From 2026, if all goes well, liquefied natural gas will arrive by tanker on the coasts of northern Germany, flow into cryogenic storage tanks at a temperature of minus 160°C, and then “gas again” before being channeled through the grid instead of Russian imports.
Germany currently has no LNG terminal. Within 72 hours of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it accelerated the construction of two. Of the exporters who benefit, the US is closer than Australia and unlike Australia QatarHe will not subject Berlin to another unpredictable autocracy.
It’s distasteful to argue, and maybe even think, but America will be the ultimate “winner” of the Ukraine crisis. Eight months after his Departure from Afghanistan indicated imperial decline, the nation’s strategic prospects change in unrecognizable ways. Last century’s “arsenal of democracy” could be its fuel source in this one.
And these exports are the least. When Germany honors his recent promise investing in defense, the US should be able to shoulder more of NATO’s financial and logistical burden.
A Europe that is more closely tied to America and at the same time less onerous: What the Kremlin wants to achieve by accident, no Kissinger could have invented. Far from ending the US turn to Asia, the war in Ukraine may be the event that will make it possible.
As for that part of the world, if the Chinese goal is to exorcise at least the Pacific Rim of US influence, the last six weeks have been training the size of the task. Japan could hardly do more Page with Kyivand therefore with Washington.
Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea’s president-elect, wants to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. A rapprochement between these East Asian friends of the US – but not always from each other – was aided by the threat of Sino-Russian unity.
All this leaves the question of Taiwan. It is easy to exaggerate the analogy from Ukraine, whose independent statehood, unlike that of the island, is recognized in Washington. At the very least, the potential cost to China of an attack – in lives, sanctioned trade and moral standing – is now too clear to be spelled out by the US.
In retrospect, although it was a debacle, what happened in Afghanistan last August masked the underlying strength of America’s place in the world. We experience a reminder of its economic weight and natural resources, as well as the intelligence assets predicting the fact, if not the bumpy progress, of Putin’s invasion. At the same time, it jogs the world’s memory of the greatest and most forgettable of all US assets: the unpopularity of its rivals.
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, we have an idea of what an alternative to a US-led world might look like. An autocratic axis in which strongmen support, or at least overlook, each other’s ravages is now more than theoretical. Not all countries flinch at the sight: not India and Israel, at least not as much Washington had hopedand that is only to give examples among the democracies.
But even nations that hedge must squirm and consider reputation costs. It is not the USA, the established hegemon, that is on the moral defensive. It is the revisionist powers. When Russia attacked, the idea that a world with a broader distribution of power would inevitably be fairer lost its false credibility.
Of course, people also flocked to the United States after the 9/11 attacks just to piss them off again. But al-Qaeda was only a spoiler of the international order, not a realistic heir to it.
People could be cynical about the US again (who gave them all the excuses by invading Iraq), knowing that no plausible usurper of their global role lurked in the wings and deserved a scrutiny of their own.
Russia shook off the turbulent 1990s. China’s economy was a sliver of its current size. The world had not yet begun its 15 consecutive years democratic retreat. Anti-Americanism was very affordable.
Well, like so much else, the cost has been increasing lately. If there is such a thing as the court of world opinion, it must now weigh the US not against an abstract ideal but against the reality of one Moscow-Beijing partnership of unequals. More than the billions of cubic feet of new gas orders or even Taiwan’s likely grace period, it’s this change in intellectual atmosphere that leaves America empowered. It just has to be better than the alternative to actually be very attractive.
https://www.ft.com/content/cd7270a6-f72b-4b40-8195-1a796f748c23 The US will be the ultimate winner of the Ukraine crisis