February 07, 2023

China’s Balloon Could Be America’s Awakening

If Beijing meant for its spy balloon to float across the United States undetected, then it could not have failed more spectacularly. The airship, which may have never been intended to fly so low or even take the course it did, looked less like a distant satellite and more like the Goodyear Blimp. And so while no one could have predicted it, China’s balloon may well spur America’s awakening.

Beijing’s blunder may well represent—forgive the expression—a great-power trial balloon. And it may even spur a broad American awakening.

The episode could hardly have been better designed to prompt U.S. concerns. Start by understanding that, surrounded by two oceans and friendly neighbors, Americans are exquisitely sensitive to physical violations of their sovereignty. National security threats tend to emerge “over there”—in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, and the Western Pacific. Although they might feel secondary effects—rising gas prices, a higher grocery bill, or a family member in the military—these kinds of threats are intangible for most Americans most of the time. Beijing may fly spy satellites over the United States, conduct regular cyberattacks, cover up the origins of a global pandemic, and infiltrate American infrastructure, but the effects (though real) are largely unseen.

Read the full article from Foreign Policy.

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