Biden’s Failure to Shoot Down Balloon over U.S. Was a Major Win for China
The failure to defend U.S. airspace from an unarmed Chinese balloon begs the question of how Washington would respond if the PRC revealed that the airship was, in fact, carrying weaponry.
Biden’s failure to act to defend U.S. airspace from what could have potentially been an existential threat is in furtherance of his previous record of seemingly ignoring existential threats and pretending they don’t exist. Last year, Russia placed its strategic nuclear arsenal on the highest alert level since the end of the Cold War and operationally deployed its multi-warhead Yars road-mobile missiles. Biden did not even bother to increase our nuclear readiness above DEFCON 5, which is our lowest state of readiness. His decision to leave the U.S. nuclear arsenal essentially vulnerable to a Russian nuclear surprise attack stood in marked contrast to previous presidents of both major political parties, who increased our nuclear alert statuses with Russia to show Moscow we were serious about defending America.
As if to add insult to injury, during a press conference held on February 6, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre stated that the National Security Council had sent out a TikTok to the press corps to explain why they waited seven days to shoot down the Chinese military spy airship. In other words, Biden’s national security council is using a known Chinese surveillance and spy tool to explain why the administration failed to shoot down a Chinese surveillance/spy airship until after it had completed its mission and collected seven days’ worth of sensitive surveillance data.
If anyone had doubts as to whether the Biden administration was at all concerned about U.S. national security in the wake of the Afghanistan debacle, its Ukraine war policy provoking an unnecessary, and likely nuclear, war with Russia, and the recent classified document scandal, then the administration’s decision to give a Chinese nuclear-capable weapon system a free pass across the entire country should dispel them.
A Failure of Leadership
The failure to defend U.S. airspace from a Chinese airship—which had the capability to carry weapons of mass destruction that could kill millions of Americans—signals that the United States would be unlikely to respond militarily to Chinese aggression against Taiwan. After all, if Biden won’t even act to defend our country, why would our nuclear-armed adversaries believe he would be willing to fight a direct war against them?
Biden’s decision also begs the question of how he would respond if the PRC revealed that the airship was, in fact, carrying a high-yield nuclear weapon or super EMP weapon, and threatened to detonate it if the United States attempted to shoot it down. One can only wonder how the president might respond to a potential Chinese blackmail attempt via nuclear-armed balloon; an effort to strong-arm the White House into accepting its demands, up to and including forcing America to take all three legs of its strategic nuclear triad off alert status—in effect destroying the credibility of our strategic nuclear deterrent and our ability to deter future Chinese attacks on the U.S. homeland.
Ultimately, I believe that the most important, game-changing intelligence this Chinese surveillance balloon will end up gathering is testing whether Biden would shoot down a Chinese nuclear-capable weapons platform while it was flying over our country. Sadly, Biden has failed this crucial test of presidential leadership, and in so doing severely damaged America’s credibility.
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and Headquarters staff officer, who was in charge of armaments cooperation with the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas from 2000–2003. He holds M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as Deputy Director of National Operations for the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, and is a contributor to Dr. Peter Pry’s book Blackout Warfare: Attacking The U.S. Electric Power Grid A Revolution In Military Affairs. He also serves as the Editor of “The Real War” newsletter. He may be reached at [email protected].