The Chinese balloon-scare episode gripping America’s political class is comical if it were not so serious in its implications for global security.
The Chinese balloon-scare episode gripping the United States’ political class is comical if it were not so serious in its implications for global security.
Four suspected Chinese spy balloons were rapidly shot down with F-22 and F-16 fighter jets in the last two weeks. Turns out though that the White House is now admitting that the last three unidentified aerial objects blown out of the skies with Sidewinder air-to-air missiles were “benign” and probably had not even anything to do with China.
The debris from the air strikes landed in remote frozen parts of Alaska and Canada, so we may never know what the U.S. Air Force jets were actually shooting at. One of the missiles even missed the target, instead hitting the icy waters of Lake Huron in Upper Michigan.
It illustrates just how über-militaristic and paranoid American politicians and their propaganda media system have become. Fittingly for a country that sees horrific mass shootings among its citizens almost every week, the U.S. government conducts its foreign relations with increasingly routine and gratuitous violence. The country is trigger-happy beyond any rationality.
Of course, the Chinese balloon hysteria could be a convenient distraction from the blockbuster report last week by Seymour Hersh implicating the United States and President Biden personally in a brazen act of international terrorism in blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Germany. That could be a factor. Nonetheless, the balloon mania seems to be symptomatic of an endemic, febrile mindset on hair-trigger paranoia.
Mixed with relentless Cold War-style propaganda and irrational fear about Chinese enemies, Russian enemies, and indeed all sorts of foreign enemies, that reflexive recourse to using excessive military violence is a global security risk.
The world is in effect being held hostage on a precipice by crazy politicians in Washington who are bought by the military-industrial complex to find violent “solutions” and ultimately war at every opportunity.
Four aerial objects shot down over North American airspace in rapid-fire succession based on scant information. It’s the first time in history that the Pentagon has ever taken such action. China claims that the first object to be shot down was an errant weather balloon. We still don’t know what the other three were. Perhaps balloons belonging to private commercial American businesses that became unmoored. But the reflex to suspect China and national security threat is revealing.
The deployment of $200 million-dollar F-22 and F-16 fighter jets to blow balloons out of the skies with half-million-dollar Sidewinder missiles is beyond farce. It is a foreboding sign of the times about how a nuclear superpower has become deranged and unhinged.
Shoot first, ask questions later
The problem with Washington is that it believes in its own self-serving propaganda. So endless propaganda tries to convince Americans that the Chinese (and Russians) are an increasing security and surveillance threat. That’s great for pumping up the Pentagon’s already monstrous military-industrial complex and for banning trade in Chinese technology. Then all of a sudden, suspected Chinese balloons are reported in U.S. airspace, and – right on cue – it’s panic time that “we’re under threat”. Congress just passed a resolution unanimously condemning China’s “aggression” from airspace violations.
How about holstering the missiles and just challenging China through diplomacy on its claims about its balloon being a civilian weather-monitoring device that got blown off course? U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Beijing this week to find out if the Chinese meteorological claims have any credence. Why didn’t he do that before U.S. warplanes started firing off Sidewinders?
President Joe Biden asserted that the unmanned aerial objects did not pose a grave security threat to Americans. Nevertheless, he went ahead anyway and ordered them to be shot down – partly because of the pressure on him to look tough from gung-ho politicians and media who were reacting as if the United States was coming under military attack.
Elsewhere, U.S. Air Force commander Lt General Alexus Grynkewich is reported as saying that Chinese surveillance balloons are nothing new. He said such air vehicles have been monitored for years and in the past were not deemed a threat. During the Trump administration, Chinese high-altitude balloons were also reported to have entered American airspace and nothing was done about them.
Meanwhile, China claims that at least on 10 occasions over the past year, U.S. surveillance balloons have encroached on its airspace. Beijing did not overreact with military force, however. And it condemned the latest American use of military force to destroy its air vehicles as “excessive”.
China, by the way, would have a lot more cause to be concerned about its security from American incursions. The U.S. is surrounding it with hundreds of military bases across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as installing offensive missile sites and increasingly conducting navy and air drills in Chinese-claimed territorial waters. This week, the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group is holding military exercises in the South China Sea – again.
What should be an alarming concern for everyone is just how paranoid and trigger-happy Washington has become. The lamentable lack of diplomacy and crazed xenophobic group-think is correlated with the ease of firing off weapons at the slightest perceived or imagined provocation.
In the manic arming of Ukraine to escalate a proxy war against Russia, the Americans and their Western minions have convinced themselves that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a madman willing to use nuclear weapons. There is no understanding in Washington and its European satellites about Russia’s legitimate security grievances expressed over many years about NATO’s expansionism that has led up to this war.
The frantic anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda played wall-to-wall, 24/7 by American corporate-controlled media has produced a hyper-militarized United States that sees itself besieged by malign forces conspiring to destroy it. “Democracy versus tyranny” as the Biden bogeyman mantra goes. When the actual truth is near enough the reverse. It is Washington that threatens others with its systematic abuse of international law to launch endless illegal wars with impunity and at the drop of a hat.
In this climate of official American psychosis, the risk of blowing up the planet has become evermore fraught with danger.
This week an asteroid entered the Earth’s upper atmosphere causing a spectacular celestial light show in Europe. The space intruder object was at all times fully tracked by astronomers and scientists and exploded as predicted on time and place. But hundreds of such celestial stray “missiles” enter Earth’s atmosphere all the time untracked. How probable is it that such a similar natural cosmic event might be totally misconstrued as something sinister by radars and operators primed for a foreign military attack?
If the American political class is so paranoid and trigger-happy over an unarmed and harmless Chinese balloon – sending its most advanced warplanes and missiles to shoot it down – then it is apparent more than ever that a line of official irrationality has been irreversibly crossed.
More and more, it seems, the United States is a rogue nuclear superpower whose behavior is like that of a delusional psycho armed with an assault rifle.