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tv   Inside Story  LINKTV  January 31, 2022 5:30am-6:01am PST

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with heavy snowfall in athens and istanbul. ♪ nick: this is al jazeera and these are the top stories. president biden has reiterated to ukraine washington's readiness to respond if russia invades. the u.s. has requested a public un security council meeting monday to discuss what it calls russia's threatening behavior. russia's foreign minister says the idea of war with ukraine is unacceptable. another official warned a nuclear missile crisis with the u.s. is inevitable if checks are not in place to turn tensions down.
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james has more. >> some experts believe putin may not have decided yet whether he is going to invade ukraine. the first meeting of the un security council on the current crisis is expected monday. russia will be looking for the support of china. that is why some diplomats believe the russians may wait to launch military action until the beijing olympics. nick: tina fatso says the country will return to constitutional order, when conditions are right. henri sandaogo damiba address the nation. the first female of -- first female president of honduras, xiomara castro.
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president biden has confirmed he will nominate the first black woman to the supreme court. he has praised outgoing justice stephen breyer for his 27 years on america's highest judicial body. prime minister boris johnson are conducting an inquiry into potential breaches of coronavirus restrictions. spotify is removing neil young after he asked to choose between him and joe rogan. young accuses joe rogan of spreading covid misinformation. the joe rogan experience is the top podcast on spotify with an estrogen -- estimated $200 million. ♪
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>> can europe be weaned off russian gas? -- are worried russia will turn off the gas. will the alternative fee enough to fuel europe energy needs? this is inside story. ♪ >> welcome to the program. russia is the biggest source of natural gas for europe. it is crucial for heating homes. moscow has disrupted gas flows in the past for political purposes. when russia annexed crimea in 2014. as tensions on ukraine worsen, eu leaders over it about history being repeated.
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clueless is scrambling to help european allies. it is negotiation with north africa, the middle east and asia. the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas is due to beat with the u.s. president monday. washington concedes diverting gas supplies would be a huge task. >> no question there are logistical challenges, especially moving natural gas. that is part of our discussion with a lot of these countries. again, these conversations are ongoing and we do not intend to fail. >> europe gets more than 40% of its natural gas from russia. one third of that passes through ukraine. moscow has already reduced the amount flowing into europe, causing shortages and pushing prices to record levels. russia has threatened to cut services further if sanctions are imposed on oil and metals. some countries depend on pressure more than others.
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md gets more than half of its gas from russia and that dependency would increase if the german government gives its final approval to the nord stream 2 pipeline. let's train our guests. popple flaig and how are -- >> in berlin, rick. a professor of political science at stanford university in berlin. welcome to the program. let's begin. this is not as easy as arisa's -- russia switching off the gas pipeline and america coming to rescue with new natural gas. it is more complicated than that. >> much more complicated. you know these gas pipelines, the pipeline gas from russia that dates 50 to six years back, these are old relationships. here, that lng gas, which comes
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personally from the u.s.. so, it is not quite -- it is not quite easy. for russia, it is also different. last time around, 2014, the crimea and ukraine prices happened because at that time, russia was totally dependent for its energy revenues on europe. now, about 30 plus percent of its oil goes to china. 40 plus percent to -- and in terms of gas, also the chinese offtake is increasing. 72%, it is dwindling. we are in a very different economic and geopolitical environment. >> does that mean that russia has any regard, the upper hand
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here? can it actually threatened to cut supplies, but not completely? but that does have an impact on europe. >> the russian official position is that russia will not threaten or cut supplies. but, if there is going to be further escalation, maybe. i don't know, some fighting on the border. that would more or less effectively -- gas and supply through ukraine. so, that's a situation where russian gas supplies to europe could be drastically cut. and maybe could be cut altogether. that would be bad for everyone. because russia, yes commit it has right now -- yes, russia has right now supplies of natural gas to ukraine and china. we are building out the capability to export some liquefied gas in the north. but still, the main russian
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client is europe. and of course, russia itself. russia supplies a lots of gas to its own people. you can't really diverge, right now, technically, the net -- the gas that goes to europe, to direct that the china. that won't work. if there is going to be --, all are trying to make it very short because it is going to be disastrous for all. >> oh leg -- this is not just a case of geopolitics being played out good it is also geo business. these pipelines are not just run by countries but they are run by corporations. a lot of those corporations are going to use billions if this goes on for any length of time. do they have a say in what russia might be able to do? >> i wouldn't think too much of the influence of corporations.
