By Herman Tiu Laurel

Anti-war Luftballons

February 6, 2023, 10:07 am

Reuters Fact Check on Feb. 4, 2023 headlined on its news side the very important and clarificatory news, “Fact Check – HBAL617 balloon tracker online is from US company Aerostar, not China” which shoots down the sensationalized false story of US mainstream media that it was a Chinese “spy balloon”. Despite this Reuters fact check being issued on Feb. 3, the false narrative of the “Chinese balloon” has continued to this day.

Another important news that shoots down the US narrative about the “Chinese “spy balloon” is the absolute nonsense is the comment of ex-Pentagon analyst Chuck Spinney who said, “It is hard to imagine why the Chinese would risk sending military-grade surveillance equipment in a vulnerable, uncontrollable balloon that cannot even be directed to a specific target,... These high altitude balloons basically go with the wind-flows.”

Of course, China itself was confused for a moment since it, as many nations do, have many high-altitude balloons floating around the atmosphere for many purposes from meteorological, atmospheric and climate research, pollution monitoring, telecommunications and imaging, educational and submillimetre astronomy. China, being invariably straightforward in its official communications provided honest information at hand at that time.

The Global Times in the early hours of Feb. 3, headline China’s response: “China rejects US’ spy balloon accusation, says civilian airship deviated from planned course caused by force majeure.” On Feb. 4, Global Times issued its second report, “China blasts ‘spy balloon’ hype, urges communication to avoid misjudgment” and stressed that the postponed Blinken visit to China anti-China elements were linking to the incident was never as formally scheduled event yet.

Some believe that the false “China spy balloon” hype was instigated by the Deep State to abort the Blinken meet in China agreed upon between Biden and Xi to help iron out difference between the two sides that erupted from the Pelosi visit in 2022 and China cut major bilateral talks over vital issues with the US – hence Blinken’s statement that the timing at the moment is “not conducive” due to the “Luftballon” incident. I use the German term for “air balloons” to transition to our next point.

“99 Luftballons” is a popular 1980s Cold War period anti-war 1983 song by the German band “Nena” which had been a huge hit in Europe and Japan, but I would also say it was a big hit in the Philippines. I am playing the song from You Tube as I write this piece, enjoying the popular beat and wonderful guttural German when put into songs -- but the important thing is the story of the song which I will use the Wiki summation to facilitate:

“99 balloons are mistaken for UFOs, causing a general to send pilots to investigate. Finding nothing but balloons, the pilots put on a large show of fire power. The display of force worries the nations along the borders and the war ministers on each side encourage conflict to grab power for themselves. In the end, a cataclysmic war results from the otherwise harmless flight of balloons and causes devastation on all sides without a victor, as indicated in the denouement of the song: ‘99 Jahre Krieg ließen keinen Platz für Sieger’, which means ‘99 years of war left no room for victors’."

From my perspective, there were three critical periods in the past three-quarters of a century that the danger of a nuclear war was imminent, the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962, the period of leading to the Fall of the Berlin War in 1989 and today when the US is threatened by three conditions: the continuing explosion of inflation and the US debt, plus the global de-dollarization that will lead to the collapse of the US dollar in the immediate years ahead.

The US needs to disrupt the global geo-economics conditions but short of triggering a final nuclear showdown, exactly like what the US is doing on the European continent is its proxy war with Russia pushing the crisis only to the edge of Ukraine’s border, and in Asia beginning with the present pressure on Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines to intensify militarization with surprise US military-political sources predicting a US-China war over Taiwan by 2025 and NATO expansion to Asia.

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Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Herman Tiu Laurel

Herman Tiu Laurel is a veteran journalist and founder of think tank PHILIPPINE-BRICS Strategic Studies.