The balloon is down. A few days ago, on Saturday to be precise, the U.S. military shot down with an F22 fighter jet a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina after it had air-travelled across much of the U.S. Capturing the attention of residents, the media, and the rest of the world. What is really going on?
By Arthur Blok
China said the balloon was a meteorological research vessel blown off course. In addition, Beijing expressed "strong dissatisfaction” and various diplomatic protests over its downing. It even sent out a formal statement of “discontent and protest”.
A fair question would be, what meteorological research were they performing using this balloon device? Are the Chinese really that fascinated with the North American and Canadian weather patterns? It could be fascinating indeed, but there are different ways to get that data,
In the past week, Beijing told Washington repeatedly that the balloon was a civilian aircraft that had inadvertently flown over the United States and its presence was “totally accidental.”
Of course, accidents do happen.
Now the balloon is no more. It became a rather explosive end to an international spying drama that puts a real-time diplomatic crisis between the world’s two great powers on screens. The balloon, which spent five days travelling in a diagonal southeast route from Idaho to the Carolinas, had moved off the coast by midday Saturday and was shot down within moments of its arrival over the Atlantic Ocean.
Now the U.S. military is left to literally pick up the pieces of the wreckage, as diplomats and members of Congress express concern over the incident.
It looks like the shooting down of was not the end of the political spirit that needs to be clarified at the beginning of a new one. Should the balloon have been shot down earlier? Was it able to collect any intelligence? What should the US response be?
The balloon's intrusion scuttled a planned meeting of high-level officials from the U.S. and China, and it needs to be clarified if or when the trip will be rescheduled. Just before the weekend, as the balloon was floating above the mainland U.S., Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a trip to China.
Though there's been speculation that China sent the balloon over North America on purpose, some doubt that the country was trying to provoke the U.S. when it was set to host its top diplomat.
China has an interest in inserting some more stability into the relationship.
If you look at it from the Biden Administration’s perspective, the balloon was the best thing that happened in the past months. Blowing it out of proportion and turning it into an all-out scandal was the smartest thing to do.
The recent discovery of classified documents in offices used by Joe Biden at a disputable Chinese-sponsored think-tank in Washington D.C and in a garage near where he keeps his Corvette has raised many eyebrows in Capital Hill. Months after Biden called Donald Trump’s mishandling of classified documents ‘irresponsible,’ he is now fully in the barrel.
Not to mention the long list of corruption scandals involving his son Hunter - documented on his so-called laptop from Hell - including lucrative business dealings when Biden was still the vice president and massive inflation due to Biden's mismanagement of various vital dossiers.
For those who are missing the point: Biden Administration is under fire. Mishandling of classified doc’s in various locations, abuse of power when Joe Biden was the vice president and indirect spy accusations on the Biden family imperium as a whole, and possible impeachment.
In that perspective, downing the alleged Chinese spy balloon was the best Biden could do to divert all the attention pointed at him.