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it is very clear that it is not only about geopolitics it is also about business. the u.s. in december became the largest producer of liquefied gas. the industry all over the country urgently needs to explore new markets. it is very hard -- for everyone in the u.s. to understand why germany signed a deal with russia to enhance dependency when the united states provides security and germany buys even more gas from russia at times when, because of climate change, we will reduce the energy hunger that stems from fossil fuels. >> that it's a very interesting point. let's take that up with you. there is, like, we are talking about not just business, but we
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are talking politics as well. however, we have an interesting point. there americans provide security to germany. yet, germany's buying gas from russia. why? >> there is a historic relationship between russia and germany. the russo-german business goes well beyond gas. germany needs gas to heat its houses. when you look at what happened over the last few, in terms of the escalating gas prices and inflation, it was quite something. 400%, 500% more. that was quite a bit. in that sense, if -- this is important. we all want to be less dependent on fossil fuels, but the energy
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transition is not going to happen overnight. let's not forget that gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. it is a good transitional fuel. and that sense, it is important that billions of dollars have been invested into the nord stream 2 pipeline. >> this is not just about cover than the west worrying about its energy supplies. pressure relies on this foreign currency. the money it makes from oil and gas pipelines. so, for russia, this is going to harm russia as well? >> of course. any kind of breakup of relationship with europe will harm russia immensely. europe is russia's -- the european union is russia's biggest trading partner. china right now is number one, but europe is more important. there is a lot of business
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relationship especially between mas -- russia and germany. there's a lot of connections on different levels. vladimir putin is very fluent in german. he addressed the bundestag once in german. russia was always looking for a special relationship with germany, and germany very wants to make germany a hub for russian gas. to all of western europe. possibly bypassing ukraine. and that would be a breakup of that relationship with the very costly in terms of political and in terms of money too. >> this is not the first time we have seen energy being used as a diplomatic political weapon. this happened in the 1970's when opec decided it was not going to supply the west with oil over a
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variety of different things, including a much money they were getting. so, have there been lessons learned from previous situations like this? or, is it once again going in blindly? >> this is actually something that history seems to repeat. because the situation in the 1970's, when opec entered the scene as a cartel, drastically increased not only the energy but political costs of energy for energy hungry industrialized countries like germany, we had a social democratic government. that government used trade relations with russia as a trust building instrument to widen the scope of dialogue with the soviet union counterparts, to pave the way for what then happened as the end of the cold war. and the reunification of germany
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and the reunification of the divided continent. again, we have a social democratic government and a lot of the older personnel is flirting with the idea that we could do something similar. try to understand russia's interests and try to build the bridge and be less confrontational. this is also strongly supported by governors of the eastern part of germany who also believe that russia has a point in its line of argumentation. but, germany is isolated in that perspective. everyone else believes that it would be far better if the west speaks with one voice, and sends a signal to pressure that it should never cross redlines. and again, violate international law. this mismatch energy is not just a question of will our homes be warm, but also, will germany pay a price by dropping nord stream 2? >> i see you kind of
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disagreeing. why? >> i am agreeing and disagreeing. i think the german government, especially in the eastern part of germany, they are very close -- they do want to see that energy a relationship with russia going on. where i disagree slightly is that the previous government, with ms. merkel, it was very clear that nord stream 2 was nonnegotiable and it will go ahead. thinking of the billions of dollars that have been invested, you can understand why that is the case. whereas now, yes, olaf scholz wants to see nord stream 2 come online, but he is in coalition with the greens who looked very differently at fossil fuels, of which gas is one, and especially
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the foreign minister is very skeptical of russia and human rights policy. and is very vocal about it. so yes, i think olaf scholz still wants to see nord stream 2 ahead. it is not quite as clear-cut i say think it was before the new government. >> poppel -- powerful -- one of the big suppliers of liquid -- i could never say that. lng. has been, will be meeting with biden shortly. is that of concern to the russians? >> this is an opportunity for the americans gas industry to increase its share of the european market. they have new export facilities coming online soon. so, they can increase their exports of gas and natural gas.
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and shall gas. the european market is a buyable -- is a reliable market. also, there is a political agenda there to put to the europeans into line and kind of lead them in a quest against russia. that is kind of how it worked during the cold war. and now, apparently, it has -- the card table, the old cards with a new meaning. once during the 1967 war in the middle east, america which was an oil exporter, helped europe when there was a boycott of europe oil exports. it didn't work. in 1973, it was already very different. and then it did work.
