The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has expressed alarm with the possibility that the US will pull out of a vital treaty with European allies and Russia.
Rep. Eliot Engel of New York on Monday sent a letter to the US national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, in which he said he was “deeply concerned” by reports that the White House was considering withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty.
“I request your personal engagement on this matter to ensure that the United States does not unwisely and rashly withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, which continues to serve American national security interests and is particularly important as a check against further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” Engel wrote.
The Open Skies Treaty was signed by the US, Russia, and 22 other countries in an effort to promote transparency among nations. Thirty-four countries are now members of the treaty, which was initially signed in 1992.
Countries that are part of the treaty must notify other nations 72 hours in advance of missions to conduct an observational flight, to which the host country has one day to respond.
Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, agrees that the treaty has been beneficial for the US, its allies, and even Russia. [Continue reading…]
Ben Rhodes, who formerly served as deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, tweeted, “Sometimes the only way to explain/predict Trump’s foreign policy is to think ‘what would Putin want the US to do?'”
Jon Wolfsthal, who worked as Obama’s senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council, also linked the reported withdrawal to Putin. “Russia hates Open Skies because it requires them to let Ukraine fly over their country,” he explained. “This is another Trump gift to Putin.”
Meanwhile, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul expressed his disbelief at the reported decision. “We are now pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty? Really? Please tell me this can’t be true.” [Continue reading…]