his alleged collusion with Donald Trump (and vice versa).

So what’s going on?  Biden has figured that he should first square things away with Putin’s best friend in Europe, Merkel. Hence, the White House has reversed America’s stance on Nord Stream 2.

Trump strongly opposed the project to prevent the EU’s deepening dependency on the Kremlin’s energy. Moscow has wielded that club with gusto, bashing the Ukrainians and the Poles, in particular, while showing Western Europeans who is in charge. Therefore, Trump wanted to sell American LNG through friendly hubs in the Intermarium, the lands between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas. Biden will have none of that.

Nord Stream 2 is almost complete. Biden has eschewed imposing sanctions on German companies servicing it. And his State Department has been negotiating intensively to bless the project. This is in line with the Biden Administration’s endeavor to make a deal with the Kremlin. The objective is to set up a D.C.-Berlin-Moscow axis. That is tantamount to surrendering Europe, including the Intermarium, to the tender mercies of Germany and Russia. Why? The White House assumes that, once it has a deal, the U.S. will remove itself from the scene and, once again, “lead from behind.”

The savvy set in the nation’s capital senses it. For example, hitherto stalwart Intermarium supporters at the Atlantic Council, Ambassador Daniel Fried and Ian Brzezinski, have argued that since the Three Seas project is largely economic, perhaps it should be headquartered in Berlin. It sounds pragmatic, but it would defeat the purpose. The whole objective of the Intermarium is to set up and support an area that would be a counterweight both to Berlin and Moscow. If the Fried-Brzezinski plan gets traction, it should be renamed Mitteleuropa, after Germany’s geopolitical scheme for the region.

The Intermarium folks have been screaming foul. Some even talk about Yalta-2, an infamous diplomatic sell-out of the region to “Uncle Joe” Stalin by FDR and his Democrats. Ukraine is despondent. Having been ditched by the U.S., it has announced that it would become a hub for China in Europe. Good luck. Of course, Beijing will sell Kyiv down the river at the first opportunity after first taking advantage of this opening.

Poland is very worried, too. As a NATO member, Warsaw treats the United States as a strategic partner. It is fully loyal and fully invested – perhaps even overinvested – into this relationship. As a rule, the Poles buy American, in particular for their military. They have bought our F-35s, despite the fact that they really lack the infrastructure for such advanced machines. They have now shelled out billions to acquire our Abrams tanks.

Warsaw would be wise, however, to rethink its relationship with Washington, D.C. Joe Biden is not forever. He was elected to represent America only for the next four years. Why give him and his crew billion-dollar gifts?

Poland has other options. First, it can wait four years and buy American weaponry while a new administration takes over at the White House, hopefully one which will also want to sell U.S. energy to make us money and shore up Europe’s energy security.

Second, Warsaw can further turn down American private energy bids, in particular atomic power, and buy a nuclear plant from France. That would make more sense. Paris is not only an EU member, but it can be prevailed upon to pressure Germany on Poland’s behalf, which Biden obviously does not want.

Third, the Europeans have also military hardware for sale. Why buy U.S. Democrat weapon systems, when Swedish fighter jets are just fine, and French attack helicopters are pretty good? It would make sense for the Poles to stick with their fellow EU members.

Fourth, the Poles will have to rethink their generous policy of support toward Israel. To a large extent, the Polish defense of the Jewish State stems from the fact that both are American allies. With the Biden Administration undermining the system, Warsaw will have to look again for a rationale to support Jerusalem.

The Polish ask: Why must we always cherish the U.S. and get a kick in the face, when the Left dominates the U.S. government?  This is now a widespread mood in Poland. The reversal of alliances is not in the cards yet, but Washington has been sorely testing Poland and other nations of the Intermarium.

It does not help America’s popularity that the current U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission has been conducting himself in a churlish manner, in particular as far as spreading the woke revolution in Poland is concerned.

But I hear that the Biden Administration has thrown a bone to the Poles. The next U.S. Ambassador is supposed to be a Polish-American, Mark Brzezinski.  One hopes he will show more class than the current DCM, but there is no reason to suppose that the incoming ambassador will do anything in contradiction to the policy of the Biden Administration.

His job will be to charm the Poles and smooth their ruffled feathers. If the diplomatic gestures are not coupled with concrete actions as far as energy security, Warsaw will not be fooled.

Meanwhile, Putin has responded to Biden’s signals. The Russian President wrote a long historical essay and posted it on the Kremlin website. The essay underscores the continuity of the Muscovite, Tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet propaganda (http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181). To boil it down, everything is Russia, including Ukraine. Also, Russians and Ukrainians are one people. Everyone there is simply Russian, but for a few local mistakes and major meddling by evil foreigners.

There are already 21,000 Russian troops in Crimea. More are poised to strike along Russia’s western border.

What say you, Joe Biden?  More energy dependency from Russia? More U.S. hugs and kisses for Moscow and Berlin?

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Washington, DC, 23 July 2021

A version of this article was published by Newsmax.