Nord Stream 2 and the Strategic Balance of Power

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Faculty Member of European Studies, Tehran International Studies & Research Institute, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D Student in Internation Relations, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

The pipeline project, Nord Stream 2 (NS2), has been an issue of controversies. Russia and Germany consider the project an economic contract, but the United-States and Eastern European countries have concerns about its geopolitical effects. These disputes have created a divide in Europe and have posed a threat to trans-Atlantic relations. The current research suggests NS2 can influence the strategic balance between great powers in the international system, giving energy leverage to Russia against United-States, and consequently to China by strengthening projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Our findings put forward that not only NS2, in case of realization, is a source of American decline, but also the debates on the issue are a sign of American struggling for protecting its precarious international position. By placing Europe in front of the United-States, NS2 could be one component of European strategic autonomy (ESA); meanwhile, it may jeopardize ESA by depending on Europe on Russia. Europe’s solution to gain ESA is to use its leverages such as normative one to manage the situation for outcomes like protecting Europe’s unity and economic interests.

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