Closing The Open Skies

Closing The Open Skies

Trump’s stonewalling on impeachment is the top story, snore.  Lower down and more important is Trump allowing Turkey to attack the Kurds in Syria with the support of Russia. Even GOP senators do not like this and ISIS fighters may get out. But, heck, those will go to Europe, and unlike the Btis and Canadians, the Kurds did not help us out in Normandy in WW II.  And, probably most important, Trump has major business interests in Turkey.

However, much less reported (although covered by David Ignatius in WaPo today), but arguably more important than either is Trump’s decision to withdraw from the “Open Skies” agreement with Russia to allow oversight flights by each over the other to test for “doomsday weapons” development, an idea initially proposed by Eisenhower in 1956.  This continues an ongoing collapse of nuclear arms control agreements, with Trump having withdrawn from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement last year, much to the consternation of most of Europe, although arguably Russia had been in violation of it for a long time.  Back in 2002 Bush withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile agreement, which his people thought was a much more important thing to do than fight al-Qaeda.

As of now there is only one remaining nuclear arms control agreement left between the US and Russia, the New Start of 2010, which puts caps on numbers of weapons.  It is due  to expire in 2021, and as of now no negotiations are going on between US and Russia, while both seem to be embarking on developing yet new kinds of strategic nuclear weapons.  This is a very dangerous situation.

The great irony is that supposedly Trump’s friendship with Putin was to have improved world peace by their cooperation. But while Trump continues to defend Putin on almost everything from assassinating journalists to annexing Crimea to letting Turkey invade Northeast Syria, the two are frozen when it comes to arguably the most important issue between the two: controlling nuclear weapons.  All I can think is that both are totally under the thumbs of their respective military-industrial complexes.

Barkley Rosser