Have you ever heard of the “Three Seas Initiative?” I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of Americans have never heard of it and few outside of Europe have either. However, it is a bloc of Eastern and Central European nations who are working together to try and advance common interests and their regional security–particularly in matters of infrastructure and energy. Most of these twelve nations were either in the Soviet Union or were part of the Warsaw Pact, its captive nations in Eastern Europe after World War II.
The first link and second link will offer readers a history of the membership and history of the Three Seas Initiative group of nations. Poland and Croatia are the main founders of this bloc, and one of its goals is to create an infrastructure that unites the nations of Eastern Europe along north-south roads, energy pipelines, etc. The “Three Seas” referred to in this bloc of nations are the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas, and the member nations are Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. Historically, major trade roads, pipelines, etc. have all been routed east-west along a line between Western Europe and Russia. Russia served itself by setting up an east-west routing of all vital infrastructures so trade and traffic would flow from Russia to its individual vassal states during the Soviet years. This system did not permit the Eastern European nations to conduct much trade or traffic between each other. The nations in the Three Seas Initiative want to rectify this situation and build major north-south trade and traffic routes from the Baltic sea to the Adriatic Sea to help the economies of all nations in the Three Seas Initiative. It is almost surely inevitable that nations linked closer together by trade and traffic will also form firmer political and military ties due to shared common interests. Many of these nations are already linked to each other via NATO and the EU, but they want to be more directly linked to each other as a common bloc.
President Trump sees a great opportunity for the USA in drawing closer to the nations of the Three Seas Initiative. Their leaders held a summit meeting in Poland at the same time that President Trump was in Poland on a state visit, and President Trump met with them and gave a speech to their heads-of-state about America’s willingness and ability to an asset and ally to them. A photograph of President Trump posing with the heads of this Eastern European bloc is in the third link, and his speech to them is in the fourth link. His speech isn’t long, and I’d urge people to read it. Not only was his presence and his speech to them a strong message of American solidarity with these nations on Russia’s doorstep, it was an unabashed sales pitch for American business ties to these nations. He commends Poland’s recently-built construction of a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminal, and noted the arrival of the first LNG tanker ship to unload exports of American LNG to Eastern European nations in the Three Seas Initiative. He hails the fact that Croatia is building a similar LNG terminal which can receive American LNG exports, starting in 2019. When these two LNG terminals are built, American LNG exports can reach all the Eastern European nations via connections from these two LNG ports.Trump also urged the Eastern European bloc of nations to buy American civilian and military products as well. Trump’s forging political and commercial ties to all the Eastern European nations should translate into the preservation and creation of many tens of thousands of American jobs. Trump promised to be a “jobs” president, and his strong advocacy for American business at the Three Seas Initiative bloc’s meeting lives up to that promise. Trump’s presence at their meeting also gave this new bloc some heightened international recognition and gravitas. Do not expect to see the Leftist American media notice or publicize this very positive action by Trump in behalf of American diplomacy, business and jobs.
Trump also pledged that the USA will not use its energy exports to their nations in any “coercive” way, a clear reference to Russia’s habit of using its exports of energy supplies to European nations as a means of controlling and coercing them on any number of issues. Currently, Russia is the prime supplier of energy to almost all European nations. Trump’s speech and actions indicate that he would like to see America become the prime energy supplier to much of Eastern Europe. This has clear implications for NATO and the EU as well. Stronger commercial ties between the USA and Eastern European nations will bind them closer to NATO in general and to the USA in particular. However, as Eastern Europe benefits from American energy supplies in the years ahead, it will highlight the fact that East Europe’s nations are more dependent on the USA than they are on the EU. With few exceptions, the nations in the EU have no energy supplies to sell to the Eastern European nations or anyone else. The Western European nations in the EU are (with the exception of the United Kingdom–which is leaving the EU) themselves very dependent on Russia for their energy supplies. Indeed, the EU has an inherent major weakness–it cannot supply its member nations’ energy needs and is dependent on other nations for energy supplies. Trump emphasized that fact in his visit and speech without having to actually mention it. All over Europe, everyone comprehended his message that the USA can not only protect you militarily, it can increasingly supply your energy needs as well. The EU can do neither for its own member nations, much less for any other nations.
The final link reports that the USA is once again exporting oil to other nations (my thanks to a reader for sending me this link). While the USA is not yet energy independent, it is more efficient to export some American oil production to foreign markets than to route the products for domestic use. America does have huge reserves of natural gas, and it is those supplies in the form of LNG exports that Trump was touting to Eastern European nations. Trump had a very warm reception in Poland, and I think all the nations of Eastern Europe were reassured by Trump’s advocacy of strong and long-term relationships between the USA and Eastern Europe’s nations.
Russia could not have been pleased by these developments.