Caitlin Johnstone: War Machine vs. Balloons

The U.S. empire has been surrounding China with military bases and war machinery for many years, in ways Washington would never tolerate China doing in the nations and waters surrounding the United States.

U.S. military bases surrounding China. (John Pilger – The Coming War With China.)

By Caitlin Johnstone

In what Austin journalist Christopher Hooks has called “one of the stupidest news cycles in living memory,” the entire American political/media class is having an existential meltdown over what the Pentagon claims is a Chinese spy balloon detected in U.S. airspace on Thursday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled his scheduled diplomatic visit to China after the detection of the balloon. The mass media have been covering the story with breathless excitement. China hawk pundits have been pounding the war drums all day on any platform they can get to and accusing the Biden administration of not responding aggressively enough to the incident.

“The important thing that the American people need to understand, and what we are going to try to expose in a bipartisan fashion on this committee, is that the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party is not just a distant threat in East Asia, or a threat to Taiwan,” House China Select Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher told Fox News on Friday. “It is a threat right here at home. It is a threat to American sovereignty, and it is a threat to the Midwest — in places like those that I live in.”

“A big Chinese balloon in the sky and millions of Chinese TikTok balloons on our phones,” tweeted Senator Mitt Romney. “Let’s shut them all down.” 

China’s foreign ministry says the balloon is indeed from China but is “civilian in nature, used for meteorological and other scientific research,” and was simply blown far off course. This could of course be untrue — all major governments spy on each other constantly and China is no exception — but the Pentagon’s own assessment is that the balloon “does not create significant value added over and above what the PRC is likely able to collect through things like satellites in Low Earth Orbit.”

So everyone’s losing their minds over a balloon that in all probability would be mostly worthless for spying, even while everyone knows the U.S. spies on China at every possible opportunity. U.S. officials have complained to the press that American spies are having a much harder time conducting operations and recruiting assets in China than they used to because of measures the Chinese government has taken to thwart them, and in 2001 a U.S. spy plane caused a major international incident when it collided with a Chinese military jet on China’s coastline, killing the pilot.

The U.S. considers it its sovereign right to spy on any nation it chooses, and the average American tends more or less to see it the same way. This is highlighted in controversies around domestic versus foreign surveillance, for example; Americans were outraged over the Edward Snowden revelations not because spy agencies were conducting surveillance, but because they were conducting surveillance on American citizens. It’s just taken as a given that spying on foreigners is fine, so it’s a bit silly to react melodramatically when foreigners return the favor.

As Jake Werner explains for Responsible Statecraft:

“Foreign surveillance of sensitive U.S. sites is not a new phenomenon. ‘It’s been a fact of life since the dawn of the nuclear age, and with the advent of satellite surveillance systems, it long ago became an everyday occurrence,’ as my colleague and former CIA analyst George Beebe puts it.

U.S. surveillance of foreign countries is likewise quite common. Indeed, great powers gathering intelligence on each other is one of the more banal and universal facts of international relations. Major countries even spy on their own allies, as when U.S. intelligence bugged the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Typically, even when such surveillance is directed against the United States by a rival power, it does not threaten the safety of Americans and it poses manageable risks to sites where secrecy is of the utmost importance. However — in the context of rapidly increasing U.S.–China tensions — foreseeable incidents like these can quickly balloon into dangerous confrontations.”

Now let’s contrast all this with another news story that’s getting a lot less attention.

In an article titled “U.S. secures deal on Philippines bases to complete arc around China,” the BBC reports that the empire will be adding even more installations to the already impressive military noose it has been constructing around the PRC.

“The U.S. has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan,” writes the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes. “With the deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of U.S. alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south. The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints – Taiwan and the South China Sea.”

“The U.S. hasn’t said where the new bases are but three of them could be on Luzon, an island on the northern edge of the Philippines, the only large piece of land close to Taiwan – if you don’t count China,” writes Wingfield-Hayes.

The BBC provides a helpful illustration to show how the U.S. is completing its military encirclement, courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines:

Map of bases

The U.S. empire has been surrounding China with military bases and war machinery for many years, in ways Washington would never tolerate China doing in the nations and waters surrounding the United States. There is no question that the U.S. is the aggressor in this increasingly hostile standoff between major powers. Yet we’re all meant to be freaking out about a balloon.

