The Trump administration confirmed the US will be leaving the Open Skies Treaty, which is a pact designed to reduce the risk of military miscalculations that could lead to war.
What We Know:
- The Open Skies Treaty was created in 1992 and allows member countries to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over other countries to collect data on their military forces and activities. It is the last major arms control treaty that the US will abandon under the Trump administration.
- Trump pulled out of the agreement because Russia pulled out. Trump stated “Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out”.
- The President made this move on Thursday in hopes of forcing Russia back into the treaty. “There’s a chance we may make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together” Trump said. “I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to pull out and they’re going to come back and want to make a deal.”
- The Open Skies Treaty is a part of a broad web of arms control agreements meant to ensure stability and predictability on the European continent and reduce the risk of misunderstandings that could spiral into conflict by ensuring transparency.
- European allies, who have lobbied for the US to remain in the treaty see it as a central part of their security infrastructure and the US decision to withdraw will likely add to the strain in transatlantic relations, analysts say.
- The Trump administration has already pulled out of an Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and has tried to set new conditions to renew the last remaining nuclear arms pact with Russia, the New Start Treaty, but experts and analysts say all but guarantee it will not be extended.
- Jon Wolfsthal, whose the director of Nuclear Crisis Group at Global Zero, said the Open Skies Treaty is a part of a set of reinforcing documents which create stabillity and predictability in and around Europe.”
Wolfsthal stated that the Trump administration’s approach to getting Russia to comply with multiple treaties by systematically destroying them makes it harder to create new treaties in their place.