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The US Is Leaving The Open Skies Treaty

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The US Is Leaving The Open Skies Treaty

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US President Donald Trump has announced that the US is leaving the Open Skies treaty, which allows mutual unarmed surveillance flights over member countries as a confidence building measure. He blamed Russia for the decision:

“I think we have a very good relationship with Russia, but Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty,” Trump said on Thursday, adding: “Until they adhere we will pull out.”

The Open Skies treaty, first officially proposed by US President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 (and reportedly rejected by the Soviet Union), was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002. The treaty is used in part to help verify arms control agreements, and would affect the US military’s ability to conduct aerial surveillance of Russia and other member countries. It offers all signatories, regardless of size, a role in gathering information about military forces and is regarded as a wide-ranging international effort to promote military transparency through ‘mutual aerial observation’.

Over 1,500 Open Skies flights have been conducted since the deal entered into force in 2002, according to media reports. The US Air Force used two Boeing OC-135B aircraft for the conduct of its reconnaissance flights under the treaty, each assigned to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

The US Is Leaving The Open Skies Treaty

Participating States in the Open Skies Treaty

The administration also pulled the United States out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia last year, which had limited the development and deployment of short-range ground-based missiles. Under New START, the United States and Russia agreed to limit deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 and continue with on-site inspection protocols, test launch notifications, and data exchanges, vital mechanisms for ensuring a degree of predictability especially during periods of tension. With the expiration of New START in February 2021 and seemingly no clear path to an extension, that gives added importance for the Open Skies treaty.

Senior officials said the withdrawal will formally take place in six months, based on the treaty’s procedure for withdrawal, which also requires a meeting of all signatories within 60 days to review the matter. The prospect of such a withdrawal last year was roundly condemned by senior members of several congressional committees:

“In a letter to White House national security advisor Robert O’Brien, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was “deeply concerned” by reports that President Donald Trump is considering withdrawal from the treaty.

Similarly, a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., also signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Senate Armed Services Committee member Jack Reed, D-R.I., called withdrawal from the treaty “another gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Mendendez said in his letter, “Not only is there no case for withdrawal on the grounds of national security, there has been no consultation with the Congress or with our allies about this consequential decision. Any action by this administration to withdraw from critical international treaties without the approval of the Senate is deeply concerning.”

The suggestions late last year that the US was considering withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty also prompted a negative response from many of the US’ key allies:

“European support for Open Skies so far has included a joint verbal demarche, or diplomatic protest, to the National Security Council from a number of Nordic countries, and another joint demarche from Germany, the U.K. and France; Germany’s ambassador to the U.S. reportedly also made a visit to the White House to argue on the treaty’s behalf.

Sweden, a particularly active participant in the fight to save Open Skies, sent a letter from its defense minister, Peter Hultgvist, to the U.S. Defense Secretary…

“A well-functioning Open Skies Treaty contributes to the ability to hold states, including the Russian Federation, accountable for breaches against the norms and principles that underpin the European security architecture. The Treaty is vital as one of very few remaining confidence and security building measures,” Hultqvist wrote in the Oct. 24 letter, obtained by Defense News.

“One aspect of maintaining the Treaty is to work with other participants to curtail any violations. In our view, it important that violations of others not be taken as grounds for withdrawing from the Treaty altogether,” Hultqvist wrote.”

However, it is not yet clear how they will respond this time round. TASS reports that:

“The NATO headquarters has confirmed the plan to hold a North Atlantic Council meeting on May 22 to address Washington’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, a staffer of the NATO press service told TASS Thursday.

The alliance also expressed concern about the Russia’s alleged “selective implementation of the Open Skies Treaty.”.

“All Allies agree that arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation make essential contributions to achieving the Alliance’s security. At the 2018 Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government reiterated their concern over Russia’s selective implementation of the Open Skies Treaty, and that this undermines our security. In particular, we are concerned that Russia has restricted flights over certain areas. Allies continue to consult closely on the future of the treaty and the North Atlantic Council will meet tomorrow to discuss the issue,” the press service staffer noted.”

The US announcement raises the immediate question: will the remaining signatories still permit overflights by other States that remain committed to the treaty (and exclude flights by the US), or will they also suspend participation or withdraw from the treaty? It could be argued that Russia and other non-NATO States would be most disadvantaged by such an arrangement (permitting overflights by the remaining member-States), as the US would still have access to information gathered by its allies’ overflights of Russia one way or another, while Russia and Kazakhstan would lose their ability to gather corresponding information from US airspace completely.

The 35 state parties to the Open Skies treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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  • Ilya

    How did they not adhere to it – did they fly planes with weapons, or did they fly planes without military personnel of member states they were flying over? Pointless questions of course, the answer is always ’cause I said so’ for the autocrats.