Ask me to show you how the U.S. has been aggressing against China I can show you all the well-documented ways in which the U.S. is encircling China with weapons of war. Ask an empire apologist to show you how China is aggressing against the U.S. and they’ll start babbling about TikTok and balloons.

These things are not equal. Maybe Americans should stop watching out for hostile foreign threats and start looking a little closer to home.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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43 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: War Machine vs. Balloons

  1. vinnieoh
    February 6, 2023 at 16:54

    Thank you, Caitlin, for juxtaposing the Philipine reality news against the “balloon-gate” threat to our precious bodily fluids! Just when you think the US clown show can’t get any more ridiculous, we find that once again we’ve underestimated.

    Several observations that I haven’t heard quite yet: despite the US freak show response, one must admit that at the very least the Chinese behavior here is awkward or even clumsy; a device of this type, possibly capable of circling the planet aloft within the jet stream, should have regularly filed flight notifications, wouldn’t you think? (I mean, just to avoid such red-meat reactions by anal retentive weekend-warrior types in certain over-militarized and over-armed countries! – a friend reported that he saw a tweet or some-such from a minor country-western star that “It’s a good thing the damn balloon didn’t fly over his airspace ’cause he woulda’ shot it down with his Glock 9mm, by gawd!” Well social media had a field day with that, i.e. – “Hey moron, the thing is 62,000 feet up!” No doubt he then donned his invisibility cloak.

    I’ve had a very difficult several weeks due to physical ailments and this has been the best elixir of comfort, relief and humor I could never have imagined.

  2. Rex Williams
    February 6, 2023 at 16:02

    It is almost laughable that the great big hegemonic USA, certainly the world’s most criminal country and the greatest hypocrite ever , was all fussed about two balloons from China. The map in this article shows the extend of the US expansion into military based surrounding China, many of which, even now, are being expanded throughout S E Asia to give them even more control over all activities in the region.
    And this is the country that countries like Australia allow to dictate our foreign policy direction? We should be ashamed of our glaring stupidity.

  3. February 6, 2023 at 15:04

    Waaaaaah, he looked mean at me after I took his lunch money and stole his homework and kicked his dog. Do something Pa!!!!!

  4. JonnyJames
    February 6, 2023 at 10:59

    When I first heard the balloon story, I laughed so hard my eyes watered and my stomach hurt. As Caitlin and others have already said, this one is one of the low points in bizarre, wacky, laughable nonsense. It’s so ridiculous it should be a Saturday Night Live skit. The irrational, ignorant, contradictory hypocrisy is off the charts.

    At the end of the first “news” story I expected the ol’ “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night Live!”

    The comedy material is written for us.

    • Valerie
      February 6, 2023 at 15:27

      I’m glad someone else had belly-aching laughs over this scenario. What was even more hysterical was their anticipating retrieving information after it was shot down. Surely it would have been severely damaged. I wonder if we’ll ever get to find out.

  5. Bob Gardner
    February 6, 2023 at 08:30

    Please look up at the balloon. Pay no attention to the cloud of toxic gas floating over eastern Ohio, and the derailment that caused it. Even though the Biden Administration is forcing railroad workers to get by on one sick day a year.

  6. Samuel Beckett
    February 5, 2023 at 20:52

    Last time American media foamed at the mouth over a baloon was in 1947 in Roswell. That time it was “little green men”, and now it is “evil spies”. After 75 years of technological advance America still gets it wrong. I wonder what/who they’ll blame the next baloon on? The Borg, maybe?

  7. lester
    February 5, 2023 at 15:11

    The balloon certainly provides info on how irrational, even crazed, US leaders are!

  8. lester
    February 5, 2023 at 12:47

    Thanks, Caitlin!

    Maybe this will excuse a trillion dollar balloon race!

    Of courtse, the real “crime” of the Chinese is that their government isn’t submissive and ordinary people are too prosperous.

  9. mgr
    February 5, 2023 at 12:45

    I think the balloon incident demonstrates that the US is no longer capable of self-correction.

    What is evident is that the US public is now fully groomed for hysteria. Add to that the legions of propagandists in government and media who are actively pushing 24/7 to make sure that any rational or independent thinking is no longer possible in America. The lemming-izing seems mostly complete.

    On a lighter, albeit perhaps accurate, note, I happened to read somewhere this description of Secretary of State Blinken’s response. As reported, he was forced to cancel his trip to Beijing (apparently he didn’t feel it was so very important). When he got word of the balloon, he shouted to his driver: “Turn this this motherf*cker around! We’ve got a balloon on our hands!”

