Just a little over a month after Russian planes conducted low-level flights over Washington and Bedminster, New Jersey — where President Trump was in residence at the time — the Trump administration announced restrictions on such flights will be imposed in the future.
According to the U.K. Independent, the flights were made as part of the Open Skies program, which allows member nations to inspect other nations via air. The program, which includes 34 nations, is meant to encourage military transparency.
However, the low-level flights in early August raised many eyebrows, particularly since they included the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
“The United States is notified ahead of time of the intended flight path of observation flights, participates in the development of agreed flight plans, has US observers on the aircraft during the flight, and receives a copy of the imagery taken by the Russian aircraft at the conclusion of the mission,” the State Department said at the time. “The Treaty does not preclude an observed State Party from taking mitigation measures at sensitive sites on the ground.”
According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription requred), the Trump administration’s announcement of new restrictions is a direct result of Russian limits on American flights over parts of Russia.
The Journal reported Tuesday that the Russian government is taking measures to prevent American planes from taking images in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave surrounded by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea.
“While the treaty permits a flight range of 3,418 miles (5,500km) per flight, the Kremlin enforced a ‘sub-limit’ of of 310 miles (500km) over Kaliningrad,” the U.K. Independent reported.
A senior State Department official told the Wall Street Journal that the move was meant to force the Russians to obey the tenets of the Open Skies agreement.
“We want to induce Russia to come back into compliance with the treaty,” the official said. “Open Skies is part of a gradual breakdown in relations. Russia wants to renegotiate the European security relationship.
The move, however, is more redolent of how President Ronald Reagan would have dealt with Russia than Barack Obama did. Reagan spent eight years in the White House facing down the Soviet Union and the United States won the Cold War because of it.
Trump shows no signs of backing down when it comes to Russia either — no matter how the mainstream media wants to spin it.
That’s a good sign for conservatives, and something that the Kremlin might want to take note of.
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