Tensions with China Rise

Tensions with China Rise

Lindsey Kerlin

Over the last couple of days, a small blimp caught the attention of many broadcasts, news channels, and radio stations. The small white aircraft floated over restricted airspace within the United States; one of our leading senior defense officials suspected that it might belong to the Chinese government. Officials at the Pentagon told reporters that the suspected Chinese aircraft purposely flew over sensitive areas like the state of Montana which houses three nuclear missile silo fields at the Malmstrom Air Force Base. The United States Government initially declined the opportunity to shoot down the blimp for fear it could cause potential harm to the people on the ground.

Although that statement was quickly receded once the aircraft floated into a location that didn’t risk potential harm to the individuals beneath the craft. I personally believe that this was a smart decision considering all information that was known about the craft, at this point, was speculation.  Consequently, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the shooting, describing the United States measures as an overreaction and a violation on international practice. In spite of that statement, the Chinese government revealed that the blimp as indeed one of their “civilian airships” created only with the intention of predicting weather formations. The Pentagon themselves have not revealed any information on the materials collected from the debris that fell into the Atlantic Ocean. What they have revealed is that the mechanics of the aircraft did not give China any additional surveillance capabilities beyond our own intelligence.

Overall, I believe our reaction was appropriate considering we knew next to nothing about the floating craft until we fatally shot it down. If we had acted sooner and shot it down within the airspace of a town, we may have received worse criticism from the public and/or China themselves, possibly worsening the tensions that have already been accumulating.

Fontaine, Richard. “China’s Balloon Could Be America’s Awakening.” China’s Balloon Could Be America’s Awakening, Foreign Policy, foreignpolicy.com/2023/02/07/china-spy-balloon-us-national-security/. Accessed 16 May 2023.