    In this brave new world of the American republic, somehow, I imagine this to be true.

    • LeoSun
      February 6, 2023 at 18:36

      Indeed. The Meeting w/Beijing was aborted. The S.O.S., Blinken “circled back” to see w/his own cold, non-blink’n, black eyes, that the Political Corpse, from Delaware, posing as POTUS masquerading as human, was NOT shuffled on board The Balloon, flying, on auto-pilot.

      No worries…POTUS “flying by the seat of his pants,” free-wheeling, popped a balloon of truth. Last Friday, POTUS said, “he ordered The Balloon shot down on Wednesday.” POTUS “GOT” Schooled. Unlike the POTUS’ before him, #46 is NOT “The Decider.” C’mon, man!” you know it ain’t easy. You know how hard it can be.”

      “The way things are goin,’ there’s peace in knowing The Nuclear Codes are NOT in “Joey’s” toolbox!!!

      Besides, POTUS’ present challenge, sucking US into his war w/China. No doubt he’ll be yapp’n & yell’n about the state of the union’s “Democracy” in extreme decline bc the Dragon & the Bear got the old, demented, bald Eagle by the balls.

      Imo, it’s time to shuffle the deck & serve up the 25th Amendment. The Handler in Charge, needs to Get POTUS into rehab. A.S.A.P. He needs to get some help!!!

  10. Henry Smith
    February 5, 2023 at 09:44

    So they shot down the balloon. How much did that cost ?
    From the BBC:
    “An F-22 jet fighter engaged the high-altitude balloon with one missile – an AIM-9X Sidewinder – and it went down about six nautical miles off the US coast at 14:39 EST (19:39 GMT), a defence official told reporters.”
    AIM-9X Sidewinder ~ $381,000
    F22 ~ $85,325 an hour
    Conservative guess: Shooting down the balloon cost the USA taxpayer approx. $500k-$700k
    Then there’s the search mission to collect the debris …
    In total this fiasco will probably cost around $2M. To shoot down a weather balloon. Total madness.

    • Piotr Berman
      February 6, 2023 at 02:10

      How many seconds worth of annual American military budget did this operation consume? With calculator, one second is ca. 27,000 USD, so about 20 seconds. And Americans got a CLOSURE for the traumatic episode. And with extra costs, search, analysis of the finds, additional expertise (e.g. was this sea turtle from the balloon, or just your normal local turtle, not to mention assorted garbage) the cost can rise to two minutes. In the aftermath, some money will be moved from ballistic missile defense to balloon defense (optimistic scenario, probably Congress will allocate some extra few billions).

      In short, madness as usual.

  11. LeoSun
    February 5, 2023 at 03:30

    “There is no question that the U.S. is the aggressor in this increasingly hostile standoff between major powers. Yet we’re all meant to be freaking out about a balloon.” W/o fail, from the beginning to the end, Caitlin Johnstone on point!!!

    In the past, w/the war on terra, flying under the radar, “Washington staged the carpet bombing of North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from its bases in the Philippines.”

    In the present, Washington’s Commander N Chief, Lloyd Austin, aka US Defen$e Secretary’s, “preparations for war with China are focused above all on Taiwan. The Philippines, immediately to Taiwan’s south, is critical to these plans.”

    And, while the People’s focus was on China’s Weather Balloon, spying, freely flying over the Divided $tates of Corporate America’s Military Industrial Complex; the Commander N Chief, Lloyd Austin, aka the US Defen$e Secretary, kept his meeting, in the Philippines, February 1-2, 2023, w/the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

    “Loaded For Bear!” The Secretary’s dirty, grubby, bloody paws waving The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA); AND, The RBIO, Rules Based International Order, declaring, “THE EDCA arrangement is not about “permanent basing, but it is a big deal. It’s a really big deal.”

    “The denial that this is permanent basing is a necessary subterfuge to enable the “big deal,” through which the United States is re-establishing its military bases, critical to its war aims in the Asia Pacific region, in its former colony, the Philippines.

    The EDCA authorizes: 1) the deployment of unlimited numbers of US troops and supplies to a set of “agreed locations.” 2) These locations will be governed by the U.S. .3) Filipinos will not be allowed to enter any US-controlled location. 4) Only one Filipino military representative will be allowed access; AND, ONLY, with permission secured in advance from the US commander.”

