With no end in sight to the fighting in Ukraine, the European Union has become financially exhausted with the drawn-out conflict on its doorstep. This is while the United States, sitting across the pond, watching on and observing, is making huge profits. As the war drags on, the costs for Europe are mounting.
One thing is for sure. It is certainly not the first time Washington has tricked the international community into a war. Who can forget a certain Colin Powell sent by Washington, packed with a briefcase of fake intelligence, to the UN Security Council to make the case for the Iraq war.
At the time, France and Germany formed a coalition, making strong arguments and objections to prevent the Iraq war.
This time, critics argue, they caved in to quickly, along with the EU, and are acting as U.S. proxies without even being aware of it.
Before the conflict broke out on Europe’s doorstep in February, Russia regularly accused the U.S. of deliberately creating a scenario that was designed to lure Moscow into war while ignoring Russia’s security concerns over Ukraine.
The Pentagon led the mobilization of NATO troops and weapons on Russian borders and Europe quietly followed suit. The security concerns expressed by the Kremlin were ignored by Washington despite many experts describing them as legitimate.
Moscow wanted the West to respect an agreement signed in 1999 that no country can threaten its security at the expense of others. The Kremlin said this was at the heart of the crisis before the conflict broke out.
The question that must be posed after eight months is this: why not sending peace delegations to Russia and Ukraine instead of arms packages? The answer is the American economy crashed in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic and now it is growing again as a result of the war. America has a long history of making money out of waging or triggering wars across the planet.
Those paying the price on this occasion are European states with the continent slipping into a recession and ordinary households failing to make ends meet.
According to the Politico, the EU has set aside fund to reimburse member states with the money they spend on sending weapons to Ukraine. However, the EU has been flooded with requests that the bloc simply cannot cover. Brussels has reportedly not even sent out the first payment.
The news outlet cites diplomats as saying the EU had estimated it could cover some 85% of the costs but so many requests were sent to the bloc’s headquarters that it revised that number down to 46%.
That is said to have angered Poland, which is one of the EU’s largest arms exporters to Ukraine and a leading seeker for reimbursements. The diminishing payback scheme and struggling attempts to reimburse risks damaging the EU’s reputation.
The argument coming out of Brussels is that at times like these, unlike the Iraq war, the Western allies must stick together with the United States.
What allies is Brussels exactly referring to? Europeans are struggling to heat their homes this winter because of the Ukraine war. France and Germany’s request for U.S. gas supplies to alleviate the crisis in “ally” states were met with “astronomical” prices by Washington.
There is no doubt the U.S. is making astronomical gas sale profits from the Ukraine war. The U.S. oil giant Chevron, also a large global natural gas producer, is expected to make record exports to Europe.
“We have seen a big uptick in demand from European customers so we are adjusting to that,” said Colin Parfitt, who oversees the company’s shipping, pipeline, supply and trading operations. Europe will not “go back to the same flows from Russia as it did before,” he said
So the U.S. achieved its long term desire to replace Russian gas flows to Europe with its own stocks of liquefied natural gas (LNG). For years Washington has been demanding Europe to wean itself off Russian gas and the Ukraine war has met that demand, even slapping sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany. At the time, Berlin strongly censured the move.
American energy companies are now reaping in the profits. “What’s growing in the United States is demand for exports,” Parfitt said.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. became the top LNG exporter in the first half of 2022, because of increased supplies to Europe amid the Ukraine crisis. Exports rose to average 11.2 billion cubic feet per day compared with the second half of 2021.
The fact is Europe has no choice but to purchase American energy as Washington has imposed sanctions on certain other major gas-producing countries. But why is the U.S. selling at “astronomical” prices to its “allies”. The answer is American politicians, energy giants and arms manufacturers don’t really care about Europe.
Senior officials in France and Germany have even accused the U.S. of overcharging for its LNG and using the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis to make profit and make Europe dependent on U.S. gas.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mair recently noted the U.S. should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market as its “allies” in Europe are suffering from the consequences of the Ukraine conflict. He also said it is unacceptable for the U.S. to sell LNG at prices “four times” higher than those paid by companies in America. The French minister also called for the establishment of a more balanced relationship between the U.S. and Europe.
The German Economy Minister Robert Habeck decried American LNG companies of charging too much for gas at a time when Europe’s biggest economy is struggling to balance its energy mix without Russian supplies.
He also recalled how the U.S. has turned to the EU before when crude oil costs were skyrocketing, and that Europe’s national reserves were used at the time to push the prices back down.
At a time that the EU is in crisis, with friends like the U.S. who needs enemies?
Of course, American arms manufacturers are also making gigantic profits. They are shipping weapons to the warzone in eastern Europe.
In the lead up to the war, President Putin said Russia needs to defend itself from an aggressive and hostile America. Washington is not primarily concerned with Ukraine’s security, but with containing Russia, Putin said.
“In this sense, Ukraine itself is just an instrument to achieve this goal, this can be done in different ways, by drawing us into some kind of armed conflict and, with the help of their allies in Europe, forcing the introduction against us of those harsh sanctions they are talking about now in the U.S.” he said at the time.
The consequences of the conflict have been felt by Europeans who have been staging mass protests, strikes and voting governments out of power across the continent. While the war has triggered soaring costs that the European public simply cannot afford, it has also frustrated hopes of any normalization in Europe following the covid-19 pandemic as well as European unity.
Studies show there is growing polarization in Europe as to whether supporting the U.S. into triggering the Ukraine crisis was worth it after all?