The Euro-American alliance currently looks very fragile. Particularly in the U.S., there are various competing interests regarding the administration of the country.
Not long ago, President Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, which was championed largely by European nations. The move has attracted criticisms in both the U.S. and Europe, and in the U.S., there are some politicians who fiercely oppose the Trump administration. These people see the administration as illegitimate.
For many Democrats and some Republicans, Russia meddled in the country’s elections, aiding Trump to win the presidency. Trump has dismissed this allegation, calling it a total fabrication by confused Democrats who just can’t accept defeat.
On June 15, the Senate passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia over its alleged interference in the U.S. elections. What was intriguing about the bill is that although the Senate is controlled by Republicans, it was almost a unanimous vote. This means there are also many Republicans who believe Russia interfered in the elections to help Trump’s agenda.
Trump promised to improve the United States’ relations with Russia during the campaign. The new Senate bill, if passed by the House, will be put before Trump to rectify it. Trump, of course, will not willingly endorse a measure that seeks to deteriorate relations with Russia.
As the new bill has grown nightmarish for the Trump administration, so too is it worrying America’s closest allies in Europe. The bill, if it becomes law, will affect major European companies doing business with Russia. This is making many European nations nervous in an already shaky global economy.
Currently, Germany, Austria and a host of other European companies are providing technical support for the construction of the Nord Stream project, an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation, across the Baltic to Greifswald in Germany.
The European nations involved with this mega project are concerned that if the Senate bill is passed by the House, the sanctions will pave way for fines against their companies involved in the Nord Stream project.
The Europeans have therefore slammed the bill, accusing the U.S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce an energy blockade, which they say is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their economy and Russian rivals.
The countries led by Germany have warned that the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream project by the U.S. Senate bill “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations.”
According to Reuters, Germany is taking a strong measure against the bill. The country has threatened to impose sanctions as retaliation against the U.S. if the new sanctions on Russia end up penalizing German firms.
Spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert told the news agency that the Senate bill intended to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the U.S. elections and could also trigger penalties against European companies. He said this must not happen as it is likely to jeopardize relations between Germany and the United States.
The German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries also added “Berlin would have to think about counter-measures. If he does [Trump back the bill], we’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it.”
Commentators say judging by Germany’s latest response to the U.S., if the U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russia, it will drive Europe into the hands of Russia. This, they say, will hand the Russians a decisive geopolitical victory over the United States of America.