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Pipeline Politics Tests Merkel’s Mettle

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German-American friendship has always stopped where Russian gas began to flow. Even 40 years ago, with the Cold War in full swing and the U.S. protecting West Germany with some 220,000 GIs, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt went mano a mano with Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan over a barter deal for trillions of cubic feet of Soviet gas.

Back then, the U.S. caved, but now Chancellor Angela Merkel is up against Donald Trump, who with his usual finesse has ordered her to “stop buying gas from Putin.” At stake is a new pipeline, Nord…

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