Sun, 17 Jan 2021

BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Washington announced on Sunday its withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies, walking further away from its due obligation to maintain global peace and security as the world's sole superpower.

In a world where challenges abound and crises boom, Washington's latest unilateral act has clearly added more uncertainties to the increasingly perplexed global community.

The most immediate concern of Washington's reckless departure is that the move has dismantled a venue for signatories to lower the risk of conflicts and build up trust.

The treaty, which was signed in 1992 and became effective in 2002, allows signatories to carry out unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other's territories to collect data on military activities so as to enhance mutual understanding, foster confidence, and promote military openness and transparency among Washington, Moscow and NATO members in the post-Cold War era. By 2019, 1,500 flights have been conducted safely under the treaty.

Now that Washington has turned its back on the treaty, the damaged pact would be conceivably less effective in mitigating risks of strategic misjudgement and taming geopolitical confrontation.

Thus, when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to justify the decision by alleging that the departure will make the United States safer, the Russian foreign ministry countered back by warning that neither European security nor the security of the United States and its allies themselves will benefit from Washington's irresponsible exit.

The U.S. unilateral move will further undermine the existing global arms control arrangements.

The treaty has been widely viewed as an effective part of the overall global arms control system, and has bolstered European security over the years.

Washington's wayward act represents the latest episode of the world's most powerful country's unscrupulous pursuit of "absolute security" in a world where collective security is embraced as the right choice.

For the records, it is not the first time the United States has acted to erode the world's arms control system. From quitting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to being reluctant to extend the New START Treaty, the United States has time and again frustrated the concerted efforts of the international community to achieve global strategic balance and stability.

Facing a capricious Washington, even allies of the United States have voiced deep concerns. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has expressed regrets, saying that "Our stance on the treaty has not changed: we see it as an important part of the arms control architecture."

By stubbornly putting its self-interests ahead of the world's common interests, Washington is also fortifying its image as an overbearing and egocentric superpower.

Over recent years, the United States has cast aside its duties as a responsible major country by quitting one international treaty and organization after another, including the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

Its excessive deviation from multilateral cooperation and complete betrayal of the spirit of consultation have undercut the world's collective drive to tackle climate change, contain nuclear proliferation, battle terrorism, and, most recently, fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Being addicted to breaking international commitments and treaties, the United States has degenerated into the top violator of the international orders and the greatest threat to global security.

In an age of growing interdependence, the most viable way to secure one's vital interests is to guarantee everyone's shared interests. Yet decision-makers in Washington, by pursuing the short-sighted doctrine of putting "America First," are simply backpedaling, and should reverse their wrong path as fast as they can.

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