Firstly, given what is following, a disclaimer is necessary: Russia needs to be expelled from Ukraine. They are barbaric. The more comprehensive their defeat, the greater the period of peace that will follow.
That said, the Biden regime has over-reached in sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines. They are applying their approach to US domestic politics to the international situation. The pipeline sabotage is the equivalent of sending the FBI to raid Trump’s principal residence. Everyone with a moral compass knew that it was a wrong thing to do, they did it anyway and there were unintended consequences for the perpetrators which they hadn’t thought through.
Gas bubbles mark the spot
Firstly, fixing the pipelines will be relatively easy. Two hundred feet of water is easy diving territory. Because of the hydrostatic pressure from the water depth and despite the size of the charges used, the lengths ruptured will be short. Cutting out the holed sections and welding in new lengths of pipe will be easy and should only take a week or so once the right ships are in place. And then push out the seawater with a pipeline ‘pig’ from the Russian end. The oil industry does this sort of thing all the time.
Easy to fix, physically, but the unintended consequences, the blowback will be immense. First of all Putin had based the legitimacy of his war on Ukraine on a notion that the West was at war with Russia. The sabotage of the pipelines proves him right, when before there had been nothing kinetic. Now that he has been proved right instead of just being paranoid, any Russian not supporting the war is letting the side down. Putin may stay in power for a couple of years longer than he might have otherwise done. And finding people to risk their lives in mounting a coup? Now there will be tens of thousands more dead on the battlefield instead.
Secondly, it will re-invigorate the German left just when they were about to be exposed as incompetents as their country goes dark in the coming winter. Lack of energy can be deflected to some extent on the US sabotage of those pipelines. The facts of the matter don’t matter. They now have an anti-American narrative delivered to them in a neat package tied with a bow. And this anti-American narrative will last for decades.
Thirdly, it will be easy and cheap for the Russians to retaliate. Traveling in Siberia in the mid-90s, I was surprised to see guards on bridges in the middle of nowhere.
On the River Amur, in Siberia
Well of course all important infrastructure needs guards on it, because ill-intentioned people might try to destroy it. That is the world that the Nord Stream sabotage has led us to. It might be an internet cable in the Pacific that can be snagged by a ship towing a chain and plow. The Russians are nasty and vindictive. The Nord Stream sabotage will prompt them to be inventive also. And each time something is broken and blame can be attributed to the Russians, is it going to be worth going to war over?
Fourthly the Nord Stream sabotage will just drive the Russian further into the arms of the Chicoms, who will be the real mass killers this century. Russia had warned the FBI of the Tsarnaev brothers who went on to bomb the Boston Marathon. They won’t bother doing that again. Though we now know that the FBI hasn’t been on our side for some time.
How should Putin respond to the smart-arsed prank of blowing up those pipelines? He should go nuclear on the progressive left, which has ruined the modern world. He should apologize on behalf of Russia for foisting Obama on the United States as a long term influence agent. And apologize to Germany for foisting Merkel on them. Putin should release the KGB, now FSB, files on these two. And he might get another ten years as dictator of Russia.
We don’t know for sure it was the US that blew up the pipeline, but it’s hard to see why the Russians would do it when they can just turn off the gas.