The red balloon over America: China’s violation of U.S. sovereignty can’t be ignored

·2 min read

There are plenty of jokes about China’s “civilian” balloon, just “studying the weather” that “mistakenly went far off its intended course.” Either that or Montana and Missouri meteorology is always of great interest in Manchuria, nevermind any peeking at various Air Force missile silos or strategic air bases that happen to be visible from 60,000 feet up.

So here we caught China red-handed and Secretary of State Tony Blinken is staying home this weekend, canceling his trip to Beijing. The first visit by a U.S. top diplomat to China since 2018 will have to wait, as it should.

Fibs about weather research or spying aside, China has clearly — and admittedly — violated American air space and sovereignty. Blinken yesterday said the first priority is for the floating craft to get out of our airspace. It’s unclear if he’s waiting for its Beijing controllers to pilot it out of here, or if there’s a way to bring it down. Donald Trump would shoot it out of the sky, but that risks hurting people and property on the ground, as well as destroying the evidence and any intelligence insights it might give us.

Is there perhaps instead a way to capture it and examine the equipment and any images it recorded? How could China object to that? They claim their balloon is wayward, with limited navigation ability. If we were to take it into safe custody, shouldn’t they be grateful? Ike was hardly in a position to protest when the Soviets shot down Francis Gary Powers in his U-2 spy plane on May Day in 1960.

Besides touring the country from 60,000 feet and interfering with commercial air traffic, the red balloon is a floating thumb in the eye to the United States. We are the aggrieved party here. Imagine what these free market Communists in the Politburo would do if an American spy balloon was aloft over China for days? They would likely call it an act of war. Let’s use this balloon to our advantage.