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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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