“American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”
While the world was focused on President Donald Trump’s overnight blindsiding of the Pentagon and U.S. allies, announcing he is pulling troops out of Syria so Turkey can crush Kurdish forces that have helped the U.S. fight ISIS, the Trump administration was quietly laying plans to pull out of a key and critical compact, the Open Skies Treaty.
First proposed in 1992, since 2002 the Open Skies Treaty has allowed the now 34 signatory nations to fly over each others’ territory for the purpose of monitoring and recording military deployments and movements.
In the real world, the Open Skies Treaty allows the most powerful nations on earth to monitor Russian military movements.
And President Trump wants to end that.
U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel on Monday sent Trump’s Acting National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, a letter demanding he “ensure that the United States does not unwisely and rashly withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.”
Chairman Engel also called the possible withdrawal “reckless,” and noted “American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”
Chairman Engel’s letter was followed by this tweet:
Observation flights under the Treaty have generated additional info regarding Russian military action in Ukraine & provided a check on further Russian aggression. @NATO allies have stressed the importance of the Open Skies Treaty for their efforts to monitor Russia’s military.
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) October 7, 2019
Experts are perplexed and outraged.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia:
We are now pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty? Really? Please tell me this can’t be true. https://t.co/2KfZoYA8ep
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 7, 2019
Investigative journalist and expert on Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe says “Trump is acting like a kamikaze pilot destroying America in any way he can and in a hurry”:
Trump is considering pulling out of the open skies treaty. Definitely a birthday weekend for Putin
At this point trump is acting like a kamikaze pilot destroying America in any way he can and in a hurry. At home and especially abroad. We will pay for a long time from his damage pic.twitter.com/92ts8tzDbm
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) October 7, 2019
Dr. Michael Carpenter’s résumé says all you need to know:
“Dr. Carpenter previously served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control. He also served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia. Previously, Dr. Carpenter was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.”
He says pulling out is a bad idea:
I’ve been very critical of Russia’s cheating on the Open Skies Treaty and I do believe we need a serious discussion of its pros and cons. But a precipitous unilateral withdrawal is the wrong way to address those concerns and will damage the unity of the NATO alliance.
— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) October 7, 2019
Russian Media Analyst:
The Trump administration is pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, which allows the United States and our allies and partners in Europe to monitor Russian military deployments. Withdrawal risks dividing the transatlantic alliance. #Russia https://t.co/Zqst365U4J pic.twitter.com/UmbPR7cuRO
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 7, 2019
Image via Wikimedia
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Experts Gamed Out a Contested 2020 Election — All Scenarios Resulted in ‘Street-Level Violence’ in America
Experts are warning of a dark winter if the 2020 presidential election results are contested.
“On the second Friday in June, a group of political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics quietly convened online for what became a disturbing exercise in the fragility of American democracy,” the Boston Globe reported Saturday. “The group, which included Democrats and Republicans, gathered to game out possible results of the November election, grappling with questions that seem less far-fetched by the day: What if President Trump refuses to concede a loss, as he publicly hinted recently he might do? How far could he go to preserve his power? And what if Democrats refuse to give in?”
While former Vice President Joe Biden currently has large leads in public polling on the race, Trump has refused to say he will accept the results if he loses.
A Georgetown law professor and former Defense Department official who helped organize the Transition Integrity Project explained the situation to the newspaper.
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse,” Prof. Rosa Brooks explained. “The law is essentially … it’s almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it.”
The scenarios are dark.
“Using a role-playing game that is a fixture of military and national security planning, the group envisioned a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, one in which Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of government — the Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the military — to hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it,” the Globe explained.
“If it sounds paranoid or outlandish — a war room of seasoned politicos and constitutional experts playing a Washington version of Dungeons and Dragons in which the future of the republic hangs in the balance — they get it,” the newspaper reported. “But, as they finalize a report on what they learned and begin briefing elected officials and others, they insist their warning is serious: A close election this fall is likely to be contested, and there are few guardrails to stop a constitutional crisis, particularly if Trump flexes the considerable tools at his disposal to give himself an advantage.”
Historian Nils Gilman explained the leverage Trump has in a contested election.
“He doesn’t have to win the election,” said Gilman. “He just has to create a plausible narrative that he didn’t lose.”
Read the full report.
Trump’s ‘Nonstop’ Drive for Self-Destruction Is ‘Habitual and Incurable’: Presidential Scholar
The Associated Press has written a lengthy story about how Trump’s chaotic response to the pandemic has led to uncontrolled outbreaks and 130,000 dead Americans in just four months, and it notes that Trump has essentially stopped trying to contain the disease and has instead moved to wage culture wars against monument vandals.
Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, tells the AP that the president’s focus on protecting statues at a time when a deadly pandemic is killing thousands of people every week is an act of self-destruction.
“If he could change, he would,” he said. “It’s not helping him now. It’s just nonstop. It is habitual and incurable. He is who he is.”
Jillson also said that Trump’s habit of making a constant spectacle, which helped his presidential campaign in 2016, has become a massive liability during a time of national crisis.
“People would watch Trump and see the instability… the emergencies of his own making he would then claim to have taken care of, and be mildly entertained or at least not deeply worried,” he said. “A lot of that ‘Am I still amused?’ quickly gets to a ‘No’ answer.”
‘Very Concerned’ Fauci Issues Stern Warning: ‘Would Not Be Surprised if We Go Up to 100,000’ New COVID-19 Cases a Day
Dr. Anthony Fauci made a rare appearance Tuesday, speaking on Capitol Hill to issue a stern warning about the coronavirus crisis.
“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert at the National Institutes of Health, told Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
Right now nearly 2.7 million people in the U.S., at minimum, have been infected with the coronavirus. Deaths are just under 130,000. CDC Chief Dr. Robert Redfield last week said he believes the actual number of cases could be ten times higher.
Watch Dr. Fauci:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2020
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