In recent years, the transatlantic relationship has been under increasing strain. A key point of friction has been Nord Stream 2, a contentious gas pipeline project connecting Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea. This study seeks to expand the primarily euro-centric scholarly work on Nord Stream 2 by tracing and explaining the objectives, timing, and effectiveness of US sanctions against Nord Stream 2. Drawing on the canonical ‘multiple streams’ model of the policy process, I find that US lawmakers were primarily driven by Russian interference in US elections, and concerns about Europe’s high dependency on Russian energy supplies and the weakened geopolitical position of Ukraine. The annual budgeting legislation provided the window of opportunity to pass the sanctions. The sanctions were initially very effective and resulted in the termination of contracts for companies working with the Nord Stream 2 consortium, but Russian countermeasures have kept the project afloat. This points to the limits of US structural power.
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The sanctions also apply to TurkStream, a two-string pipeline from Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea. However, both strings were already completed when the US imposed sanctions; therefore, their effect on this pipeline project is not included.
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de Jong, M. Too little, too late? US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and the transatlantic relationship. J Transatl Stud 20, 213–229 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1057/s42738-022-00095-4
- Nord Stream 2
- Transatlantic relationship
- Multiple streams model