    • Zionism = EVIL

      You can’t have a treaty with lying cunts. In any case with satellite technology aerial surveillance is childs play. The Americunts are dying in the streets like rabid dogs anyway and nothing to verify, but the FACT that the Jew parasites have bled them dry and bankrupted them.

  • <>

    Russia and China keep developing new weapons and break the signed deals, then they are surprised that the U.S decides to leave those unrespected agreements. Just a quick question, who started developing hypersonic missiles first or new nuclear ICBM’s? we know the answer.

    • Black Waters

      The U.S broke all agreements when they started expanding to the East. So- Fuck off- with you bullshit.

      • Ashok Varma

        US has a bloody history of lies,genocide and broken treaties, just ask the native “Indians”. The most recent example is the globally negotiated treaty with Iran which the US disgracefully broke.

        • d’Artagnan

          To use the racist ignorant term “American Indians” to describe the native people of the land was just a beginning glimpse into European-American hubris.

      • <>

        And Russia has expanded to the ME, so what’s your point? they still broke the agreement.

        • Wizzy

          Was there an agreement against Russia’s expansion in the Middle East? NATO committed that they’d not expand eastwards

          • <>

            Just don’t say only the U.S is doing it, China is also expanding using their economic power to buy other countries. It’s just that SF readers are filled with hate to the U.S and Israel, that they ignore the facts.

          • rightiswrong rightiswrong

            China owns Haifa port you three skinned pervert, using Israeli ports as part of the Silk Road.
            China is Israels largest trading partner now.

          • Nana-Chan

            Who cares if Russia expands into the Middle East? Let them. When did NATO commit that they’d not “expand eastwards.” I’m history major, and I’ve never heard of such a treaty. What’s the name of the treaty? And why would they ever agree to such.a thing? More NATO members in Europe means fewer conflicts. Even a school child knows this.

        • Fantax

          Who broke the agreement of 1990 (treaty that allowed Germany to reunify) and expanded the NATO to the east to the borders of Russia?

      • Nana-Chan

        That’s pretty stupid. How did the US expand east? lol East into the UK? lol What treaty did the US break? tee hee

    • Ivan Freely

      First off, there are no deals with China to begin with. Second, the moment the Clinton’s violated the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” regarding NATO expansion as established between Reagan and Gorby pretty much gave the Russians the heads up on the future. Lastly, there are no agreements with Russia regarding the Middle East or even Latin America. Washington brought this onto themselves.

      • Nana-Chan

        “Gentleman’s Agreement” lol What? lol Surely you jest, Ivan. I don’t think anyone here has heard of the Stalin-Hitler Gentlemen’s Agreement or the Dayton Gentlemen’s Agreement or The Gentlemen’s Agreement of Paris or or The Gentlemen’s Agreement of Versailles! lol

        Ivan, you sound like fool if you expect us to believe that US, Europe, and Russia would have taken such an important security topic and merely made a secret “gentlemen’s agreement”. Do not insult our intelligence, lad.

        Russia’s neighbors do not want to be part of Russia’s world. Heck, most of Russia doesn’t want to be part of Russia’s world. When the Federation collapses, the world will welcome independent Tatarstan and Buryatiya Republic

        • Black Waters

          The ony place nearing it’s collapse is the whole west, primarily the U.S gestapo and Nazito. The U.S gestapo it’s in Damage control mode, they are censoring all they can to avoid losing control (sadly the the process already started) THERE’S no escape from the economic collapse, those trillions and trillions in debt will hit hard the reichstag in Washington.

          Most people is waking up to the propaganda, without food even americunts will have to react.

          Even the people who paid you won’t be able to keep giving you leftovers, you will need to get a real job.

          • Nana-Chan

            lol You’re hilarious! Oh…are you being serious? What a poop head.

  • Zionism = EVIL

    Just watching their Jew cunt “senator” on PBS telling usual lies about Russia and saying that the Americunts are leaving the open skies because “Russia is not abiding by treaties and has annexed Crimea and Georgia”. The stupid lying motherfucker did not have the decency to acknowledge that the Ameriunt criminals have broken very treaty on earth, including the JCPOA with Iran and that they have invaded and destroyed half the planet and the Zionist arsewipes are illegally squatting in Palestine and the Americunts have illegally occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and killing millions. These shameless bastards need to be nuked and put out their misery. What a bunch of low life liars, dumbass Americunts and their criminal Jew masters.

    • Nana-Chan

      Yes, but it is true that Russia invaded Ukraine and illegally occupies land in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. All of us here are intelligent enough to know that Trump is colluding with Russia. Another good sign is that Iran’s theocracy most likely will not survive.

