In what might be the most bizarre and disturbing news piece of the week, a Chinese Spy balloon continues to make its way across the United States. To this writer, it looks like a cross between a second moon in the sky and the Death Star from Star Wars. The high-altitude balloon, said to be roughly the size of two or three school busses, was first spotted over Alaska and has since floated over Canada before making its way to the Continental US, where it remains.

image of US and Chinese flags over broken glass
Fractured relations: The US and Chinese flags are seen over broken glass. Image from vnExpress/Dado Ruvic

For whatever reason, the Pentagon has decided not to shoot down the balloon even though, according to Fox News, it has been floating over some “sensitive sites.” It is no secret that there are intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites in the area the airship has been traversing. Jamil Jaffer of the National Security Institute remarked on a segment of Tucker Carlson Tonight:

“You know what’s really interesting about this incident is that the Defense Department has made clear that this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Chinese spy balloons over US territory in the past.”

The Hainan Incident

Jaffer continued: “What’s interesting about this particular incident is that we’ve called it out; we’ve made it public and that they actually froze the airspace over Billings, Montana, and put planes up thinking about taking the shot. Why they didn’t take the shot, why they didn’t take it down, hard to know…”. He reminds us that in 2001 the Chinese forced down an American spy plane on Hainan Island, kidnapping several US airmen (holding them against their will for more than a week) and stealing a number of surveillance assets from the downed aircraft.

In that incident, a Navy EP-3 was flying a routine mission over the South China Sea when it was intercepted aggressively by two Chinese F-8 fighter jets. One of the Chinese jets came so close that it struck the EP-3’s number one propeller, throwing it out of control. The Chinese jet was ripped in half and augered into the open ocean, killing the pilot. American servicemembers on the now plummeting surveillance aircraft began shredding and ejecting classified documents. Computer equipment holding classified information was destroyed with an onboard fire ax to the best of their ability.

The Navy pilot managed to land his aircraft on China’s Hainan Island at a military airbase. The Chinese government held the crew for 11 days, denying US requests that the damaged plane be repaired and allowed to be flown home. Instead, the 38-ton, 100-foot aircraft was cut into pieces, boxed up, and shipped to the US. It is almost certain that although the crew did their best to destroy all classified information on board, some fell into Chinese hands.

The downed US Navy EP-3 is shown here on China’s Hainan island after a reckless Chinese pilot brought it down. Image from Wikimedia Commons


By Wednesday of this week, the Chinese balloon had made its way across the Aleutians, through Canada, and over Billings, Montana. Its movements are closely being tracked, and the Chinese aircraft is slowly but surely making its way to the heart of the United States.

Scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have plotted the likely course of the balloon, considering the current atmospheric condition and prevailing wind currents. Many meteorologists have remarked that if the balloon can be raised and lowered, the track could shift significantly.

The Washington Post quoted Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder in a Pentagon briefing he provided Friday. During that briefing, he reported that the balloon was traveling at an altitude of approximately 60,000 feet and that it “doesn’t represent a physical or military threat to people on the ground.” In a somewhat disturbing statement (at least to me), the general also remarked that the craft “is set to remain over the country for a few days.” To me, that implies that our government is OK with it being here. In jest, I wonder if it will change course and end up over State Farm Stadium during the Super Bowl.

Why Is It Really Here?

In this writer’s humble opinion, there is no way the Chinese simply lost control of their enormous surveillance balloon, and it just happened to make its way over the continental United States accidentally. No way; if they wanted to observe what we are doing, they have spy satellites for that. In fact, their space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities are second only to that of the United States. Let’s not forget that this nation has landed a spacecraft (Chang’e 5) on the surface of the moon and returned 2 kilograms of lunar soil to communist China. They have no need to wind the calendar back to the days of Jules Verne and send their equivalent of Phileas Fogg to check up on us.

No, my friends, this is a symbol, a huge middle finger in the sky, asking, “Here I am; what are you going to do about me?” And we better make up our minds soon because there is a second one of these things over Latin America right now, and it might be headed our way.