    CUI BONO?!?

    “For 30 years, the basing of US troops in the country has been banned. The Biden-Harris White House & Marcos Jr’s, administration are poised to reverse that. After six long years, with the newly elected Marcos,” the Divided $tates of Corporate America, “is moving again to establish bases:”

    1. US forces are also guaranteed access to all “public land and facilities (including roads, ports, and airfields), including those owned or controlled by local government” as needed.
    2. US troops and civilian contractors are subject to the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the US government.
    3. Should they be accused of a crime, the Philippine legal system will have NO jurisdiction over them.
    4. The US will Pay NO Rent for the use of these facilities;
    5. AND, if they choose to vacate a facility, the Philippine government is obligated to reimburse the US military for any “improvements.”
    6. SOURCE: “Washington announces basing of US troops in the Philippines,” John Malvar, 2.3.23

    No doubt about it, imo, The Party of War is in The House hell bent on nuke’n the planet. Protest & Survive!!!

  12. HelenB
    February 4, 2023 at 21:16

    Weird situations :
    1. I presume weather balloons flying around over foreign countries is a new thing.
    2. Yes, why the fuss? Why not just shoot it down? Well they finally did over the ocean. Were they worried about poisons in it? Why not talk with China about it?
    3. Weather has been a big, big deal in recent years. Many many protests worldwide regarding global warming. The push to reduce fuel usage has been extreme, and oil and gas markets have been of course perturbed. But strangely, the US has had record breaking cold and rain in recent months. Phenomenal hurricane tore up Florida. Phenomenal floods up and down California. Is China curious about why? Well, I certainly am! Of course, Dane Wiggington has his explanation. Is this a private matter for DC?
    4. Of course, anything to say “Big, bad China.”
    5. Americans should be more concerned about loss of privacy at home. Smart meters can tell outsiders what circuits are in use in your house. Video cameras very common on the street. Video cameras all over in every store. Required fire detectors doing more than detect fires at home. Phone monitoring. …

  13. Tom_Q_Collins
    February 4, 2023 at 16:08

    And now they’ve shot it down. But worry not, warmongers – there is another “Chinese Spy Balloon” over Latin America.

  14. CaseyG
    February 4, 2023 at 15:04

    “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union….”

    I love the Preamble. It’s very clear and very basic. It’s very old too, and still, who ever THEY are has still not fulfilled its promise to We the People. That would be all of the people, including indigenous people, immigrants,
    people from many lands. What is the problem?

    Is it that America won WW2—and for whatever reason then believed they could rule the planet? Well the planet is warming, water is disappearing and why are we aidingUkraine when our own nation is failing?

    Riddle me thatAmerica!

  15. IJ Scambling
    February 4, 2023 at 14:32

    A perception-management op arises!

    On one hand from The Liberty Daily:

    “These balloons are capable of carrying a nuclear device. If just one or a few of these devices could be detonated over the United States, the electromagnetic pulse would take down our power grid, internet, and other important pieces of infrastructure, making us ripe for invasion” [plus killing a lot of people].


    On the other hand, balloon technology for surveillance belongs to the 1940’s and has been replaced with satellites, of which the Chinese have over 200 employed in surveillance. This factor, as part of the military’s saying the thing is harmless and shooting it down could shower dangerous debris onto those below, might add in consideration of the Chinese response.

    They say it’s a weather balloon blown off course by high winds, without pilot, but above the level where commercial aircraft fly. Satellites can’t observe/experience weather in quite the way balloons can. Ergo a plausible denial for “up to something,” “threatening,” and increasing hostility toward China as next-in-line for war after Russia.

    According to an expert, Professor Iain Boyd, University of Colorado, who seems to dismiss the “wind-driven” possibility:

    “The balloon doesn’t pose any real threat to the U.S. I think sometimes China is just experimenting to see how far they can push things. This isn’t really very advanced technology. It’s not serving any real military purpose. I think it’s much more likely some kind of political message.”


    • Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
      February 5, 2023 at 11:42

      Prof. Boyd is quite right. The political message they seem to be signaling via the runaway yet loitering high-altitude balloon is ” if the U.S. is highly perturbed by a transiting airborne “Taiwan” in their vicinity within a few days how could the U.S. plausibly expect China to remain unperturbed forever by the permanently anchored “U.S. aircraft-carrier” in the shape of physical Taiwan in its neighbouring sea ?”

