Sensemaking the destruction of Europe's most important pipeline.
The U.S. has no strategic interest in blowing up Nord Stream. We are sending a comparative handful of 2nd hand weapons to Ukrainian forces and they are kicking the Russians ass with them, all without risking a single American soldier.
Before the invasion of Ukraine, Biden gave Germany the go ahead for Nord Stream 2. The European countries were already going to take a huge hit this winter with the shortage of energy. If there is any indication that the US blew up those pipelines then the damage to the alliance that supports Ukraine against Russia would be severely fractured, maybe permanently. Those and other downsides completely outweigh any potential upside.
Russia, on the other hand, has another motive that you missed. Russia is contractually obligated to provide gas through the pipeline, and as much as they would like to use the pipeline to continue to use energy to attempt to blackmail the west, they face too much financial risk. To quote Ariel Cohen in Forbes:
"If Nord Stream is shut down suddenly through “force majeure,” a sudden uncontrollable stop that is the fault of neither party, then Russia can void its obligations toward European stakeholders without legally breaking contracts, thus dodging the many penalties in doing so."
So Russia gets to kill multiple birds with one stone:
1. Cut off energy to the west, punishing the countries standing up to his invasion of Ukraine and avoid any financial penalties;
2. Use the Cortez "burn the ships" model to attempt to cut off more possible Russian "defections" to Putin's strategy;
3. Use his "useful idiots" in the West to push the "U.S. blew up the pipelines" story to throw blame on his enemies and sow confusion.
4. Put new fears and paranoia into Western counties. After all, if he is willing to blow up his own pipelines, what's to stop him from blowing up someone else's pipelines, or communication lines?
Russia really has everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing it. We have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
The below is off by a factor of 10. Per your own link, "It was estimated that the explosion had a yield equivalent to approximately 1.8 Mg (4,000 lb) of TNT" 1.8 Mg = 1800kg
"Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb that destroyed the Murrah Building in 1995 had a blast yield of around 181 kg of TNT, a little over one third the yield of these explosions. If we presume that a non-state actor probably doesn’t have the ability to deliver two devices triple the size of McVeigh’s truck in an underwater enclosure, we can scratch non-state actors off the list."
I'm trying to fit this theory with Biden killing the Israeli pipeline, which would have provided natural gas from a purported ally to Europe, seemingly only because the damn Turks complained. If it is about importing natural gas to Europe by boat, that doesn't quite square with the current administration simultaneously trying to kill the US nat gas industry with a death of a thousand regulatory cuts. If we wanted that cash, we should be expanding production to sell all we can, not enabling Green lawfare against the domestic industry.
An LHD would be about the last ship you would want to do this because it has no ability to deploy anything below the waterline. If anyone happened to be watching it from space or from the air when it scooted a bunch of big-ass bombs off the well deck at regular intervals, Russia would have the proof it needed to break NATO and permanently discredit the United States. To get down to the bottom of the Baltic to reach the pipeline and place the explosives would be next to impossible, so you'd just have to drop it and hope you hit the right spot - considering the multiple detonations, that'd be a really weird way to do that and the likelihood of screwing up is high.
If you were American and you wanted to do this, you would want a submarine with facilities for an SDV (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEAL_Delivery_Vehicle) that could haul and tow explosives along with some guys to put them in place. You'd deploy them silently, then leave. Again- if you're caught in that crowded water by anyone, we're screwed.
If you have them, you could also use an underwater drone or two, but no publicly demonstrated tech could do this and it's not clear why you would bother developing it if you didn't have it.
The same would obtain for the Russians, except they have access to one end of the pipeline. Robots controlled by Gazprom and Russia routinely traverse the inside of the pipeline for inspection and maintenance purposes. I don't know how big they are or how much they can haul, but I suspect you could cause a fairly large explosion with the natural gas in the pipeline without necessarily introducing a big bomb. You could also do it on command, at the same time, without worrying about any incriminating evidence if there's a malfunction.
If someone at Gazprom found out about this and either wanted it to stop or threatened to tell the world, they might get thrown out a window.
As for motive...by my understanding, Russia is obliged by contract to provide the natural gas it's currently withholding. In any post-war settlement negotiations, some sort of compensation for that would at least be a bargaining chip. By destroying the pipeline, Russia might theoretically reduce that liability - and the cost isn't that high if you conclude that Europe is making long term investments to eliminate dependency, as they appear to be doing presently.
