Stories about the alleged Chinese spy balloon are mushrooming, providing fertile ground for spreading the "Chinese threat" narrative. In the age of surveillance satellites, the assumption that Beijing is resorting to easily detectable balloons is absurd. The catchy "revelation" is primarily about undermining constructive China-US dialogue, and it is the US that is second to none in terms of using spy techniques on the PRC.
Since everything points to it being a Chinese spy balloon, the Biden administration must abandon its soft stance toward Beijing and respond decisively. With its blatant disregard for US territorial integrity, Beijing continues to fuel tensions, which is why Blinken's China trip needed to be canceled. This is a pivotal moment for Biden's leadership as well — the GOP is watching closely for a strong response.
In recent years, similar incidents have occurred time and again. Should the object prove to be a spy balloon, however, China would by no means be the only country that has recently explored the upper regions of the atmosphere for surveillance purposes via stratospheric balloons or high-altitude drones. The development of this technology is also being driven forward in the US. Situations like this are not unusual, despite the hype.
There is a 10% chance that there will be active warfare between the US and China before 2027, according to the Metaculus prediction community.