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The international community knows that if you give Vladimir Putin an inch, he will take a mile.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Putin is using modern technology and loopholes to exploit a goodwill treaty signed by nations back in 1992.
Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States. Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty.
Russia will formally ask the Open Skies Consultative Commission, based in Vienna, to be allowed to fly an aircraft equipped with high-tech sensors over the United States, according to a senior congressional staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the staff member wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
…Steve Rademaker, former assistant secretary of state for the bureau of arms control and the bureau of international security and nonproliferation, told Congress at a hearing on security cooperation in Europe in October that Russia complies with the Open Skies Treaty, but has “adopted a number of measures that are inconsistent with the spirit” of the accord.
The treaty, for instance, obligates each member to make all of its territory available for aerial observation, yet Russia has imposed restrictions on surveillance over Moscow and Chechnya and near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, he said. Russian restrictions also make it hard to conduct observation in the Kaliningrad enclave, said Rademaker, who believes Russia is “selectively implementing” the treaty “in a way that suits its interests.”
If Russia refuses to comply with the Open Skies Treaty, the United States should not be granting them any kind of special permissions, period. There is no reason why the United States should be opening itself up for surveillance when that level of transparency is not reciprocated.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have continually proven they lack the backbone to stand up to Putin when it counts. Their progressive diplomacy does not work in the real world the way it did in their university “political theory” classrooms, and they both need a reality check.
We need to elect a president who understands that you can’t force bad guys to follow laws, and you can’t expect untrustworthy countries like Russia to behave ethically on the international stage.