  16. Johnny Appleseed
    February 4, 2023 at 14:19

    Given the reaction … and especially, since this has the apparent ability to control the diplomatic activities of the United States … if I was running China, I’d make a lot more balloons. :)

    They can’t cost all that much, and perhaps get cheaper with mass production. Maybe put a little Sputnik radio on them broadcasting gibberish that the Americans can spend $billions attempting to decode? But, in the category of ‘bang for the buck’, this is apparently big bang for little bucks.

    If nothing else, I would find it incredibly annoying when Biden or Blinkey or any of the other reindeer insist on a long face to face meeting. You know they are going to be obnoxious and ‘raise issues’. You also know that you can not believe a word they say. They will tell you to your face that they ‘respect One China’, but then Nasty Nancy goes airborne right after the meeting. All of which sounds like a meeting which is both annoying and a complete waste of time.

    Now, there is a solution to the problem … launch balloons. Then the annoying meeting disappears from you calendar. Success!

  17. Eddie S
    February 4, 2023 at 14:19

    I’m in agreement with CJ that something doesn’t seem right about this ’spy balloon’ scenario, namely the lack of control/maneuverability of a balloon as a supposed spying tool, its narrow field of vision (ie; when something is that low, the horizon ’comes up’ relatively quickly and it can’t see any further than that horizon), and of course its lack of stealth. Also, why don’t they just shoot it down and examine it…? Or don’t they want to destroy this ‘propaganda moment’ by discovering it’s nothing but a weather balloon that got-lucky? When you read about spy satellites reportedly being able to resolve license plates on cars and players’ names on their football uniforms, it seems REALLY unlikely that they would resort to something as primitive as a balloon!

  18. Coleen Rowley
    February 4, 2023 at 14:13

    George Carlin would have a hey day with this! Americans are so brainwashed through their leaders’ effective use of fearmongering, ridiculously enough so that they are no more afraid of mass shootings occurring daily in a variety of schools, malls, churches, concerts and other public places nor even afraid of nuclear bombs on their way–just go inside said the NYC PSA and shut your windows– but of a little white balloon floating overhead. What did Edmund Burke rightly say about fear?–that it “robs the brain of its ability to think”. In other words, it makes us STUPID!

    • JonnyJames
      February 6, 2023 at 11:05

      I agree: the story is so irrational and ridiculous on its face, it is simply comedy. What next, Chinese spy Pandas at the Zoo? The Yellow Peril 2.0 – should we rename Chow Mein, Freedom Noodles?

  19. Charles
    February 4, 2023 at 13:42

    The Philippines welcomes U.S. balance against China when Chinese industrial fishing ships, accompanied by “coast guard” military vessels, push Filipino fishermen in small wooden boats out of their waters that they have used for hundreds of years.

    Vietnam welcomes U.S. balance against China when Chinese ships harass and shut down ships doing hydrocarbon exploration on contract in Vietnamese waters.

    Defeating one imperialist power does not remove the other one.

    • Piotr Berman
      February 6, 2023 at 02:16

      Any cites on Vietnamese welcome, or mind reading assisted by Echo Times or similarly unbiased source?

  20. SH
    February 4, 2023 at 12:11

    Thanx, Caitlin! for putting this in perspective …

    But maybe we oughta find out, and examine, what they are saying about this on Twitter ….

    Now that it is, and has been, pretty clear for some time that the Gov’t is, and has been, lying about, and concealing, stuff, and how it does it, wouldn’t it be a good idea to spend at least as much time telling us what it is lying about NOW, than what it has been lying about to us in the past – or we could always wait a bit longer, we seem to always be better at covering stuff, ad nauseum, once it is “old news” – sorta like the virus, we come up with a “new vaccine” just in time for that “new variant” it is supposed to fight to become “old news” – always a day late and a dollar short …

    Thanx, Caitlin, for helping us live in the present, so we can deal with now …

  21. Rudy Haugeneder
    February 4, 2023 at 11:19

    A balloon. Gawd, the world is coming to an end.

