Have you ever imagined a scenario where a Chinese spy balloon is floating over American soil? It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but it is a reality that the Biden administration is currently facing. Reports of a massive spy balloon, reportedly the size of three buses, have been seen hovering near ICBM fields in Montana, leaving the Pentagon scrambling to protect sensitive information.
In this blog post, we will be discussing the implications of China’s balloon intrusion into U.S. airspace, the possible motivations behind it, and the steps the Biden administration should take to protect American security.
China’s balloon intrusion is unacceptable, regardless of its motivation. However, the Pentagon has advised the Biden administration not to shoot it down out of fear that the debris may injure citizens or property on the ground. This concern for human life is laudable, but the odds of debris landing on someone’s rooftop in Montana seem remote.
It is also possible that the Chinese intended this balloon flight to humiliate the United States in advance of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Beijing early next week, which he has just decided to postpone. The Chinese have pulled these types of stunts before. In 2011, Beijing timed a test of its advanced J-20 stealth fighter to coincide with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ much publicized visit to China.
The Biden administration should explain why the risk of shooting it down over a sparsely populated area is riskier than the possibility that the balloon may experience a technical failure and crash down over more populated areas in the Midwest or along the East coast. Unfortunately, this passivity reinforces a broader perception of U.S. weakness that has dogged the administration since it withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021.
Allies may well wonder about the credibility of U.S. security commitments abroad given our apparent passivity when faced with a large, maneuverable spy balloon loitering near sensitive American military facilities. We need to shoot down the balloon before it escapes, collect the debris, and analyze the information the Chinese seem so bent on collecting.
At this point, nothing short of shooting it down is likely to discourage the Chinese from dispatching more balloons over American soil in the future. The Biden administration should call for a special session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York and cart the balloon debris there for all to see.
China’s claim that this balloon is merely a “civilian airship” blown off course does not pass the straight-face test. The Chinese should be held accountable for violating both U.S. airspace and international law.
It is bad enough that the Biden administration has allowed a Chinese spy balloon to float unhindered over American soil. Letting it escape at this point would be even worse. Washington should shoot down the balloon, collect the debris, and exploit the intelligence data before the helium intruder drifts out of reach.
The implications of China’s balloon intrusion into U.S. airspace are serious. The Biden administration should take immediate steps to protect American security by shooting down the balloon, collecting the debris, and analyzing the information the Chinese seem so bent on collecting. The Chinese should also be held accountable for violating both U.S. airspace and international law.
It is time for the Biden administration to take a stand and show that the U.S. will not tolerate this kind of intrusion.