Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 conduct pre-dive checks during recovery efforts of a high-altitude balloon in the Atlantic Ocean, Feb. 7, 2023. (US Navy)

The Spy Balloon Ain’t Nothin’

Vice President Harris says the spy balloon incident was no big deal and it should not impact our relationship with China.

Meanwhile administration propagandists are putting out a story that the balloon that flew over sensitive ballistic missile defenses in Alaska and crossed over strategic Minuteman III missile bases in Montana could have been “off course.”  It was launched from Hainan Island (apparently the Pentagon knows all about this) but went off course.  It was supposed to look at our Pacific bases, not at our strategic installations.

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In other words, no big deal.

(In putting out this information the Pentagon has inadvertently revealed it knew all along about the Chinese spy balloons and where they were launched from, and that they tracked the balloon for weeks!  Amazing.  We have gone from “we don’t know anything” and “missed seeing the balloon cross over into US airspace” to “we knew everything” and sat on our hands.)

Meanwhile despite the gross violation of US airspace, the Biden administration has done nothing regarding Chinese aggression.   The Chinese, sensing America’s weakness, are now saying it may retaliate against US “entities” because we “illegally” shot down their balloon (and maybe three others as well).  Whether China will do anything beyond blabber is hard to say.

The US Navy has recovered most of the electronics in the allegedly “errant” balloon.  So far we have no information beyond that announcement.  Will the Pentagon seek to downplay and coverup the seriousness of the Chinese balloon intrusion by claiming the electronics and sensors were not consequential?  Watching the Biden administration’s behavior, or lack thereof, towards China, that is a real possibility.

Perhaps the administration wants to get US-China relations back on track before the Chinese start broadcasting how they bought Biden and his son and financed the Biden Centers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware, for tens of millions of dollars.  Even if nothing else, Biden has a lot to fear from such exposure.  So do the two Universities that willfully compromised their integrity.

Instead of Washington twisting the Chinese at the end of a long rope, China has managed to completely turn the tables, and it is the Biden crew that are dangling over the precipice.

China is a growing threat which the Biden administration is ignoring at its (and our) peril.  Draining war supplies to keep the Ukraine war going, backordering vital equipment for Taiwan, and failing to build up adequate defenses, encourages Chinese aggression and allows China freedom of action in setting the timetable for military intervention.

This article originally appeared in Weapons and Strategy.

Stephen Bryen is a Senior Fellow at Yorktown Institute.

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