This week Houston became the latest battleground in the international dispute over a pipeline project located more than 5,000 miles away from the Lone Star State.
The dispute over the project in question — the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany — is not new. But the debates in Houston show how intractable the issue has become, with the two sides sitting elbow to elbow and unable to even agree on why the project is being built.
From Germany's perspective, Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial endeavor that will double the volume of Russian gas flowing to its north shore on the Black Sea. To the United States and some European countries, it's a political tool to extend Russian influence over Europe.