May 21, 2020

Castro Statement on Trump Administration Withdrawal From the Open Skies Treaty

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, today released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration's withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty:  

“The decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty is the latest example of the Trump administration putting its ideological crusade against diplomacy above the security of the American people. Presidents from both parties have long recognized that we have a unique responsibility to reduce the risk of nuclear war because the United States and Russia possess over 90-percent of all nuclear warheads. Over the course of decades, we have carefully constructed a treaty infrastructure to prevent the catastrophe of nuclear disaster.

“Pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty is the latest section of this infrastructure that the Trump administration has removed without a compelling reason, following early blunders such as the withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Notably, in pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, the Trump administration failed to follow the law in notifying Congress 120 days in advance. Congressional oversight is so important because of the disastrous policy implications of this decision. The Open Skies Treaty provided us with invaluable intelligence about Russia’s forces and served as an important confidence building measure. The Treaty was particularly important to our NATO allies, many of whom lack alternative intelligence gathering measures. Once again, the Trump administration has scorned America’s closest friends. In earlier times, such as when the administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, we might have asked about their Plan B. We are no longer naive enough to think the administration has one. There is now only one strategic arms treaty left, New START, and we must redouble our efforts to save it.”

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