Oh wow. Both Nord Stream pipelines have apparently leaked their guts out in the last day or so. Ol' Joe Biden always said he'd be making sure NS 2 never went into operation. To be honest, I never really believed he'd resort to the Semtex Option, but who knows ...
Scope for a tremendous range of imaginative conspiracy theories here. Cui bono? Well probably not German industry. Make of that what you will - and I'm sure some of you will.
Quiz: who blew up NS1 and NS2?
- Ol' Joe Biden
- Li'l Volodya Putin
- The Poles
- The international commodities traders
- The Rand Corporation
- Defective Russian engineering
- That James Bond gadget
- George Soros
- "false flag"
- 'Buster Crabbe'
- German Green Party breakaway faction
- [.... your write-in answer here ....]
Incidentally, Putin's announcement of last week is really, errrr, stirring things up, isn't it? Not sure that his "partial mobilisation, I stress, only partial" is entirely going to whatever plan he had in mind, unless you consider it was simply to give the Russian people to understand in a rather graphic way that they're all in it now, whether they thought of themselves as armchair spectators or not. BTW, despite his and other Russian leaders' placatory TV language, the Executive Order he signed contained nothing that limits the mobilisation, and might almost amount to conscription - a very different concept indeed.
But putting guns into the hands of tens of thousands of morose, drunken and undisciplined Russians is something that ... well, let's just note it's something that Lenin went to great lengths to avoid, his first act on taking power being to dis-arm and disband the army and get them all out of Moscow.
Finally, let's elaborate on the point I made last week, that his sinister (but technically nuanced) nuclear 'hint' leaves him awkwardly placed next month when he's annexed four new formerly-Ukrainian oblasts and they are all still under determined "NATO" attack. OK, by the letter of his dictum, they'll be under conventional attack, so his nuclear threshold hasn't been crossed: but try telling that to the bellicose woman who fronts on Russian national TV. She'll want retaliatory nukes - "this is not a bluff" - starting as soon as the next big town falls back into the hands of the Ukrainians.
And - and this is the Big One - if he really does annex the lot, it puts these new fully-under-seige territories in the same category as Crimea - or maybe the other way around. Now he'd probably been enjoying a de facto pass from the world at large since 2014, on keeping Crimea in his poaching-pocket. But maybe he's just jeopardised that: he's taking one helluva gamble as to how it falls.
Or maybe he's just jeopardised the whole of Europe. Did the man say Interesting Times?