Another week, another juvenile farce in the US’ skies
Published: Feb 11, 2023 04:23 PM
F-22, aka the

F-22, aka the "balloon killer", is the only fighter in the world to have defeated a weather balloon. Cartoon: Vitaly Podvitski

Another week, another drama in the US' skies. Less than a week after a US fighter jet fired a missile and brought down a Chinese balloon, an utterly harmless civilian airship designed for meteorological use, the US shot down an unidentified object around Alaska on Friday at the order of President Joe Biden. Stuck in typical partisanship and "political correctness," orders from the White House are getting laughably juvenile.

What it this object exactly? John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said at a news conference on Friday, "We're calling this an object because that's the best description we have right now. We do not know who owns it, whether it's state-owned or corporate-owned or privately owned. We just don't know." Yet he did mention that the object was "much, much smaller than the spy balloon that we took down last Saturday."

The explanation tells the story. The shooting down of the object can be argued as Biden's attempt to reverse the tide of criticisms against his administration for taking down the Chinese balloon too late. This time, Biden wants to showcase that he can make a decisive and timely action, even without knowing almost anything. This is juvenile.

"It was a success," Biden told reporters about the military operation by an F-22 fighter plane to down the object. But there is really nothing to brag about when US fighter aircraft brought down either an "object" or a balloon. The techniques for such missions at an altitude of over 10,000 meters above sea level are relatively easy. That being the case, instead of making the US Air Force look mighty, the missions only made the US a laughingstock. The US did make a strong case that the F-22 is invincible, when its enemy are balloons.

As a matter of fact, there are a large number of meteorological balloons in operation across the globe. Some are from civilian enterprises and some are from state-owned research institutions. But they are not for military use. Balloons can in no way threaten US national security. It is too exaggerated a move to shoot them down. Moreover, this reckless action will create stumbling blocks to certain scientific explorations.

US Congress, political and academic circles, even the military, seem to be panic-stricken by whatever that might have a slightest connection with China. Everything from China can pose a threat to US national security. And they can even make groundless accusation against China for "object" they don't even know who owns it yet. The US needs the stuff to keep Americans nervous and angry at China to justify its goal of confronting China. So the US makes a big deal out of trivial issues every once in a while.

That why we are seeing some US experts, including American scholar Bonnie Glaser, have started to hype about the downed object. "If this is a PRC spy platform, we are in for a very rough ride," Glaser tweeted on Saturday.

It's an old habit of quite a few US pundits - wasting no time to blame China for everything that might be negative. They are so used to pounding war drums over the "China threat theory," how can they possibly take time to consider facts and science? They are not real experts, they are pawns of the US establishment.

Be it the Chinese balloon or the unidentified object, the US made its move out of political infighting, as well as the attempt to pump up US' credibility among allies. The White House was showing its allies this message: You see, how determined and forceful I am in the face of unidentified, yet possibly threatening object?

How ridiculous. Shooting down a balloon or a smaller object is no feat worth celebrating. This is not an anti-missile or an anti-asteroid mission. People may give a thumb-up if it intercepts a hypersonic weapon, or an asteroid. Yet what can Washington prove by intercepting a bunch of balloons? Nothing other than its ignorance and incompetence. Unfortunately, this is the way the US propagandizes - bragging about shooting down balloons. 

The US has the opportunity to confront Russia on the battlefield. But it keeps stepping back, confirming it supports Ukraine but will not get involved in a direct confrontation with Russia.

Is US strong or weak? It looks pretty damn tough in the face of balloons, civilian airships, and other innocuous objects. But in the face of real battlefield, US' choice is to exhaust others. Can't its allies see it?

The article is compiled by Global Times reporter based on an interview with Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn