Lots of people know Phyllis Schlafly from her views on feminism and the family. However, not as many people know about Phyllis’s passion for rejecting bad treaties coming from the international elites. I’m sure Phyllis would be happy to see President Trump withdrawing the United States from the inept Treaty on Open Skies. In theory, the treaty was supposed to enable the United States to send aerial reconnaissance planes to Russia and vice versa in the interest of military transparency. Just like so many other international treaties, it really sounds like a great deal all the way around.
The only problem is that other nations don’t have the same tendency as the United States does of keeping its word. Russia is happy to spy on American civilian and military targets from the air, but when it comes to letting American planes check on them, they aren’t so keen on the idea. Moscow has actively prevented American planes from entering regions like South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and the highly militarized Kaliningrad. They’ve also prevented Americans from observing joint exercises with 120,000 Chinese troops. Under the Treaty on Open Skies, America had every right to observe those exercises, but Russia just doesn’t keep its promises.
For years, Russia and others have gotten away with these kinds of shenanigans because we haven’t had a president with the guts to stand up to other nations since the Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992. Now that President Trump is in charge, that isn’t a problem. Trump is a dealmaker through and through. If he sees the United States in a bad deal with nations who don’t value integrity, he’s not afraid to withdraw until the plaining field is level again.
That’s exactly what happened with the Open Skies Treaty. After a careful review by President Trump’s Administration, he pulled out of the bad deal. However, he left the door wide open to reenter the treaty if Russia ever comes back into compliance with the terms of the deal. That’s the kind of measured leadership America needs. We have to be just. We have to work with others. However, we also need to be strong and look after the interests of the American people.