The case you make that America did it is...pretty rank speculation.
If I were Putin and wanted to blow up a gas pipeline, I would just park some Grads right across the border around Sudzha border crossing and wait until they are destroyed by counter-battery fire together with the local U-P-U pipeline compressor station. Hell, the smaller Soyuz pipeline passes through very recently retaken Borova, and no one managed to harm the local compressor station during all the fighting
re Wayback Machine “job failed”: that shit happens very regularly, on totally innocuous pages.
The theory that requires the least gymnastics is probably that poor maintenance (Something Russia is well known for) caused an Unintended Catastrophic Failure Condition and the timing was just really poor.
Too conspiracy-y for me. You'd think the American military could sabotage a pipeline without setting off huge, totally conspicuous bombs.
Those with the most straightforward motivation would be Ukraine. Also, accident is not an unreasonable explanation. I will be curious to see if the seismology gets revised down in the near future.
While I think the US definitely benefits from the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines, there is a strong case to be made that the pipelines failed because of poor maintenance:
While I don't discount the possibility the Biden junta or Putin did it, I see another possibility - the EU did it. The motivation would be preserving European unity. Top EU leadership seem unanimous in their desire to starve their own people and collapse their remaining industrial base - in order to appease the wrathful gods of DUH CLIMATE. For reasons that escape me, they also seem to think a new world war would be just swell.
The German people are doubtless quite a bit less enthused about starving to death. Perhaps EU leadership felt there was a chance the German government might defect from the plan. They might choose to import gas to power their industry and heat their homes this winter. Which in turn might inspire similar rebellions in other EU member states. I can't say I know anything about German domestic politics that would confirm or deny this possibility.
By destroying Nordstream, the EU leadership eliminated the possibility that Germany might unilaterally opt out of the current suicide pact.
You missed a zero on your McVeigh’s truck bomb number. 181kg is 400lb, but according to your link the blast equivalent was 4000lb.
So... None of the consequences predicted in the Kherson region by the "in the process of losing" link came to pass. Turns out that General Zaluzhnyi wasn't such a genius, and he just got a bunch of his men killed for no reason.
All very interesting speculation. But here's why primarily, I think, no.
If US was involved then it's indicative of a plan going forward, having gamed various scenarios and expecting certain responses.
Nothing about this administration's previous actions gives me confidence they ever do anything with the kind of nuanced, scripted, carefully considered thinking that kind of bold decision would require.
So kinda indifferent to the particulars here anyway, because the likeliest thing to happen after, if Putin nukes something, will be a totally un planned, un discussed un thinking reactionary US response that will lead us into a completely un known future because apparently none of the un elected man children who actually hold senior jobs in the administration have a substantive framework about foreign policy to guide them. Except their two guiding principles; we must not be energy independent and must have an Iran deal. And if meanwhile, the eastern seaboard disolves into nuclear dust, none of them will accept responsibilty, much less resign.
The idea that an LHD bombed Nordstream is ludicrous. I can't believe you're serious.
Are you trying to say they rolled a bomb off an LHD's tailgate? And hoped it sank to the right spot?
Was there some mysterious bomb-delivery vehicle on Kearsarge? How did it get onboard? And what did they do with all the USMC gear that was jam-packed into the well deck when Kearsarge left Norfolk?
There are 2,000 Marines and sailors aboard that ship and half are under 21. And they all have email. Good luck keeping a secret about your mystery bomb. Just hang out in a bar in the next port Kearsarge goes for liberty and you'll hear it all.
Warships normally don't transmit AIS except when coming into port or are in busy shipping lanes. They are warships after all.
This article aged well. https://seymourhersh.substack.com/p/how-america-took-out-the-nord-stream
I've read about the "U.S. military activity" in the area before, and none of these mentions addresses some crucial questions:
- How unusual is it for these vessels to be in that area? Sure they were around there not too long before, but is that unusual for them? Have they been around there before? Were they just passing by because that area is high traffic? Do they have similar patterns in other areas?
- If Joe Smoe can track a major military operation by looking at easily available data, and whether identifying information was turned off, what hope is there for the US navy to have any war time activity? If the U.S wanted to bomb this area why wouldn't they do what they'd do in war and make it very difficult / impossible to track these ships? Is naval warfare dead because even civilians can figure out where our ships are? This seems highly unlikely and suspicious to me.