Joe Biden’s foreign policy took on more damage in the last week as a Chinese surveillance balloon drifted across the continental United States before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
Chinese officials have claimed that the balloon is a civilian craft gone adrift, while U.S. officials insist it is a surveillance vessel. The White House has said that Biden followed the advice of military leaders not to shoot the balloon down over land due to the risk of causing civilian casualties and other collateral damage.
The incident has sparked criticism from Republicans, with many hammering Biden for initially failing to shoot down the balloon. Retired four-star Army General Jack Keane appeared on Fox News Network on Saturday and said the balloon should have been shot down when it remained thousands of miles away from the continental U.S. and over the Aleutian Islands.
Keane added: “We had to be tracking it from mainland China across the Pacific Ocean, and we had plenty of warning to put together an operation that we are conducting now on the east coast that should have been done there.”
Joe Biden *finally* shooting down the Chinese spy balloon is like closing the southern border after over 1.2 million illegally escaped into our country.
Waiting this long to take action projects weakness and is too little, too late.
— Congressman Ben Cline (@RepBenCline) February 4, 2023
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) has called for the White House to provide answers about why they decided to allow the spy balloon to cross the entire continental United States and what damage to national security occurred from this decision.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) has also expressed his concerns, stating that it was indefensible for the threat to enter U.S. airspace.
The Biden administration has said the decision not to shoot down the balloon was made out of an abundance of caution, with a senior defense official saying that “the fundamental calculation was not the intelligence value, but rather the safety to Americans on the ground.” Nevertheless, the incident has further eroded U.S. credibility under Biden and has sparked new debates about his foreign policy decisions.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said the balloon incident “has been a tremendous embarrassment for the United States of America.” He added: “It’s one more example of the weakness of the Biden administration on the global stage. Their lack of response, the show of weakness is provoking our adversaries and making America weaker.”