  • Ashok Varma

    US is a rogue regime on the decline and simply can not be trusted.

    • Nana-Chan

      Why can the US not be trusted? By whom? Decline? Why it’s true that China is becoming US’s main competitor, it’s not accurate to say that the US is in decline. Yes, it’s true that they are led by a corrupt imbecile. But that will all come to an end soon. It will be interesting to see what Russia’s strategy will be. It lost precious time these past years. It wanted influence and prestige that it doesn’t deserve. Now, the US and EU can not trust or respect Russia. China, will not be willing to give anything to Russia now that China is stronger and more influential than Russia. Putin gambled away Russia’s future.

  • d’Artagnan

    Nothing ethical can ever be expected from the US. A string of lies, wars and broken treaties.

  • Lone Ranger

    Always blame the other side with your own crimes.
    CIA protocol 101…

    • rulla

      CIA just adopted and is applying their masters’ behavior.

  • Wizzy

    The US and Israel are getting ready for a world war. It is not all coincidence that you see these things. Everything is tailored towards ushering in Israel as the next power.

    • Decatur Guy

      Very possible but I think TPTB are planning on sacrificing Israel. That Lewis fellow (fake hebrew) is gobbling up the Patagonia (Chili/Argentina). Ukraine will accommodate “refugees” from Israel. Patagonia will be home to the untold numbers of Khazars from across the globe wishing to seek refuge there. IMHO, leveling Israel will deal a horrific blow to Christianity as they’ve been inundated with prophecy books/movies for decades.

      • Ivan Freely

        Ukrainian Nazis wouldn’t allow Israeli refugees in. If the refugees manage to settle in, they would be constantly attacked by the Nazis. Besides, Ukraine is a failed state; not a good place to run to,

    • Nana-Chan

      Oh don’t be a silly-wizzy.

  • John

    “I think we have a very good relationship with Russia, but Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty,” Trump said on Thursday, adding: “Until they adhere we will pull out.” ……………. He is lost in La La Land.

    Words have fundamental meaning Mr. President. Getting over a mike and slathering into it does not create confidence or veracity. It is only through consideration of the words, combined with observation of ones actions, that good will can be arrived at. With all due respect for the office of the US Presidency, you are probably the biggest fool to occupy its office in quite a while. Considerng the string of the last 3 characters that have been there, this is no small feat.

    • Nana-Chan

      One does not need to respect the office of the POTUS if the POTUS does not respect it. I must disagree, The last three presidents did their best and represented the US well. Prez Bush…..well…sometimes he faltered, but put in the perspective of Trump, and he was not bad at all.

      • John

        Hey Chan. You don´ it get it, so I will lay it out for you man. It is tradition amongst active and former US military personel to speak with respect towards the chain of command. It also alleviates all negative scrutiny from all US intelligence services. It is done because of those who have served and sacrificed for the country, in all ways and not just militarily. We need to follow orders but, you can say what you need to say about any subject and it makes the point that you are extremely serious about what you are saying. It is not to be taken lightly. So yeah, it is protocol and I observe it. You have nothing to do with that and demostrated you had no knowledge of this but, that is okay.

        as far as the last three US Presidents, they aided in completely screwing up the country to the last degree. Much of what we have here now is because of them and their predecessors. So, I beg to differ on that one too and that is a giant misperception. I wish well to you.

        • Nana-Chan

          John, you were never in the military. And anyone that supports the Dumbbell is either a scoundrel or an imbecile.

          • John

            pffft, Still lost buddy. Take five.

          • Nana-Chan

            Well, I don’t take you as a scoundrel….

  • rightiswrong rightiswrong

    Russia must not allow any vassal states the right to fly over Russian territory. The Germans, Swedes, Brits and Ukraine will only share their data with the US.
    Russia has to accept that the war is coming, soon. Russia must start to arm Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria and Algeria with nuclear missiles. They will be well rewarded for doing that.

    Just promise Bezos, Gates and Adelson with a Satan 2 wherever they hide out, and the US fascists might start to behave, like proper human beings should.

    • Nana-Chan

      Why would they need to arm them with nuclear weapons? lol Why, that’s the dumbest thing that I’ve read today. And I’ve read Trump’s Twitter feed. Iran, Syria, and Algeria with nuclear weapons? lol

  • IMHO

    The U.S. government has a long history of reneging on treaties. Even it’s own Constitution is a deception that promises lies.

  • Nana-Chan

    This is all a ruse by Trump. He believes it will appear to make him look string against Russia. Instead, this doesn’t hurt Russia at all. And in the meantime, Trump refuses to strengthen or enforce the sanctions on Russia