Columbia economist: US ‘probably’ behind the sabotage of Nord Stream

  • By Al Mayadeen English 
  • Source: Agencies
  • 4 Oct

The Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University in the US argues that despite Western media propaganda, the rest of the world thinks the US sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines.

In an appearance on Bloomberg TV on Monday, the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, claimed that the US may be behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipeline when asked about the incident and the Ukraine war.

Sachs also declared that numerous journalists have said they believe that the incident is a US-architected attack to damage the pipelines, however, they are unable to report it.

A week prior, seismic experts in Sweden and Denmark reported two large explosions that occurred on Monday near the Nord Stream pipeline leaks; these explosions occurred in the water, not on the seabed.

“I would bet (the explosion) was a US action”

The majority of Western commentators have placed the responsibility of the incident on Russia, alleging that it is attempting to intensify the crisis and put pressure on Europe to end support for Kiev.

Sachs, a top UN adviser, said “I would bet (the explosion) was a US action, perhaps US and Poland,” adding “That is speculation.”

Before he could finish his statement, Tom Keene, the Bloomberg host, interrupted by saying “Jeff, we’ve got to stop there,” and continued, “Why do you feel that was a US action? What evidence do you have of that?”

Sachs responded “Well, first, there is direct radar evidence that US military helicopters that are normally based in Gdansk were circling over this area,” noting that “We also had the threat from the US [President Joe Biden] earlier this year that ‘one way or another we are going to end Nord Stream’.”

The Columbia professor further added that “We also had a remarkable statement from [US] Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken last Friday in a press conference where he said ‘this is also a tremendous opportunity’,” which Sachs considered “a strange way to talk if you’re worried about piracy on international infrastructure of vital significance.”

Why? Biden made it abundantly clear

On February 7, US President Joe Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and vowed to block the crucial Nord Stream 2 Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline if “Russia invades Ukraine.”

More specifically, Biden said at the time that “If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2,” and when pushed for details Biden responded with “We will bring an end to it.”

The director of Sustainable Development at Columbia University reaffirmed his position using Biden’s February statement. Sachs said, “I know it runs counter to our narrative, you’re not allowed to say these things in the West, but the fact of the matter is all over the world when I talk to people, they think the US did it.”

US economic interests

The economist significantly noted that “Even reporters on our papers that are involved tell me ‘of course’ [the US did it], but it doesn’t show up in our media.” Sachs also referenced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Friday speech blaming the US and their allies for the attack and built on it saying “The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage.”

On that note Russian officials have argued that Washington has a motive for the attack because it wants to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, as such, the Kremlin has called claims of Russian responsibility “stupid.”

In response to that, the White House has denied being at fault, and Biden claimed on Friday that the Nord Stream explosion was intentional and an act of sabotage.

Sachs declared himself to be “on the side of peace” and expressed his grave concern for the conflict and the potential for nuclear war, remarking that “Russia feels that this war is at the core of its security interests.”

Read more: US official: UK and US navy capable of conducting Nord Stream attack

NATO’s eastward expansion

The Columbia professor further explained that “The United States insists it will do anything to support Ukraine’s defeat of Russia. Russia views this as a proxy war with the United States. Whatever one thinks about this, this is the path of extraordinary, dangerous escalation.”

Sachs highlighted that the Western media is showing a distorted image of reality in hopes of convincing public opinion that the whole world is united against Russia. However, the economist argued “A lot of the world is watching these events in horror, and a lot of the world doesn’t like this NATO expansion, which they interpret as at the core of this,” adding that “They want to see a compromise between the US and Russia.”

Most of the world is not the West

During his Bloomberg TV appearance, the renowned economist made an observation that the majority of the world’s population could agree on and based it on United Nations votes:

“In vote after vote at the United Nations, basically, it has been the Western countries that have been voting for sanctions and denunciations and other actions. Whereas most of the world, certainly most of the world counted by population, is on the sidelines. They view this as a horrible clash between Russia and the US.”

He continued and said that the majority “don’t see this, as we do in the media, as an unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine.”

It all started in 2014

The Columbia professor highlighted that what is happening between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the collective West, dated back to 2014 and did not start in 2022.

“This conflict goes back a long time, it didn’t start on February 24, 2022. In fact, the war itself started in 2014, not 2022, and even that had antecedents,” he said, adding that “Most of the world doesn’t see it the way we describe it. Most of the world is just terrified right now, frankly.”

In a summarized description of the message Western media has been delivering regarding the war which has aimed to frighten people, he said “It is unbelievable to be hearing on one side that they will use nuclear weapons if they have to, while the other side says, ‘You can’t frighten us’.”

According to Sachs, the world was “entering the most unstable geopolitical era in many decades.”

Global inflation and the most unstable geopolitical era

In a bold statement, Sachs argued that “We’re entering the first hyperinflation in more than 40 years. And we’re entering the first escalation to the nuclear precipice in 60 years. Sixty years ago exactly this month was the Cuban missile crisis. This is the most dangerous moment since the Cuban missile crisis.”

The university professor accused political leaders of inadequacy in countering the ongoing tensions and said “It is an extraordinary overload and we see no attempt to tamp this down or to quiet it down,” adding that “Every day is about escalation, we’re going to defeat the other side, we have our rights, we can stand up for what we want. We have [US] Speaker Pelosi flying to Taiwan. We have so many provocations in the midst of huge instability.”

Highlighting the narrative disinformation

This is not the first time that the renowned professor criticizes US hegemony and media narratives. Earlier in July, Sachs argued that the coronavirus “quite likely emerged from a US-backed laboratory research program … A natural spillover is also possible, of course. Both hypotheses are viable at this stage.”

On this note, it is worth highlighting that Russia has accused the US of developing bioweapons in black sited bio labs across Ukraine and other parts of the world.

Sachs has also said on BBC Newsnight last year, amid an aggressive anti-China narrative, that he is “not sure why BBC started with listing only China’s human rights abuses – what about America’s human rights abuses?’