After US fighter planes were called out three days in a row to shoot down three unidentified airborne objects high over the continent of North America, a growing national security enigma now poses a political threat.
A week had passed since a Chinese balloon believed to be conducting surveillance was tracked and ultimately shot down in front of a large audience. Now that only scant information is emerging from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill, a highly rare international incident is becoming increasingly more weird and perplexing.
No one seems to be able to explain precisely what is happening with this most recent downed aircraft, not the White House, the Pentagon, or the government of Canada, whose airspace was also violated. This calls into question the possible safety of commercial aviation as well as the highest military brass and US spy organizations. Additionally, it creates a void in the information that Republicans are once more using to cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s ability to lead.
The intrigue is taking place against the backdrop of a tense world in which relations with China, a rising powerhouse, are becoming even more strained and the US is leading the West in a successful proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine.
Pilots weren’t often dispatched to shoot down mysterious objects over the US and Canada, even at the height of the Cold War in the 20th century, when US jets frequently headed off Soviet aircraft probing North American and European defenses. It’s unusual for Americans to watch the Super Bowl while their president issues orders to shoot down unidentified flying objects over North America.
In reality, NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck stated that recent items shot down were possibly the first “kinetic action” against an aerial object above US airspace that NORAD or the US Northern Command had taken.
Therefore, the recent incidents definitely raise important political and national security issues that go much beyond the frequently localized political conflict in Washington, and those issues can only be evaluated once additional information is understood.