The skies over the United States have been abuzz with activity this week, and it’s not just the birds and the bees. A bizarrely conspicuous spy balloon from China has been floating over the country, and it’s been the talk of the town.
The balloon was spotted off the coast of South Carolina, and U.S. fighter jets were sent to shoot it down. The incident has inflamed already volatile U.S.-Chinese relations, and has had many on the right calling the Biden administration’s response soft.
But the balloon isn’t a new phenomenon. According to the Associated Press, similar Chinese balloons transited the continental United States briefly at least three times during the Trump administration and once that they know about earlier in the Biden administration. None of those incidents lasted as long as this one, however.
To get to the bottom of this, Saturday Night Live opened their show with a riff on the balloon, featuring Chloe Fineman’s Katy Tur. She welcomed General William Hamilton, a Pentagon official and aviation expert played by Kenan Thompson, onto her MSNBC program. He explained that the balloon was able to get past the West Coast anti-balloon defense system, the Seattle Space Needle, but once it was over the U.S., they were able to keep an eye on it.
The show then threw to a live feed featuring “the remains of the balloon,” or Bowen Yang in a balloon costume with water wings on floating in the ocean. He joked that he had entertained the people of the U.S. for four days and then he got shot by Biden.
So, what can we take away from this incident? Well, U.S. officials are making it clear that they will not tolerate any form of Chinese spying. But, as General Hamilton pointed out, the Chinese already have everything they need from TikTok, so scroll away kids!