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Lessons for Israel to learn from the Chinese balloon incident

China's President Xi Jinping waves during the joint opening ceremony of the 8th round of U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogues, in Beijing June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Probably since the birth of the nation, Israel has played the role of younger sister tagging along after her older sibling, America, filled with admiration and wanting to be just like her. 

But the temptation to follow in the same footsteps and copy all the same things has been both to Israel’s advantage and to her detriment.

When it comes to last week’s incident, where a massive balloon, the size of two to three school buses, was spotted over the skies of Montana, this is where the “admiration cord” needed to be severed. 

There are some very important lessons our tiny country can take from what happened. The once former superpower, which mesmerized not only us but most of the civilized world, has seemingly become a mere shadow of its former glory days.  

It didn’t take much time to figure out that this balloon originated in China – already a bad sign. But once it had been spotted by ordinary American citizens and brought to the attention of governmental authorities, we all got a glimpse of how preserving the safety and security of a country, as well as her people should, not be managed.  

Perhaps it was best described by American commentator and military historian Victor Davis Hanson, who appeared on “Unfiltered” with host, Dan Bongino.  

He said, “This administration could have taken this thing down as it approached the Pacific or our air or water space, but they didn’t do it … and then the explanations kept changing. They said, ‘Well, it’s just a weather balloon, it’s not very sophisticated.’ Then people pointed out, ‘Well, it has the capacity of two buses, so they must be experimenting with a big payload and it could have weapons significance and maybe this slow-moving balloon can take more accurate pictures.’ And then they changed and said, ‘We wanted to protect people and we were afraid of the debris,’ but Montana’s a pretty empty place, and so I think public pressure finally forced the administration to do that [shoot it down].”

For those of us who were following this story, it certainly did seem that the reasons for why the balloon was being allowed to remain unfettered in the sky kept changing. First, it was determined not to be a danger to anyone; then, it was thought to be unable to spy and collect data; and, finally, the “concern” over injury to persons or property was offered as the excuse for why no one should tamper with this benign dirigible.  

But as each hour went by, more serious, key individuals began to unashamedly ask how the U.S. could allow a foreign entity to breach its airspace and hover over an area which houses nuclear weapons. To them it was unthinkable to not act. After all, it was a provocation which no other country would permit – certainly not China! 

As the pressure began to mount, the Biden administration had no choice but to act or lose face. But once they did make their move, successfully destroying the balloon in midair, they wasted no time performing their end-zone dance, and taking full credit for the bold and brazen decision to secure the nation and protect its sovereignty. 

Here is part of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s statement: “Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

The truth is that no such bravery or justified indignation seemed to be forthcoming from America’s president, who dodged reporters’ questions and inquiries on several occasions and over the course of several days, before the decision to shoot down the balloon had been taken. 

To the contrary, reporters were scurried away by aggressive White House handlers who made sure their questions went unanswered, while Biden just sat in his chair looking like a feckless and helpless leader who had neither a clue nor a strategy as to how to defuse an obviously worrisome situation. But then, this has been the consistent mode of management over the last two years of the Biden administration.  

The pandemic seemed to be handled in an off-the-cuff manner, making up the rules as they went along and inventing whatever “science” they chose in order to sound as if they did have a strategy. In truth, they failed time and again to thoughtfully and meticulously research sound courses of action which would have benefited individuals as well as the economy.

The problem is that, given the high esteem which their health agencies enjoy, their model became the default one for most every other country, and Israel was no different. Whatever the CDC or FDA said, Israel was quick to adopt. To this day, Israel has been reluctant to stray from the advice of their older sibling, America.

But when a country drags its feet and doesn’t have the stomach to act swiftly and decisively in order to protect its own interests, that is when other nations need to take a seriously long look at the weakness being displayed and come to the conclusion that America is no longer characterized by the John Wayne image. It has, regrettably, become a 90-pound weakling who is afraid of its own shadow.

While we are all saddened to make such an admission, it is one which, nonetheless, must be acknowledged, because failure to do so will mean we have not learned the valuable lesson that will protect us from thinking we must always seek their approval before we act.

The lessons to be learned from this China balloon incident is that Israel must continue to protect her citizens, without hesitation or wavering. She must not allow others to jeopardize her land, her people or her assets, which are many.

A nation is only a superpower to the extent that they are able and willing to do whatever is needed when push comes to shove. It is strong, resilient and great, because its leaders are confident, bold and unafraid. 

And what makes those kinds of leaders? Knowing that it is God Almighty who has, Himself, established us, preserved us and will continue to do so, because that is His promise to Eretz Israel!

Now that’s the real definition of a superpower!!!

ALL ISRAEL NEWS is committed to fair and balanced coverage and analysis, and honored to publish a wide-range of opinions. That said, views expressed by guest columnists may not necessarily reflect the views of our staff.

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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