  22. Dan D
    February 4, 2023 at 11:06

    A few points: The cancellation of the Blinken trip to China has to be contemplated in assessing this matter. Furthermore, the U.S. almost certainly is monitoring all these balloon launches especially if they go off course and are headed towards the U.S. I suspect it wasn’t shot down because then it would be obvious that it’s a weather balloon, cancelling the war orgy. We were also told, by the Chinese, that these balloons have some limited directional or steering capabilities. If this is a civilian weather balloon, wouldn’t the U.S. military/security apparatus have the capability of jamming or overriding a less secure steering mechanism? Finally, the starting point has to be the purpose of Blinken’s trip and who and why it had to be sabotaged. Too conspiratorial? Not in February, 2023

  23. robert e williamson jr
    February 4, 2023 at 10:54

    Know we have the indisputable truth, America’s intelligence co0mmunity has lost what ever portions of their mind they ever had!

    Our national security state has become totally paranoid, not a good look for a nuclear power. Ask Putin and his countrymen.

    Thanks Caitlin.

  24. DMCP
    February 4, 2023 at 09:45

    Yes, the US response to the Chinese balloon is nuts. It’s almost as if the press thought it was floating weapon…but balloon warfare never really panned out anyway, after a few attempts in the 19th century.

    On the other hand, the response is perfectly consistent with the behavior of an imperial power which sees the world as its oyster and will broach no failure of respect from those it views as subordinates. Flying a balloon over Montana without permission is downright insubordination!

    And US foreign policy is explicitly imperial, once you look past the mask of good intentions. The doctrine of our Rules-Based Order is that the US will administer to the world its policy of neoliberal economics and democratic-style government, with the proviso that the government never gets in the way of the economics. Because a cornerstone of neoliberal economics is to have minimal government involvement. All of this is explicitly stated in document after document. The Wolfowitz Doctrine from 1991 is a prime example: the US will view the Eastern Hemisphere in the same way that the Monroe Doctrine laid out the US rules for the Western Hemisphere; that is, the US will exercise dominance over the hemisphere and no other nation shall be permitted to compete against its domination.

    For a while, the US tried to call this a laws-based order, but Obama amended the language after the obviously unlawful military actions of the US in Syria and Libya; he softened it to ‘rules-based order’, leaving it to the listener to fill in that the US will make the rules and the US will determine the order. Some people claim that the Wolfowitz Doctrine no longer exists or is irrelevant, but I say that the behavior of the US is perfectly consistent with that doctrine, just as Western Hemisphere interventions have been perfectly consistent with the Monroe Doctrine.

    But it’s hard to convince Americans that they live at the center of an empire, becaue the shiny veneer of foreign policy is that we promote democratic governments. Even when we so often support dictators, people find ways to rationalize that. And I’m beginning to realize that the US actually does like to work with elected governments, because it has refined its tool of ‘color revolutions’ to manipulate those governments behind a mask of democratic reform. See, for example, the recent demonstrations in Iran, Belarus, Mongolia, and of course Ukraine (2004 and 2014).

    Now we’re living inside a rich, spoiled empire with a really bad temper. If the empire had hair, it would probably be orange.

  25. Henry Smith
    February 4, 2023 at 09:35

    Ha, Ha – hey America ‘if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear’ !
    It’s a f*cking weather balloon, grow up. The rest of the planet already think you are a bunch of morons, stop proving them right if you want to earn some respect.

  26. Packard
    February 4, 2023 at 09:26

    Sorry, but this entire ChiCom balloon episode looks, sounds, and smells too much like another orchestrated MSM misdirection play. It is intentional, and is directed at America’s ADHD masses. It is what Senator Daniel Pat Moynihan once called, “boob bait for the bubbas.”
    Instead, we are kindly asked to ignore our open southern border with the millions of low skilled, and poorly educated illegal aliens crossing it. We are expected to look away from the nuclear WW III war drums being pounded by our own State Department, CIA, NSA, and Pentagon over far away, and strategically insignificant Ukraine.

    We should all stop talking about our increasingly age addled POTUS, his family’s craving for Ukrainian & Chinese influence grift, and the protection racket given to President Biden by our politically corrupt DOJ & FBI.

    Then, there are also those awkward 100K/year Fentanyl deaths, a $32 trillion national debt, and a clever government sleight of hand inflation/CPI formula that purposefully undercounts inflation by nearly 50% of its real effect.

    ChiCom spy balloons you say? So, what was it we all are talking about only this past Wednesday?

  27. Valerie
    February 4, 2023 at 08:59

    Things are hotting up, with warmongers full of “hot air” saying things like this:

    “Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state under Donald Trump and former CIA director, said on Saturday that Blinken’s cancellation of his planned trip to Beijing was “not remotely enough”, describing the incident as an “intentional incursion” into US airspace.

