WP: Trump’s exit from the Open Skies Treaty will benefit only Russia

Amid growing global tension, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty can only further aggravate the discord between Moscow and Washington, writes The Washington Post. According to the publication, such a rash decision will not only deprive the US of the most valuable intelligence about the actions of the Russian military, but also lead to a new round of the arms race.

WP: Trump's exit from the Open Skies Treaty will benefit only Russia

The degree of distrust in US-Russian relations is only growing, so why aggravate the situation? According to some reports, US President Donald Trump is seriously considering withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, a pact that since 2002 has provided transparency in the field of military activity in various countries. It was especially useful in terms of monitoring the course of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which “is fueling Russia.” “Why, then, suddenly needed these blinders?” – wonders The Washington Post.

The Open Skies Treaty, which 34 states have signed, is not one of the heaviest arms control agreements like the ABM Treaty and the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate and Shorter Range Missiles (INF Treaty) – both of them are already dead. The Open Skies Treaty is a useful agreement that is designed to strengthen mutual trust and allows observation flights to detect any military activity on earth.

Flights are carried out in accordance with specific rules, and the data collected is transmitted without fail to the country over which the aircraft was located. Although the United States has a significant satellite constellation that facilitates observation, the Open Skies Treaty also allows countries that do not have such resources to control the situation.

The United States and Russia had some disagreements in this regard, which, inter alia, relate to flights over Kaliningrad, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, these difficulties can hardly justify the US exit. On the contrary, the legs of this idea of ​​Trump, apparently, are growing from the position of former national security adviser John Bolton, who has always been famous for his dislike of documents, which, in his opinion, impose excessive restrictions on the United States. Although the US decision to withdraw from the treaty has not yet been announced, it may follow in the very near future, the newspaper said.

However, Trump should change his mind. According to Congressman Eliot Engel, the administration did not hold any consultations with the US allies or Congress about the agreement.

In recent years, the arms control treaty system has suffered from mutual distrust and lack of political will. The INF Treaty – an agreement that was once honored as a document that stopped the arms race in Europe – now lies in ruins. The next major decision in this area will concern the extension of the START III treaty on strategic arms reduction between the US and Russia. The agreement expires at the beginning of 2021, but it is unlikely that the administration would pay serious attention to this issue.

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