Biden Gives Putin the Bargaining Chip He’s Always Wanted

Biden Gives Putin the Bargaining Chip He's Always Wanted

( – With winter approaching, most of Europe is facing an energy crisis, as Russian strongman Vladimir Putin weaponizes gas supplies to the continent. And President Biden handed him the tools to do it.

Led by short-sighted German politicians, over the past few years, Europe has developed a dangerous reliance on the Russian gas that flows through the Nord Stream pipeline. Russia plans to increase that reliance even more with the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, completed last month. Now it just needs approval from the European Union before Russia starts pumping gas through it – and President Putin is threatening to restrict supplies through the first pipeline unless the second one is approved.

With both pipelines in operation, Europe will be more dependent on Russian gas than ever, meaning Putin can influence the continent’s leaders simply by threatening to turn off the tap. Will European politicians be willing to stand up to Russian aggression when their voters rely on Nord Stream gas to heat their homes? It’s unlikely.

Under President Donald Trump, the US worked hard to protect Europe from Russian energy blackmail. The US placed sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and any company that worked on it, blocking the pipeline’s completion. However, on May 19, President Biden lifted those sanctions without even trying to obtain guarantees on energy security from Russia.

Now, Putin is doing exactly what President Trump feared he would. In the worst case, it could lead to a major war in Eastern Europe. Yet, with the sanctions gone, there’s no way to make Putin back down.

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