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Joe Biden Should Be Embarrassed By That Chinese Spy Balloon

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden, joined by First Lady Jill Biden, delivers remarks on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

“It is Balloon!” Joe Biden Should Be Embarrassed by Spy Overflight from China: The Pentagon admits it has been tracking a Chinese spy balloon in U.S. airspace. To be clear. This is no laughing matter. That said, it is hard not recall the iconic scene from the 1960s sitcom F Troop, where the Hekawi tribe is flummoxed by the sight of a hot air balloon. The response in the Oval Office seems to have been not much different.

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What China just did, however, is no joke. And neither is this reminder of the fundamental weakness of Biden’s China policy.

For starters, we should all be upset that the administration let Americans be caught off guard. Apparently, this isn’t the first time. Last year, a similar balloon (that hadn’t been formally attributed to China) was spotted off coast of Kauai, near the Barking Sands Missile range, where we test missile interceptors and new radar systems, as well as the submarine school test range. Reportedly, there were overflights of Guam and Canada as well.

It is worth asking why China is doing this. Beijing always acts with intentionality. So, what is their intention here? As my colleague, Dustin Carmack notes, “China’s space intel capabilities are exquisite and growing.” So why use such a down-to-earth platform like a balloon? Initial reports out of the Pentagon dismissed the craft as not much of a threat. Yet surely they know that aerostats are increasingly being used by military forces and bring a lot of niche capability.

Blithely discounting threat suggests that Team Biden does not have its eye on the national security ball. The president looks as serious about the protecting the sanctity of American airspace as he is about securing the border.

China’s response to the incident is equally troubling. Beijing appears to assume that Americans are just stupid. They assert the balloon is a civilian weather-tracking aircraft—a claim that is clearly nonsense. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is playing our leaders for fools.

The Biden administration needs to wake up to reality, take off the kid gloves and move swiftly to protect our national security.  But there’s the rub. This White House has no idea how to handle China.

For the Administration, this is as much a political issue as it is a security issue. The initial response from downplayed the incident. Apparently, Biden said just shoot the thing down—and the Pentagon said hold on, maybe not. By mid-morning, however, when the administration figured out that the incursion was unsettling to Americans, they decided this was a big deal after all. Things then shifted, with Secretary Blinken cancelling or postponing a planned trip to Beijing.

This incident shows the serious limitation of Biden’s effort to stabilize relations with China, cooperate on climate policy, and “compete where we must, but cooperate where we can.” He has been blindly following the John Kerry playbook: Please don’t upset China; you might make them mad, and then I can’t jet over there and engage in useless climate dialogue.”

Meanwhile, we see increasing signs Beijing is trying to reel in Biden like a big fish. Of late, China has shed the aggressive, “wolf warrior” diplomacy that was its fashion of late. It is clear Beijing now thinks it can manipulate the U.S. administration with selective engagement.

Peter Suciu on Fox News

19FortyFive’s Peter Suciu on Fox News talking about China’s balloon over the United States. 

The White House faces a serious challenge. Americans—and many of our allies—are increasingly skeptical of both China and the Administration’s impulse to temper relations with Beijing.

Biden has more than an America problem. His hold on global leadership is awfully shaky. Half of our allies, encouraged by Biden’s ambivalence, persist in treating China like a business partner, a competitor, and a security threat all at the same time. But the other half are turning their backs on China.

For instance, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have already baled on China’s 17+1 cooperative format. Italy is thinking about dumping its Belt and Road agreement. Others, like the UK, Greece and Romania, have banned Huawei. These friends could use some real leadership from Washington.

Biden’s approach is not sustainable. The Administration risks trailing Americans and some critical allies in addressing China’s destabilizing and threatening actions.

I have more confidence in the Hekawi tribe.

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A Heritage Foundation vice president and 19FortyFive Contributing Editor, James Jay Carafano directs the think tank’s research on matters of national security and foreign affairs.

Written By

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, James Jay Carafano, a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, is the vice president of Heritage's Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and the E. W. Richardson Fellow.



  1. Commentar

    February 3, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    Heh, heh, mucho crocodile tears from the reptilian hyperpower.

