It was my pleasure to be with Thierry Bros of Sciences Po University, Paris, and Peter Zalmayev, Ukrainian security analyst and executive director of Eurasian Democracy Initative on David Foster’s Roundtable on TRT World, London, broadcast 9 June 2021.
I discussed Biden’s apparent reasoning for waiving Nord Stream 2 sanctions:
First off, the German government of Angela Merkel simply would not cooperate otherwise. Allowing her pet energy project to go forward was the price she had demanded for trans-Atlantic “unity” before Biden’s summit with Putin.
(Aside: My research in Berlin and elsewhere has convinced me that, at no point from the late-Trump administration through Biden’s six months in office, did the German side actually engage in any meaningful “negotiation” or discussions with the US side to seek to find some compromise or to initiate a moratorium on construction. Not until Biden waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, and decided not to sanction any German firms inolved in construction did Merkel show any real interest in discussions. She emphasized her change of attitude on negotiating with Biden about: “what now are also the necessary commonalities in the relationship with Russia” in comments during a German national broadcast interview immediately following Biden’s sanctions waiver. Until this waiver, she had held up any real discussion of the pressing issues of trans-Atlantic unity-in-general, whcih urgently needed attention.
Biden reminds Erdogan of how contingent his geostrategic gains are on the US & NATO with recognition of Armenian Genocide. (See “Turkey” section of the report). Aside from obvious historical and justice reasons for Biden’s recognition, the Turkish role in the Azerbaijan-Armenia war is relevant here. From the report:
On the political and diplomatic side, the genocide recognition’s impact is mainly via engendering consternation vs the US and Nato, especially in inflicting a loss of face on Erdogan. However, the geopolitical impacts are still more concrete. Erdogan won a significant success for Turkish influence in the Caucuses with the Turkish demonstration of its military capacities via Azerbaijan’s agile use of Turkish drones, in particular the impressive swarming tactics learned from the Turks (in turn clearly derived by Turkey from NATO allies via joint exercises, etc. ). So, NATO was de facto valuable to Ankara in achieving this new influence. Further, now Biden, with the genocide recognition, has moved to strengthen the US hand in presently politically chaotic Armenia, while retaining its long-time links to Azerbaijan (especially in energy matters such as the new Southern Corridor Pipeline v. Russian gas-supply dominance of Europe). So, Biden et al have given Erdogan a rather humiliating reminder of how contingent his power projections are, ultimately, on the US superpower and NATO.
Dr. Thomas O’Donnell, Wikistrat key trends in Middle East, May 2021