Monday, April 06, 2020

The Americans are trying to kill us all again

The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it:

The Trump administration is determined to withdraw from a 28-year-old treaty intended to reduce the risk of an accidental war between the west and Russia by allowing reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has put off a full national security council (NSC) meeting on the Open Skies Treaty (OST), the secretary of defence, Mark Esper, and secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have agreed to proceed with a US exit, according to two sources familiar with administration planning.

A statement of intent is expected soon, with a formal notification of withdrawal issued a few months later, possibly at the end of the fiscal year in September. The US would cease to be a party to the treaty six months after that, so if a new president were elected in November, the decision could be reversed before taking effect.

As with their withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Trump administration is pretending that this is because of Russian non-compliance. But really its because of an ideology that the "world's greatest nation" shouldn't be "constrained" by agreements with "lesser" countries and a belief that its so powerful that it doesn't need them. And that is both toxic and dangerous - not just for America, but for the whole world.