The GOP’s response was grossly exaggerated and hypocritical. Yes, the balloon was bad, but it did not nearly justify MAGA’s weeks of fear-mongering and alarmism.
We’re already sliding toward a cold war with China. Let’s not charge into it, though, by overreacting to every coming Chinese provocation. There will a lot of these sorts of incidents as Chinese power continues to grow. So we need to learn how to contain and manage them, not over-react every time they happen.
This essay is re-post of an essay I just published with Channel News Asia. I am in the US at the moment, and the hysteria over this on the news here was pretty startling. I am not sure how many Americans realize just how much spying, intelligence-gathering, hacking, satellite coverage, and so on the US government also does.
In fact, the US actually flew spy planes – the U2 – over the Soviet Union until 1960. So everyone should relax. This is the sort of thing great powers do to each other. It is the sort of thing the US would do and then deny if it got caught.
This doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. We should devote resources to detecting these balloons in the future, and ideally shoot them down before the reach US soil and cause a falling-debris problem.
That the Trump administration looked the other way on three past Chinese balloon overflights tells you all you need to know about the hypocrisy of Fox, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and so on. Biden has had a decent presidency, and the GOP is desperate to find something to tar him with for 2024 – this balloon, Hunter Biden, tech ‘shadow-banning,’ etc. Last week’s MAGA freak-out is about 2024, not national security.
After the jump is the essay in its original, pre-edited form: