Neither the US nor President Trump should not be the sole decider of global sanctions. If the EU wants to do business with Russia to secure natural gas, that is EU business.

Nonetheless, U.S. Warns German Companies of Possible Sanctions Over Russian Pipeline.

U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Germany of being a “captive” of Moscow because of its reliance on Russian energy and urged it to halt work on the $11 billion gas pipeline. U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell addressed the issue in a letter sent to several companies, the U.S. Embassy said on Sunday.

Juergen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, was scathing in his criticism of the U.S. move.

“That the U.S. ambassador is now turning to German companies with direct threats is a new and unacceptable one-sided tightening of the tone in the transatlantic relationship,” Hardt said. “If the U.S. president thinks he has to publicly show he is getting tough on Russia in view of the many question marks regarding his relationship with Moscow, he should not thereby impair the relationship with his most important ally.”

“The letter reminds that any company operating in the Russian energy export pipeline sector is in danger under CAATSA of U.S. sanctions,” the embassy spokesman said, adding that other European states also opposed the planned pipeline.

CAATSA

CAATSA stands for Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

Imagine Europe passing a CEATSA and directly threatening US businesses. That's how arrogant and wrong this policy is.

A Bloomberg Nord Stream 2 Editorial gets it correct.

Reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas is in the U.S.’s interest. But penalties against the companies financing Nord Stream 2 would arouse public resentment in Germany and strengthen the project’s supporters.

The current political instability in Berlin might get worse. And the U.S. risks alienating Europeans who oppose the pipeline but object to Washington interfering in their energy policies.

Iran Sanctions

The US unwisely pulled out a a nuclear deal with Iran over the objections of the EU. European firms pulled out of deals over sanction threats.

In November, EU leaders discussed setting up a European 'clearing house' to bypass US sanctions.

A special clearing house designed to allow European companies that trade with Iran to bypass newly reimposed US sanctions will be set up in Europe within months, possibly in France or Germany.

Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal earlier this year, breaking with Europe, and on Monday a full panoply of US sanctions came into force. The package included the threat to sanction companies or countries that buy Iranian oil, the lifeblood of its economy.

Bullies Never Stop

Bullies never stop their bullying.

The EU needs to immediately, if not sooner, complete its European Clearinghouse to bypass absurd sanctions on Iran and threats like these we see today.

Proper Response

I am OK with Trump expressing an opinion, but Trump, like all bullies, seriously needs a black eye for extremely arrogant bullying.

There is only one proper response from Merkel and there is no need to be polite about it: "Dear president Trump F off. This is our business. The EU does not get involved when you make a deal with Canada and you won't tell us what bilateral deals to make either."

A European clearing house for non-dollar transactions will be a smack in the face that Trump needs and deserves.

If Trump responded by pulling pulling troops from Germany or leaving NATO, I would praise that action by the President. We cannot afford to be the world's policeman.

If Trump wants to do something for the US, instead of bullying German companies, he can bring all the troops home. That is our business. Nord Stream is European business.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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