Inflation Crisis: Fallout from Spy Balloon Incident Contributes to Rising Tensions Between US and China

U.S.-China relations have been further strained by the spy balloon incident, while the Biden administration is under fire from Republicans for allowing the balloon to fly across the continental United States before shooting it down.


U.S.-China relations have been further strained by the spy balloon incident, while Republicans criticized the Biden administration for allowing the balloon to fly across the continental United States before a military jet shot it down off the coast of South Carolina.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the incident an “irresponsible act” by China and announced he would be canceling his planned trip to China. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen said in an interview on Sunday he suspected the Chinese military may have timed the balloon launch intentionally to disrupt Blinken’s visit.
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the decision to shoot down the balloon in a statement: “China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force… The U.S.’s use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”
  • An F-22 fighter downed the suspected spy balloon with a missile near Myrtle Beach, where hundreds gathered to watch the balloon fly overhead before its destruction. “That’s my Air Force right there, buddy!” one man could be heard saying in a video of taken of the shootdown.
  • According to The Hill, similar balloons flew over the U.S. on at least three separate occasions during the Trump administration. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said in a Saturday tweet that former President Donald Trump told her he would have shot the balloon down before it entered U.S. airspace.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced senators would receive a classified briefing on the Chinese balloon, its military strength, and surveillance capabilities on Feb. 15.
  • Republicans on the Hill panned the Biden administration’s decision to permit the balloon to traverse the continental United States. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, compared waiting to shoot the balloon down over the Atlantic to “tackling the quarterback after the game is over.”
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked, “Why didn’t the president go on television? He has the ability to convene the country in cameras and basically explain what we’re dealing with here and why he’s made the decisions he’s making and what they intend to do.” He continued, “Presidents have the ability to go before a camera, go before the nation, and basically explain these things early on. … I don’t understand why he wouldn’t do that.”
  • The air force of Colombia announced on Saturday that it had spotted a possible second balloon in its airspace. The Colombian military provided limited details, but this would substantiate a report from American military officials who said on Friday another balloon had been sighted over Latin America.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times reported navy divers are already at work securing the debris, but the effort is expected to take several days. Multiple Navy and Coast Guard vessels are on their way to the crash site.
  • According to NBC News, Chinese officials adopted a posture of outrage over the incident and insisted the balloon was a “civilian unmanned airship” used for “meteorological purposes.”
  • Per CNN, China fired the head of its national weather service in what may have been a ploy to reinforce China’s claims that the balloon was meant only for civilian uses.



  • The Wall Street Journal reported the Air Force used its most advanced fighter jet to shoot down the Chinese balloon. The mission called for shooting down a craft flying at 58,000 feet and ensuring the debris fell within U.S. territorial waters.
  • National Review’s Mark Antonio Wright asked one “pressing and consequential question” about the incident: “Will the F-22 pilot who got the balloon kill off Myrtle Beach be buying beers for his whole squadron tonight, or will the squadron be buying him beers?”
  • Yet another Chinese spy balloon apparently crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii four months ago, according to the Washington Examiner This balloon crash, along with the Trump-era incidents, had not been made public before.


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© Dominic Moore, 2023