Ex-VA Secretary Wilkie to Newsmax: Pipeline Attack a 'Putin Escalation' (Newsmax/"American Agenda")
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 29 September 2022 05:58 PM EDT
Robert Wilkie, the former Secretary of Veteran Affairs during the Trump administration, doesn't believe the United States had an integral role in the supposed attack on two natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea — running from Russia to Germany.
At the same time, Wilkie asserts the White House should exhibit transparency on this matter, given how it's only been seven months since President Joe Biden publicly stated, "There will no longer be a Nord Stream 2 [pipeline]. We will bring an end to it."
Regarding Biden's response from February, "What you … saw is more confusion and incompetence from this administration," Wilkie told Newsmax Thursday afternoon, while appearing on "American Agenda" with hosts Bob Sellers and Katrina Szish.
From Wilkie's perspective, the Biden administration essentially turned its back on an earlier commitment to have the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — a 1,200 kilometer-long offshore natural gas pipeline that was completed in September 2021 — being fully operational, and then suddenly wanting it shut down.
Also, Wilkie explains the list of potential saboteurs is a short one, since only the Swedish, British, American and Russian naval units have the capacity to desecrate a pair of natural gas pipelines buried deep in the sea.
"This is a [Russian President Vladimir] Putin escalation," says Wilkie, who, based on the initial evidence, concludes that Russia had something to do with the pipeline attack.
But now, Wilkie reasons this alleged sabotage, coupled with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, has brought Sweden and Finland — two nations that recently joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — even closer to its Western allies.
"And those are two powerful militaries," says Wilkie.
As Wilkie sees it, all these events tie into Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has been ongoing for seven months.
"The Russians are trying to get the European nations to pull out of the Ukraine," says Wilkie, alluding to the various NATO countries giving full support to the Ukrainian troops' defense initiative.
And that includes the United Kingdom, with Wilkie saying the British have been "providing minute-by-minute updates on Russian troop movements" since February.
It's also a economic power move on Putin's part, explains Wilkie, since the Russians have long been threatening an energy holdout to Western European nations, in terms of no longer exporting oil and natural gas to these energy-needy countries.
"This is Russia's way of telling [Europeans], 'You're going to be cold for this winter, and the next winter,'" says Wilkie, who also served under the administration of President George W. Bush as assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs.
When asked how the Trump administration might have handled these events in Europe, Wilkie maintains that everything would be different, if former President Donald Trump was exerting negotiating leverage with Russia.
"You could bring Russia's economy to its knees overnight" by holding diplomatic talks with China and other countries, discouraging Putin's actions over the last few months, offers Wilkie.
Instead, Wilkie says the Biden administration does nothing but make empty promises that ultimately go nowhere on a worldwide stage.
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