Open Sky Treaty
The Russians have been overflying Washington D.C. with a spy plane recently and it has the shortest member of the Faithful Five asking me – what’s up with that?
Thirty-four countries have signed the treaty permitting this, the theory being that each country will be MORE likely not to cheat and fulfill their treaty obligations if they are SURE the other side is also complying.
This is pure Ronald Reagan “Trust, but Verify” theory.
Even if Ronnie says so, which goes a long way with me, is this a good idea?
I believe it is for the following reasons.
The most important is, the treaty has extensive safeguards, like Air Force personnel actually on each Russian flight, etc. that protect against the flights being abused for other purposes.
Since, in theory anyway (don’t ask the Indians), we don’t sign treaties we don’t intend to honor, we don’t give up any military advantage here. Commercially, all this data is available from satellites already – if you are a McDonalds mid level type executive or higher. So, no real loss to us here militarily, on the U.S. over-flights.
But this is a two-way treaty.
Meaning we over-fly countries, such as Russia, that we are Not always confident are complying, and this up-close data, gathered and analyzed by our people — ostensibly the best in the world at this type of thing — is a valuable resource to our military. So, we lose nothing militarily and potentially gain very valuable info.
These surveillance opportunities in countries we aren’t sure of their intentions or activities in — is a big bonus.
I think, and I’m guessing here, that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan all would have signed this treaty. That’s good enough for me.