    USA has made direct overflights over many countries for spying, surveillance and provocation purposes.

    There’s a M21 craft in the Beijing aircraft museum, a great courtesy gift from CIA itself no less.

    Why don’t cha shoot down the balloon with a big dart and then put it in a museum.

    Today, USA flies provocative flights using ELINT & SIGINT aircraft on the borders of other nations.

    In 1969 (Oct 10 1969), USAF B-52 bombers raced to the border of USSR on the personal instructions of president Richard Nixon. Google it.

    In the 1980s, those same bombers did the very same thing while Reagan was president.

    If a balloon flies over, just puncture the air out and let it fall, or just tow it over to the ocean.

    Now, some people are pounding their desks and demanding war.

    Go take a look in the mirror and ask if USA never flew provocative flights in the past. Or even today.

  2. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    February 3, 2023 at 5:00 pm

    It appears the Russian/China/Iranian troll is first in again 🙂
    The Axis Of Evil obviously considers this site to be important enough to propagandize – congratulations, 1945!

  3. Johnny Ray

    February 3, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    Actually, part of the alarm in the USA about the balloon may be due to the fact the vast majority, virtually all, of Americans have never heard of or seen one of these things. It’s huge. It’s ominous. It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie. Fear of the unknown is powerful.

    So, the govt. needs to tell us the truth, addressing the essential questions, like what the hell it is and what is it doing, specifically?

    If it’s NOT a weather balloon then appropriate officials ought to make that clear.

    As for dealing with China WE Americans have a problem. All we know about China is spoon fed to us through the Chinese propaganda machinery, to the extent we almost assuredly have to idea whatsoever what’s going on in China.

    And so it goes for assessing their political, military and foreign affairs powers. Are they hot, …or not?

    I personally suspect China is not nearly as strong as portrayed and essentially it is an unstable country subject to spontaneous extremely violent anti-government action. We saw a small example when the Party turned 180 on covid lockdowns. Things got hot really fast.

    What we need is a very subtle long term strategy to deal with China. My thought is their house of cards will come crashing down one day, in an eye blink, and everyone will say, …why were we worried?

  4. Steven

    February 3, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    Commentar you sound like a child.

  5. GhostTomahawk

    February 3, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    China isn’t playing our leaders for fools. Our leaders are incompetent bafoons. Our voting electorate are fools. Who else would vote in a man in complete mental decline but American democrats.

    Reap=sow. American leaders got tricked by a balloon

  6. H.R. Holm

    February 3, 2023 at 10:54 pm

    The problem involves two factors, one foreground, one background. The foreground one is that we currently have an almost literal fake President who is tantamount to a traitor in more context than one, including this latest item. The background factor is that the United States military does not at all have the force structure, the requisite weaponry to take out Red China in a first strike. Had we that ability and made the will to use it, if so we deemed, China would not be the enroaching danger it is today.

  7. 404NotFound

    February 4, 2023 at 1:47 am

    Biden embarrassed ???

    Joe Biden needs to put on his glasses and then know other people now have secret options to hit back at Washington.

    In northern latitudes, winds blow from west to east, and this greatly helps high flying objects including balloons that wish to cross the pacific.

    Thus today’s world-stomping america needs to wake up before making any dumb mistake or gross miscalculation.

    Imagine some power or country with massive capacity to produce huge fleets of such balloons. Capacity that’s spread all over its land or territory.

    Would be finito for america.

  8. Andreas Brecht

    February 4, 2023 at 5:12 am

    Biden should be embarrassed of so many things…

  9. HMark

    February 4, 2023 at 5:32 am

    President doth balloon forsake, balloon doth buffoon make.

  10. David Chang

    February 4, 2023 at 7:58 am

    God bless people in the world.

    When I saw this video first, I thought that such a huge flying object is not a balloon, but like a blimp.

    Then I thought about Lockheed Martin P-791 and U.K. Airlander, but it’s a weird moment, and Kirov airships may be coming to United States, someday.

    God bless America.

  11. Nam62

    February 4, 2023 at 11:11 am

    All this BS about this is not a big deal better get their heads out of their BUTTS!
    A satellite is only over the target for a short time BUT a Balloon is over the target for Hours!
    If the Airforce can shoot down a satellite that is moving faster & higher they sure can shoot down a Balloon!

