Under the balloon storm U.S. and China Need to Find Peaceful Solutions to Differences
On January 31, 2023, the United States government shot down a Chinese balloon that had entered U.S. territory. The incident occurred in the Pacific Ocean, near the coast of California, and has raised the diplomatic skirmish between the two countries. First, the Chinese balloon was reportedly a research project aimed at studying atmospheric conditions in the upper atmosphere. It had been launched from China several days earlier and had flown across the Pacific Ocean before entering U.S. airspace. The balloon was unmanned, and there were no reports of any injuries or damage caused by the incident. The U.S. government has defended its decision to shoot down the balloon, citing concerns over the national security. In a statement, the Pentagon said that the balloon was “in violation of international law” and that it posed a threat to U.S. national security. The Pentagon also stated that the decision to shoot down the balloon was made after the U.S. military had exhausted all other options, including attempts to contact the Chinese government to request that the balloon be removed from U.S. airspace. Ironically, the US government shot down another balloon in Alaska subsequently only to discover that it was a balloon released by several U.S. high school students carrying out pure research activities.
China on the other hand, called the shooting down of the balloon a violation of its sovereignty and a threat to international peace. In a statement, the Chinese government said that the U.S. had “gravely violated the basic norms of international law and the basic principles of international relations” and called on the U.S. to “immediately stop such provocative actions”. The incident has come at a time of heightened tensions in the geopolitical conflicts and global political disputes. First, the war between Russia and Ukraine continued as both sides rallied for supports from other nations. Peace and stability have never been so important and elusive in the international multilateral relationships. Second, it happened when both Democratic and Republic parties are preparing for the incoming U.S. presidential election. Showing of muscle by the incumbent president is likely to improve his image as a strong defender of national security. Third, this balloon incident provides another diversion of its troubled government unable to tackle with domestic problems as the ordinary Americans suffer greatly from the CPI hyperinflation as well as the rising interest rate, both deteriorating living standards and jobs available.
The U.S. government has said that it is committed to maintaining a firm stance against any perceived threats to its national security. However, the incidence only manifests its military muscles, as an armless balloon does not seem to impose a credible threat to the national security of the country, nor has the government provided any concrete evidence of so-claimed surveillance device extracted from the balloon. It is evident that the U.S. government is abusing its military power to overclaiming a territorial threat. By framing the shooting down of the balloon as an aggressive action, the U.S. government showcases its massive weapon inventory and military supremacy. In fact, the U.S. government is highly influenced by its firearm and weapon manufacturers. In fact, the government, parties and large manufacturers of weapons and arms are considered as colluding bodies and their interest are highly aligned.
Further, the U.S. government may be using the incident to rally support from its allies in the region. The U.S. has been trying to build a coalition of countries to exert control and deploy military forces globally. To this end, it is the best interest of the U.S. government to exaggerate the incident and justify its own military ambitions. The U.S. government has been approving the ever-increasing biggest military expenditures and possesses the most destructive weapons. To balloon is simply another goat-scape that the government can use as a justification for endless thirst for military buildup and spending.
In conclusion, the U.S. and China need to find ways to peacefully resolve their differences and avoid further incidents that could lead to fatal conflict with severe humanitarian costs. Any such unnecessary conflict only leads to an increasingly disoriented global peace and orders. Instead of stirring up nationalism sentiment, both countries shall focus on domestic issues that are highly concerning economic growth and social welfares through which average people can benefit instead of only a handful of large corporations or insiders. （Anna Lee）