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but america now is taking on that position. that is, for them, very advantageous. >> what you think? america is taking on, effectively, energy diplomacy, energy policies that are going to help it with europe? is it that simple? i think it isn't. >> i was surprised years ago when the congress sanctioned companies that are located in allied countries, nato countries. this was unheard of that a country flexes muscles with such an obvious economic interest, although people depend on each other and we are in the same boat when it comes to the security alliance. coming back to the previous question, maybe i didn't make myself clear. what i wanted to say is, this is the picture of interest in the new government. if you ask my personal opinion, the level of escalation makes --
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data. it is not happening. the european pressure, the pressure from neighboring countries, the pressure from the united states, makes it very unlikely that germany can go on with conditions. >> let's put that to both of our guests. colleen, nord stream 2 is dead. >> i do not think it is dead. in the end, we are dealing with -- and if gas prices are going too high -- it is heat versus food. people will go in. it's billions of dollars. it is not gas, it is also rwe billions. quickly coming back to natural gas, yes, u.s. l&d can come back to europe a we don't have that many reclassification terminals
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that can take out all the pipeline gas coming from the east. let's not forget in terms of gattaca -- there -- china is becoming the largest importer of lng after japan and korea. we have real competition here for the -- for the lng molecules. >> pablo pipeline -- the nurturing pipeline, berlin says it is effectively dead pared what you think? >> from moscow, that would be very bad news. maybe it is not that. technically, it is built. it is there. if the present crisis over ukraine between russia and the west emma russia and nato get some kind of more or less permanent resolution, maybe nord
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stream 2 could be part of that. kind of fit -- kind of a bonus for russia acting in a more consensual manner in some other ways. it could be part of a quid pro quo between russia and the west. at least maybe germany would want to make it part of a quid pro quo. it is not most likely yet dead, but there are serious problems. >> anything there that might change your mind? >> if this is a -- bargaining chip, one can discuss it. it is difficult to see what other outcome could be presented as a positive result that moscow can present as a victory in this confrontational situation. if this discussion were a year ago, i would have totally agreed that we talk about energy and we are dependent on imports, given
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that germany is -- for new and coal at the same time, we cannot increase renewables as quickly as necessary to feed the energy hunger in an industrial country like germany. but now that we face 100,000 russian troops encircling ukraine, germany is not willing to deliver arms to ukraine and everyone else is looking at the largest country in europe that doesn't live up to the expectations of nato and what ukraine expects from germany, and if we then continue business as usual with opening up nord stream 2, that could become completely unreliable. if this is the bargaining chip and what the kremlin is mostly interested in, that they do not want to dumb billions that have been invested in nord stream 2, it might be a happy ending for everybody. >> let's talk about the other bargaining chip.
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qatar has a number of deals with eastern countries, particularly china. a lot of those skills are on 25 years -- a lot of those deals are on 25 year terms. how does that change when it comes to spare capacity? does qatar have the ability to give gas to europe or is it all tied up in long-term deals? if there capacity for qatar to get involved at the request of americans? >> there was capacity for qatar to get involved at the bequest of america, but there are limitations that. let's not forget, there is australia. other producers of lng who can chip in. again, it becomes a matter of price. yes, we have the geopolitical dimension, but we also have democracies. we have government to need to get reelected.
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the cost for heating people's houses in winter -- if they spiral out of control, that becomes tough. i am optimistic that one can find some sort of accommodation and that russia is very clear that this is part of their bargaining strategy to find some accommodation of nord stream 2. let's not forget, we all feel sorry for ukraine, but at has not been that clear cut or clear sailing between the u.k. -- between the ukraine and russia and between the ukraine and europe. gas, paying energy bills and so on, has been an issue. so, it is very complex. >> pavel, where does russia backdown? is it when they get assurances that ukraine does not join nato? is it when they withdraw their
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troops? or is it when there is simply a gas and oil solution? >> it is a complex situation and there are complex defendants in moscow. it is not that we are all canna marching here in one file. there are different opinions inside the kremlin. and the administration of how to deal with this situation. putin is the ultimate decision-maker, but he is more of a moderator between different groups of opinions. i hope that that will be -- well, there will be lots of military maneuvers. they are happening right now. heightened state of military readiness and all of that stuff. which could result in military escalation. or, it won't. and maneuvers will end. in the situation will come down.
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there, there will be time to do something along the front of negotiations. it is very complex. it is not the there is it -- it is not that there is own kind of situation, it is very complex for that complex. >> we are running out of time. i want to get to our guest in berlin. -- and germany is a big part, where are they holding the situation lands? are they hoping it will be over quickly? >> it is not so much a question of timing. the demand from russia to guarantee that nato and the european union want to expand any further, questions the core principle of what western organization stand for. this is the self-determination
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of asians who decide whether they join the organization or not. so, we cannot decide over other countries whether they send an application to join an organization or not. politically, or practically, ukraine is far from joining the european union or nato. everybody knows it. i'm i -- i do not really see what russia gets out of this. if it starts with a major statement that it is afraid of nato, or is attacking russian soil, and in the end, all he gets out of -- is the opening of nord stream 2, it is absurd. >> i want to thank all of our guests. i think you too for watching for you can see the program again any time by visiting our website. her for the discussion, go to
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also joined the conversation on twitter. for me in the whole team, goodbye for now. ♪
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