US Abandons Open Skies for New Age Space Weapons

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2114 ... June 6, 2020
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US Abandons Open Skies for New Age Space Weapons

Prabir Purkayastha

With the US deciding to walk out of the Open Skies agreement, the US is signaling to the world that it intends to return to days of Pax Americana that existed post-World War II, when it was the sole possessor of nuclear weapons. It already walked out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002 under George W. Bush, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty under Trump. The only nuclear arms control treaty that still remains in place is the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which provides a rough limit and parity on the US and Russia’s nuclear arsenals. Its days also seem to be numbered, as it expires on February 5, 2021, leaving very little time for any serious discussion.

The Trump administration is now considering a resumption of nuclear tests, which would be in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT. Is this yet another treaty destined for the waste paper basket? This is apart from... other nuclear restraint treaties that the US signed with other states such as North Korea and Iran, and subsequently tore up unilaterally, prompting the view that the US is no longer capable of upholding treaties.

Marshall Billingslea, who is the US official arms control negotiator, has talked about how the US intends to spend Russia and China "into oblivion," as it had done with the Soviet Union earlier. Obviously, as an arms control negotiator, he is a fitting successor to John Bolton, whose chief claim to fame is wielding a hammer to smash all arms control agreements.

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