You should not expect too much from the US on Nord Stream 2, because the United States may start to expect too much from Warsaw. Washington is currently running a transaction policy even against its closest allies, like Poland – says Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
Smiles and waterboarding
US Ambassador to Poland Georgettte Mosbacher is on the one hand a businesswoman with experience in the cosmetics industry. This means that she does not come from a diplomatic environment. On the other hand, she represents the American elite from New York, with whom President Donald Trump is strongly associated. From a political point of view, it can be concluded that Mosbacher will pursue a transactional policy with an emphasis on business, which arises from her first statements, but also that she can have Trump’s support for her lines in advance because of the connections that brought her ambassador’s positions.
From my information collected in the USA, it appears that transaction policy known from the activities of Donald Trump in Europe will not bypass Poland, although it is treated as a faithful ally. It currently has significantly better ratings than Germany, which is in the disgrace of Trump’s administration. Perhaps this is why Berlin tried to join the Trio, which is a compliment to this undertaking. It means that the Germans are afraid that Three Seas will grow into a Polish-American initiative that will threaten the primacy of the European Commission, which Berlin influences. It will only influence it from the inside.
However, Poland will not get support in advance. Rzeczpospolita writes that Poles continue to convince the US to take firm action on the disputed project of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Not without reason, the German Uniper has signaled that it will withdraw from Nord Stream 2 funding if the Americans introduce sanctions. Rzeczpospolita states that Poles are close to convince the US. For what price?
We also learn from Rzeczpospolita that Americans expect decisions regarding a dispute between American investors from Invenergy and Polish Energa. It is also known that they will demand the end of the clash between Telewizja Polska and Emitel with a monopoly on multiplex. On the one hand, Mosbacher is to lead the offensive of the spell, pushing for the development of friendly ties with the Poles with the increasingly stronger postponing the Germans. On the other hand, she expects decisions in favor of the US in a number of commercial disputes. One of the diplomats I spoke with said that Polish-American relations can turn into smiles for the photo session and waterboarding in the back.
A call for a crusade
It is not said that in exchange for Poland’s concessions on business matters Washington will introduce sanctions against Nord Stream 2 partners from Europe. USA under the leadership of businessmen like Mosbacher and Trump can expect concessions as part of opening discussions on other topics and not offering anything in return. Washington may be less interested in offering an attractive LNG price for Poland. Poles are not interested in too expensive supplies because they have an alternative.
In turn, transaction policy means that the argument of common values used by Poland in the face of the obvious difference in the economic potential of our countries will be less and less effective. It is also worth reminding that despite the purges in the Trump ranks after the affair with the influence of the Russians on the presidential election, the president still has anti-European conservatives. Supporters of the US hard line towards Europe may expect Warsaw to join the anti-liberal crusade, which may undermine European integration and multilateral order in the West.
Danger for Poland
If that is the price of the US opposing the Nord Stream 2 project, it may be too great for Poles who recognize the European Union as a pillar of security analogous to NATO. If the Nord Stream 2 project has a disintegrating effect on the Union, the Three Seas as an alternative to integration will work even stronger. Poland can not afford such an adventure. It would be a pretext for the Germans to torpedo this ever more attractive initiative. So far, the position of the State Department remains unchanged. Nord Stream 2 is a harmful project that threatens Europe’s independence, but Europeans should make a political decision about its detention. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that the construction of the German section of the gas pipeline has already begun, making it difficult to block investments. However, it is not clear whether construction works have actually started.
Due to the above context, the visit of President Andrzej Duda in Washington planned for 18 September will be crucial for the development of Polish-American relations, and perhaps for the fate of the Nord Stream 2 project against which Poland and the USA are protesting.