    Asked whether the balloon should be shot down, Pompeo told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Shut down by whatever means is most likely to achieve a couple of goals. One, to let the Chinese Communist party know that we’re serious. Two, to find out what it is that they’re collecting … and finally to do so in a way that is safe for everyone on the ground.”

    OMGodzilla. I can’t stop laughing. I’m imagining in the future, added to the list of wars named:

    War of the Roses
    War of the oranges
    Pig war
    Pastry war

    And then: war of the balloons.

    Aren’t we such a destructive, nasty species.

    • IJ Scambling
      February 5, 2023 at 10:27

      Valerie, this is terrible, I mean . . . I’m laughing too much and spoiling my paranoia-en-freude!

      You mean it might not be “a spy balloon”? And, by all means, we MUST let the Chinese know we’re serious!

  28. James White
    February 4, 2023 at 07:17

    Caitlin Johnson is on her game as always, but she must be a weary soul. So much hegemonic hypocrisy to be exposed in so little time. No doubt, tears are being shed in Bejing on the news that milquetoast Anthony Blinken will not be darkening their door. Tears of laughter and joy.

  29. peter mcloughlin
    February 4, 2023 at 07:00

    In history hawks are convinced the nation can win every war it fights: eventually it faces the war it will lose. Unless we can change, that also means WW III – what nobody wants.

  30. Michael Perry
    February 4, 2023 at 06:10

    Born: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, November 20, 1942, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
    Born: Olaf Scholz ,June 14, 1958, Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, West Germany
    Born: Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron, December 21, 1977, Amiens, Somme, France
    Born: Rishi Sunak, May 12, 1980, Southampton, Hampshire, England

    etc, etc…

    Globalization did not “end all wars” within the last century.
    … But, it did teach greed. … Real well.

    All is not fair with love and war.

  31. Valerie
    February 4, 2023 at 03:59

    It’s an epidemic. Pentagon has apparently detected another balloon over Latin America. One would have thought the Chinese capable of more sophisticated/undetectable surveillance equipment. Strange how the USA, so adept at spying on people, should be averse to such a thing. Just another exercise in “fearmongering” and “smearing” the communists.

    • robert e williamson jr
      February 4, 2023 at 15:31

      Puuuleaze Valerie!!

      You see lemons I see lemon aid – to wit – erections will abound in DC this evening, Uncle Joe has in his, or whats let of it, mind , validated himself among those who possess balls enough to pull a trigger!

      Give this guy a cigar he hit the balloon. I’d suggest that it the Chinese were adept enough figure out the polar express ans direct thixs ballon precisely we all might be in real trouble 1


  32. shmutzoid
    February 4, 2023 at 03:45

    Just as people in the US have been brainwashed/propagandized to think Russia’s attack on Ukraine was totally unprovoked and just came out of the blue, so will US imperial perception managers be having the sheeple believe the US has done nothing to provoke/instigate a military confrontation with China. it just doesn’t compute – the media/state alliance is that solid.
    ——— I wonder how many Americans actually even know that the US has over 800 military bases around the world. And if they did, would any thought be given as to WHY there are so many? I fear not. ————— And, if you correctly pointed out that China has only five or six bases outside its borders, people would STILL argue that China is a greater threat to us than we are to them.
    ————-The propaganda is SO thick, and, the marginalization of alternative media SO aggressive, I’m afraid we’ve reached a critical mass of ignorance in the US. —— US imperialism is on the march again (well, it actually never stops) and too many are just along for the ride, shouting USA! USA! USA!. ———— The so-called War on Terror was just the warmup act, with plans to invade/take over five countries in seven years. That didn’t go so well, but, NOT to be deterred! The US has moved on to —> ta daaa—> Great Powers Conflict! (or, The Decisive Decade, per Biden). ………We gonna bust up those Ruskie commies and then show China who’s boss!

    • John Ressler
      February 4, 2023 at 09:16

      Up vote this comment x 1 million ! Thanks

    • torture this
      February 4, 2023 at 11:32

      “critical mass of ignorance”

      People are actually learning new versions of history from people that have been caught lying through their teeth. It’s unbelievable!

    • Tom_Q_Collins
      February 4, 2023 at 16:10

      The messaging consolidation and media capture warmup act started under Reagan and then Bush I, as noted in a republished Robert Parry article from yesterday here at Consortium News.

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