The Trump Administration exits the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement between the U.S. and other countries, most notably Russia, that has existed for nearly 20 years.
The Open Skies Treaty allows countries to perform unarmed surveillance flights over other countries to monitor military activities, weapons, and troop movements from above. It also allows countries to share surveillance of each other’s neighboring enemies to prevent a conflict.
Trump’s decision doesn’t stop there, though. He also makes sure that the incoming Biden administration won’t be able to re-enter the treaty.
Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien claims the decision is a response to Russia’s long-term violations of the treaty. In May, when these plans were first announced, Mike Pompeo blamed Russia restricting Open Skies flights for the decision.
If Russia doesn’t want the U.S. to perform these surveillance flights, why would we throw in the towel instead of trying to find out what Russia is hiding? Ending the program isn’t a punishment towards Russia; it’s giving them what they want and hurting our other allies.
Note: Some sources claim the treaty has existed for nearly 30 years. Negotiations began in the early ’90s, but the operation didn’t begin until 2002.
Photo: Lucas Miguel (not a photo of Russia)