When the Trump administration gave six months’ notice last May that it was withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, it is unlikely to have been bothered that its exit would coincide with transition to a new government with different foreign affairs and security policies. This is what has happened. That Donald Trump has done nothing, despite the new political landscape, to put the withdrawal on hold reflects his divisive attitude towards political rivals regardless of public sentiment. It ranges from reversing former president Barack Obama’s promised policy achievements to trying to lock successor Joe Biden into isolationist positions at odds with his public stance. Withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty is the latest example, which does nothing for international efforts to avoid an arms race, advance disarmament and enhance global security. The 20-year-old, 35-nation treaty allows unarmed surveillance flights at short notice over member countries to collect intelligence on military strength and activities. It is designed to build trust and confidence between nations and give some sense of security against attack. Joe Biden presidency could reopen a window of opportunity for China: analysts The US’ excuse for withdrawing is that Russia has repeatedly violated the terms of the deal by restricting overflights and using its own overflights of American and European territory to identify potential strategic war targets. Russia denies the charge. The international community has condemned the US withdrawal as part of continued undermining of attempts to reduce the risk of conflict and build military transparency, not to mention a negative impact on arms control and nuclear disarmament efforts. It follows American withdrawal from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the Iranian nuclear agreement. Trump’s conviction that such international commitments are unfair to the US do not resonate beyond his core support base. Leaving obstacles in the path of a Biden administration by quitting arms control and non-proliferation agreements hardly advances global security. Biden has pledged to reverse Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. The world will be a safer place if he can also restore America to a responsible position in multilateral global and regional security arrangements.