Chinese “Weather” Balloon

About a week ago, a large balloon wandered into US airspace.  The balloon was from China; the Chinese government acknowledged ownership, and claimed that it was a weather balloon that had gone off course.

The balloon was drifting over Montana when US government officials claimed that they wouldn’t shoot it down for fear of debris causing harm to people on the ground.  This was over one of our country’s most sparsely-populated states.  The debris would more likely hit a bear than a person.

Ultimately, the US government did shoot the thing down.  Now China is having a hissy fit, claiming that the US was unnecessarily “violent” against a “civilian aircraft.”

We all know that this wasn’t a weather balloon.  It’s also pretty clear that the excuse not to shoot the thing down was bullshit as well.  Everyone is lying, and it’s not clear why.

I mean, I get that China doesn’t want to admit that it sent a surveillance device to spy on us.  So sure, weather balloon…

But why did the US government lie about taking the thing out?  How could the let anything – any unauthorized airborne object – pass over the entire United States?  Back in the day, the minute that thing crossed our border we’d have scrambled a few jets and taken it down within minutes.  How times have changed.

China’s complaints are bullshit.  Their balloon violated US airspace, and we shot it down.  Get over it.  If this was just a weather balloon, you really didn’t lose a whole lot.  And had we not shot it down, what would have happened to it?  Probably crash into the Atlantic Ocean.  I suppose it’s theoretically possible it might have eventually made its way back to China, but that really seems to be a stretch.  I’m pretty sure China never expected to see this thing again.

Probably they’re upset because we’ve got the debris now, and will be able to see what the thing was doing.

And possibly they’re just fucking with us, rattling our cage to see how we react, against the day when we will be at war with them.  China has behaved in hostile, provocative ways before, pushing our limits, seeing what we’ll do.

Well, I’m not going to be able to get to the truth of this incident.  About all I can say with confidence is that the whole thing is bullshit.  Both China and the US are lying through their teeth, and I’m not really sure why.

Update 2/12/23:

The US has shot down three more objects that authorities decline to characterize.  They say these objects are smaller than the Chinese balloon, but don’t even acknowledge that the objects are balloons.

If these smaller objects are also from China, then that suggests they’ve been floating around for quite some time.  I don’t know how long it would take a “weather balloon” to drift to the US from China, but it’s probably more than a couple of days.  They must have been sent a while ago.

This leads me to suspect that objects have been drifting over the US for a while now, possibly months or years.  We wouldn’t necessarily have picked them up on radar.  There are a lot of spurious signals from radar, so the blip made by one of these smaller devices might have been interpreted as a flock of birds or some other anomaly.  And the reason we’re catching them now is that we’re looking for them.

I don’t see that missing these objects before indicates a failure of our defense systems.  We don’t have the resources to chase down every anomaly we find, every flock of birds or other object.  The only reason we’re doing it now is because of the balloon.

In the meantime, China has remained silent about these newer objects.  Possibly they’re from Russia.  Wherever they’re coming from, those people probably aren’t our friends.

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