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James Stavridis

Nord Stream Explosions Show the Deep Sea Is Now a Battleground

The US isn’t prepared to defend internet cables, gas pipelines and oil rigs from underwater attacks. 

James Bond villain? No, Russian president.

James Bond villain? No, Russian president.

Source: Ria Novosti/AFP via Getty Images

Recent attacks against the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea have underscored the importance of the seabed as a zone of conflict in modern warfare. Unfortunately, the US and its Western allies are ill-prepared to protect their vulnerable networks far beneath the waves.

The series of pipeline explosions have yet to be definitively proved as sabotage or attributed to any nation, but most analysts believe that the likely culprit is Russia. Moscow would seem to be the primary beneficiary of the attacks, which may have been designed to send a signal to Western Europe (and to all participants in the global economy) that the Kremlin can put critical infrastructure on the seabed at risk.