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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: The spy balloon was a test for Biden: He passed

Courtesy of Wiki Commons
The Chinese spy balloon that flew over the U.S. from Jan. 28 to Feb 4.

Last week a Chinese spy balloon entered U.S. airspace over Alaska and transited the North American continent before its journey abruptly ended Feb. 4.

The whole ordeal was — of course — met with horror and criticism from Republicans who were shocked that President Joe Biden would just let this balloon fly across our country, possibly collecting sensitive information as it drifted in the wind.

On Feb. 2 Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took to Twitter to express her dismay with the situation. 

“Biden should shoot down the Chinese spy balloon immediately. President Trump would have never tolerated this. President Trump would have never tolerated many things happening to America,” she tweeted.

According to NBC News, she wasn’t alone in these criticisms. Former President Donald Trump joined her in eloquently expressing his dismay over the ordeal posting on his social media platform Truth Social: “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!” Sen. Tom Cotton didn’t hesitate to hop in on the criticism of Biden’s soft approach to the situation.

“As usual, the Chinese Communists’ provocations have been met with weakness and hand-wringing,” Cotton said.

If you listen to the Republican talking points over this incident you’d think Biden, like Neville Chamberlain in the 1940s, is ready to capitulate to any demands in order to avoid conflict.

But that simply isn’t the case. 

On Feb. 4 —- in a scene that would make for an extremely anticlimactic “Top Gun” sequel — an Air Force F22 shot the balloon down off the coast of South Carolina.

Despite Republican outcry, waiting to shoot down the balloon was the most logical decision.

Not only did it give the military and intelligence community the ability to study the balloon but it also allowed the Navy to successfully salvage the balloon over the ocean.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Biden’s delay was preventing possible civilian injuries or deaths.

According to The Hill, the balloon was traveling about 60,000 feet above the ground and was estimated to be the size of three buses. 

While Republicans may complain that Biden waited too long to shoot down the balloon, I can promise you their attacks against him if this balloon had fallen onto someone’s house would be endless.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Biden’s decision proved that the administration is focusing on the security of the U.S.

Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first,” Austin said to The Hill.

And he’s right.

Biden made a logical and calculated choice in the timing and method of dealing with this issue, protecting the safety of the American people and sending a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

At the time of writing, there have been several unidentified flying objects shot down, and in these too Biden has made the correct decision to protect American interests.

While Republicans will continue to use this incident as an excuse to take cheap, baseless shots against the president, he made the right choice at the end of the day.Additionally, in a world where an estimated 94 million Americans use TikTok — an app partially owned by the Chinese Government known to spy on Americans — don’t let Republicans keep complaining that Biden’s failure to shoot down a balloon was a threat to American intelligence.

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About the Contributor
Stephen Merrick, Staff Writer | he/him
Stephen is an undergraduate law major from Marshfield, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the Journal, he is a member of the Suffolk University Debate team, and was previously the president of the Suffolk University Democrats. In his free time, he enjoys reading, fishing and scuba diving. When Stephen graduates, he hopes to join the United States Coast Guard.

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OPINION: The spy balloon was a test for Biden: He passed