  12. Lash

    February 4, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    You should be embarrassed to waste oxygen.

  13. Walker

    February 4, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    I love how authors like this love to complain but have no real answers. So what should Biden have done? I guess we can use Trump’s go to statement. China would never have done that if I was President. Lol! I’m not a huge fan of Biden, he has his foot in his mouth more times than not. But blaming him for China being China is kind of dumb don’t you think? Didn’t Trump supporters get all riled up with media always attacking Trump? I guess this is payback? Hypocrisy does seem to be a requirement to support Trump.

  14. The Al U Know

    February 5, 2023 at 9:55 am

    Walker… Its called politics. And I love how you provide no real answers yourself. Pot… meet kettle.

    I love how commenters love to complain but have no real answers.

    Many people had answers…. if you read online, post here.

    It’s over the airspace…shoot it down right away.

    It can’t be shot down…the USA did it now and the did it in the 1990s. Much to the chagrin of Canada and 1000 bullets later.

    It is going to cause so much damage coming down…a balloon no bigger than 3 buses. If it is hydrogen it is burning up there. If it was helium it wont be bad either. If it was infused with Anthrax, Corona….I wonder what the happens up there.

    China being China is your irrelevant distraction, as we cannot stop how they are.

    But the author is right about one thing in the least- intentionality.

    Blame China for the balloon…blame our leaders for their response.
    Their response was indecision. It is the leaders responsibility to make timely, decisive decisions. It is seeing whether Biden is feigning deception at the chess table, or simply drooling, asleep. Our response is what we control, this realm of a country is where we understand we can respond and have the power to act on it.

    But in the politics of the USA is there is a democratically elected leader in charge, and Americans have every right to criticize their leadership. We can also change our leadership if enough people think, yeah, decrepit Biden, we with our 700+ bases and our NGAD and lasers could have made this a non-issue. If Biden could have avoided the criticism that he gets now by taking out the balloon sooner, maybe a sharper brain would have done it sooner. And would be better for the leadership of the USA.

    It is called politics. Protect your side, ideas. Take down the other leaders and their ill-conceived ideas. MSM being the ‘other’ party filtering and disseminating this info for the common masses should be on Biden Like They Were on Trump. But they, like above, took a side and attack the other. Balance it out. Equal actions for all presidents.

    The media always attacking Trump????? I guess this is payback????
    What are you talking about??? The MSM is not ditching their beliefs feelings, or virtues and attacking Biden. They are saying the above excuses nonchalantly when talking with experts.

    Neither are the Trump supporters.

    Objectively, logic is not prone to one side or the other. Free thinking people should be able to look at others plans, arguments for their merits and their deficiencies as well.
    We must ask why?

    And to answer it goes back to what the author calls intentionality.
    China’s is clear.
    Does the USA even have one?

    From The Al U know

  15. Rick

    February 5, 2023 at 10:37 am

    How embarrassing for Carafano to devote so many words to whimpering when he didn’t bother to do any research. Trump had three similar events he never mentioned…

    Apparently, working for a far right think tank means writing nonsense without doing the hard work of research is specifically approved.

  16. froike

    February 5, 2023 at 10:57 am

    There is not enough room in this Forum to list the things that Biden should be ashamed of.

  17. DT

    February 5, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    The embarrassment is calling this a spy balloon looking at missile silos and military bases. The coordinates of all 450 silos still operational are listed with maps. The military bases are also well known, and you can enter the coordinates into google earth to zoom down and count the cars, trucks, and motorcycles parked there. If that is not good enough, then you can get high-def pictures from planes down cameras or the 100s of satellites circling the planet.

  18. Serhio

    February 6, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Russians and Chinese look at this circus and laugh. At first, the US air defense could not detect an object larger than an elephant in the sky on the border. When he flew over an important military facility, they were able to detect him. Surprise!!. Then they couldn’t shoot him down for several days. Finally, they shot down the probe, spending a rocket worth 400 thousand dollars on it. Putin wipes away tears of happiness in his office: “And these people are going to fight with us?”

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