The US shoots down 4 strange flying objects in 6 days, suspected to be Chinese spying objects

Leonard Sengere Avatar
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What is going on on this planet of ours? The developed nations seem hell-bent on starting World War 3. The Russia-Ukraine situation persists and every day you get the feeling we are one bruised ego away from the whole thing descending into nuclear warfare.

Whilst we had that going on, China and the US started their own shenanigans. These two powerhouse countries have been in a cold war of sorts for years now. 

We have seen trade tariffs, company and service bans and other manoeuvrings over the years. Huawei’s international mobile business was as good as killed in the process.

The latest in the saga has to do with spy balloons. Earlier this month, on the 4th, the US shot down what they say was a spy balloon, the size of three buses. It was hovering over US airspace.

There are a lot of countries that the US is not in good books with and so they had no idea whose balloon it was. ‘Could it be Zimbabwe trying to retaliate for ZIDERA?’ They wondered. Just kidding, they immediately ‘knew’ it belonged to the Chinese.

The strange flying objects

The Chinese confirmed that the balloon was theirs but claimed it was a weather balloon gone astray. The US was having none of it. 

The Americans could not collect the debris of that shot-down balloon for 10 days because of bad weather. They have now recovered the debris from the Atlantic ocean. 

Large sections of the structure were recovered on Monday. 9-12m of the ballon’s antenna was recovered. Today, they found “significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified.” The FBI is examining the items.

The Americans believe the high-altitude balloon was used to spy on sensitive military sites. The Chinese are throwing the, ‘why so paranoid’ line saying it was a weather airship blown astray. 

I find it hard to believe that it was just a weather balloon but we shall know soon enough.

If it was just that one balloon, we could believe the Chinese but since that one on the 4th of February, three more high-altitude objects have been shot down over the US and Canada.

On the 10th of February shot down a flying object the size of a small car that was hovering over Alaska. The third object was cylindrical and had a tethered payload below it whilst the fourth object was octagonal with strings attached.

The US says while they had to shoot down the first big balloon because it poses a serious danger to citizens on the ground, the three smaller objects were shot down from an abundance of caution.

Real life is not like the movies and the US when trying to shoot down one of the flying objects first missed. Mind you these are slow-moving objects but the US had to waste a US$400,000 missile first. They say the small objects are difficult for pilots to target. 

All these objects were lighter than air aircraft which can reach high altitudes. Lighter-than-air aircraft includes balloons for which the pilot can only control altitude and dirigibles for which the pilot can also steer. 

So, with no steering, the part about the Chinese balloon being blown astray is accurate. Whether it was a weather balloon blown astray or a surveillance aircraft blown off-course remains a mystery.

Should we care as Zimbabweans?

It’s conflicting watching all this play out. While I can’t really say I have any affection towards the countries involved, being a selfish Zimbabwean I can’t help but worry this might affect us in the end.

The worst-case scenario would be an all-out war, which would surely collapse the global financial markets, plunging us deeper into recession. 

In times of war, even an escalated cold war, can we expect the US, which has significant control over global internet infrastructure to keep us all connected? I don’t know. 

We also looked East and depend on China for a lot of things these days, including financing a new Parliament building of all things. Can we expect these credit lines to remain open should things escalate? I don’t know but also don’t know if that would be such a bad thing.

That may be but as the world, can we really handle Chinese manufacturing scaling back? I don’t think we can. That’s the unfortunate side effect of globalisation, we all depend on each other now, for better or for worse. That’s me though, what do you think about all this? Do let us know in the comments section below.

Also read:

The control of information flow by American tech companies during Russia-Ukraine war is scary

Huawei Technicians Accused Of Assisting African Governments To Spy On Opponents



What’s your take?

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  1. Anonymous

    Not the US acting holier than thou. Like it is not actively spying on everyone

    1. Leonard Sengere

      They are like that friend that loves hurling insults and the moment you throw one back they act all butt-hurt, talking about squaring up.

  2. RIP SuperMega

    The US is constantly spying on us. One balloon and they act all paranoid

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The hypocrisy. Then again it takes a spy to understand what another spy is doing, so maybe their reaction is the appropriate one. We don’t understand the implications but they do and are freaking out.

    2. Too much edibles

      Putting a physical asset in someone else’s airspace that could easily be anything from a targeted signal intercept platform to a weapons payload delivery system (as developed and tested by even China) is different from run of the mill, hands-off espionage. At the very least, it’s a provocation, at the worst, it’s an active threat

      1. Leonard Sengere

        That’s how it should be looked at. It really doesn’t matter that the US does this to other nations that are too preoccupied to care. It looks hypocritical but it is what it is.

  3. Home schooled.

    If its an unidentified object flying in your airspace ,yes the Americans are justified to shoot it down. F22 raptors are waiting for just that, protecting their airspace !

    1. Too much edibles

      I’m honestly blown away that people don’t get this simple thing.

      1. Leonard Sengere

        I think people get it but are just marvelling at the lead provocateur and spy master acting all indignant that someone is doing to them what they do to others.
        They are justified in shooting it down.

  4. Brodley

    A cheetah smiles while it licks others but when it is licked it says “oh ,my spots are soiled (,with a grin face😾)”
    America is the CHEETAH !

    1. Leonard Sengere

      That Shona proverb is 💯

  5. Too much edibles

    I say shoot all the balloons if
    a. There were no prior agreements to allow passage through airspace
    b. If the owner does not advise of malfunctions in a timely manner to countries that may be affected by an ‘out of control’ balloon (yes, these things can navigate along a route, and yes, even an actual weather balloon can cause at minimum disruptions to aviation)
    c. If intent cannot be verified and if point of origin refuses to acknowledge their asset in a timely manner (aka before you cross into controlled airspace and proceed on a tour of high value military installations)

    1. Leonard Sengere

      This all sounds rational to me. Perfectly put.

  6. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    I’m certain there are balloons above Africa, but we couldn’t be bothered. While they are just prospecting, watching and listening, we think these are just antics targeting the West.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yep, we’re too preoccupied with our political struggles to look up. I guess when it’s life and death on the ground, you just don’t care enough about future threats. That has been our undoing for years.