China’s spy balloon captured the American public’s attention last week during its transit over North America. Republicans are slamming what they consider a delayed response by the Biden Administration in destroying the craft.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) is among a number of high-profile Republicans criticizing the Biden White House for what they call mismanagement and a sign of weakness. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is saying something similar, stating in an interview that China is testing the United States.
Rubio said, “They understood that it was going to be spotted, they knew the U.S. government would have to reveal it, that people were gonna see it over the sky. And the message they were trying to send is what they believe internally, and that is that the United States is a once-great superpower that’s hollowed out, it’s in decline.”
Rounds called for increased investment in technology and new weapons platforms. He said in a Newsmax interview regarding China, “In all areas, they are trying to take the upper hand.”
In many ways, the balloon incident is part of a wider period of competition between the United States and China.
Following the shooting down of the spycraft, the United States is salvaging pieces of the balloon for analysis. This may shine some light not only on the recent encounter but also a number of other Chinese balloons observed over North and South America.
President Biden took time during his State of the Union this week to tout his record with handling the balloon. He framed shooting down the balloon over the Atlantic Ocean as a sign of strength.
Republicans view the delay as a sign of weakness. The spy balloon traveled more than two thousand miles from Montana until its final resting place off the coast of South Carolina.
Too many Republican elected officials, this delay was not acceptable.
Biden’s #SOTU was littered with lies.
3 big lies he told:
1. His border plan will stop fentanyl.
2. The world knows that Biden is tough on China – he waited a week to shoot down the balloon.
3. Republicans want to take away Social Security and Medicare. pic.twitter.com/Gtch8zoToG
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 8, 2023
The response to the current spy balloon will shape both American and Chinese policy going forward. To many Republicans, the American response encourages Beijing to send over more spycraft in the future.