November 23 that the United States announced its official withdrawal from the Open Sky Treaty the previous day. This is another important arms control treaty that Trump has withdrawn from the beginning of his administration.
In total, there are more than 30 parties to the Sky Open Treaty, mainly between Russia and NATO as a whole. The withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty is a major blow to the security situation in Europe as a whole.
The so-called Sky Open Treaty is an important treaty led by the United States and Russia in 1992 and concluded by 35 countries. The treaty provides for unarmed aerial reconnaissance between signatories in each other’s territory, aiming to enhance military transparency and reduce misjudgment. The treaty stipulates that countries conduct about 100 surveillance flights to each other every year, of which 42 are aimed at Russia, and Russia also conducts 42 surveillance flights every year.
Although such investigative activities are confirmed in advance after communication with the host government and military, and coordinated, because NATO countries agree to open the sky to Russia, the trust between the two sides can be said to have increased considerably, which is of great significance for maintaining regional security in Europe.
Although the Sky Open Treaty is mainly implemented between Russia and NATO, it is essentially a wrestling field between the United States and Russia.
Although the United States withdrew from the Sky Open Treaty under the pretext of “Russia’s violation of the Treaty”, because the United States is the ally of NATO, even if the United States withdraws from the Sky Open Treaty, it can obtain first-hand intelligence from other NATO allies on Russia investigation from other allies through the intelligence-sharing mechanism within NATO.
However, Russia has lost an important investigative measure against the United States. The United States undoubtedly took a big advantage. No wonder Russia is extremely angry.
Russia does not want to withdraw from the Treaty of Open Skies. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s overall national strength has declined significantly, and its military strength has also declined simultaneously.
When the satellite reconnaissance system left over from the Soviet Union is basically exhausted, the best means to obtain first-hand reconnaissance information about the United States.
In the past decade of 2002-2020, Russia sent Tu-154 reconnaissance aircraft to detect important targets, including the White House and the Pentagon of the United States. The United States has indeed not discounted the implementation of the treaty.
But when the United States withdrew from the Sky Open Treaty, Russia completely lost a means of conducting aerial reconnaissance on the mainland of the United States.
Despite this situation, Russia still has to accept it. Because the Sky Open Treaty is not only a bilateral treaty between the United States and Russia, but also includes more than 30 European countries.
In the current extreme lack of satellite reconnaissance in Russia, in order to maintain its legal reconnaissance activities against European countries around Russia, Russia has to remain in the Treaty on the Open Skies, giving the United States a full advantage.
Russia has no other better choice for such an outcome. After all, Europe is Russia’s neighbor, and the change of military power in Europe is Russia’s primary concern. Although the North American continent is equally important, it is difficult for Russia to have both fish and bear’s paw when it insists on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty in the United States.
Russia is likely to stick to the Sky Open Treaty. In order to obtain the necessary information about the military movement of NATO countries in Europe, Russia can only open its own airspace in exchange.
The reason why the United States dares to bully Russia so blatantly is that the overall national strength of the United States is much stronger than that of Russia.
Even if Russia withdraws from the Sky Open Treaty, the United States can still obtain a large amount of Russian intelligence with its powerful satellite reconnaissance, while Russia cannot use the same means to obtain American intelligence.
Russia’s experience is actually another reminder: backwardness will be bullied, no matter who you are.