On March 8, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz suspended the certification of Biden’s nominee for CIA Director William Burns, which he will use as leverage to urge the Biden Administration to take a tougher stance on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which makes the European Union too dependent on Russian energy.
According to the Washington Times, Cruz said, “I will continue my certification only after the Biden administration has fulfilled its legal mandate to inform and sanction the vessels and companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline system.”
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which has reportedly concluded 90 percent of the pipeline laying, is a geopolitical project that has been the primary opposition during President Trump‘s administration, and Trump has increased sanctions against companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project since the beginning of 2019.
While Biden also called Nord Stream 2 a bad deal for Europe and retained the sanctions the Trump Administration adopted that year, it did not introduce harsher sanctions because Biden believes improving relations with Germany is a priority for that administration.
Analysts at the Washington Times believe Cruz’s move underscores the strong opposition of U.S. conservatives to the Nord Stream 2 project, who fear that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will allow Russia to subconsciously strengthen its influence over Western Europe and undermine NATO and U.S. influence in Western Europe, where countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain already import more than half of their own energy needs for Russian gas. more than half of their own energy needs.
James Carafano, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, described the Russian gas pipelines as Russia’s economic weapon.
Carafano said, “Putin has always looked for ways to divide NATO, and energy infrastructure is so tied to national security that if the country doesn’t have energy it will not be able to fight.”
These gas pipelines from Nord Stream 2 will also affect U.S. energy companies. European Commission data shows that 35 percent of U.S. LNG was exported to the EU in 2019.
Carafano argues that Europe doesn’t need to be dependent on Russia to find good energy suppliers.
It is unclear how long Cruz’s suspension of Burns’ certification will last. The Senate would need 60 votes of support to overturn Cruz’s suspension of certification, which would require the support of all Democratic senators and 10 Republican senators.
Burns’ nomination currently has the support of eight Republican senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee.