Internet bursts with memes after Chinese spy balloon shuts down
The downing of an alleged Chinese spy balloon caused a stir, enraging Republicans who wanted it out of the sky sooner, and embarrassing Democrats and President Joe Biden, accused of looking weak.
But for much of the general public, the whole episode was a source of amusement that saw security experts and politicians speculating on something as innocuous as a balloon.
Trivializing the ordeal even further was the claim that three Chinese balloons entered the United States during the Trump administration, but were never shot down and not publicly mentioned.
Donald Trump has denied this, saying China “never” sent a spy balloon over the United States under his watch, despite Pentagon claims it happened during his presidency.
His son Donald Trump Jr. has mocked the former president, sharing a meme that depicts him as a giant baby balloon and suggesting he should fly over China in retaliation.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has reacted negatively in the past to light-hearted suggestions that he looks like Winnie the Pooh. This painting of Winnie the Pooh hanging from the balloon with a pair of binoculars was created by artist Travis Chapman
Donald Trump Jr. mocked his father by suggesting an inflatable balloon depicting the former president as a baby should fly over China in retaliation
Some have used the drama as an opportunity to poke fun at Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who in the past has reacted negatively to light-hearted suggestions that he looks like Winnie the Pooh.
Comparisons between Xi and Pooh first surfaced in 2013, after Chinese social media users began circulating a pair of photos that placed an image of Pooh and his slender tiger friend “Tigger” next to a pair of photos. a photo of Xi walking with then-US President Barack Obama.
In 2014, a photographed handshake between Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was paired with an image of Pooh clutching the hoof of his dark donkey friend Eeyore.
The lovable but silly bear then became a symbol of dissent in China, and government censors soon began deleting images mocking Jinping on social media. In 2018, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh movie “Christopher Robin” was denied release in China.
In 2013, Chinese netizens circulated images (above) that placed an image of Pooh and his slender friend ‘Tigger’ alongside an image of Xi walking with then-US President Barack Obama .
Army enthusiasts were quick to point out that the balloon’s fall marked the first air-to-air “kill” for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, despite having been in service since 2005.
“Downing the Chinese balloon was indeed the F-22’s first air-to-air kill,” said Rebecca Grant, Air Force systems specialist and president of IRIS Independent Research. Bloomberg in an email. “The Americans saw a hostile plane being shot down over our skies.”
The F-22 first flew in 1997 and entered service in 2005. It only made its combat debut in 2015, however, when it began flying missions against army positions. Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, carrying out guided airstrikes on ground targets.
Defense publication on war zone said it was “perhaps the highest altitude air-to-air kill ever”. The F-22 fired a Sidewinder missile at the balloon at an altitude of 58,000 feet. The balloon at the time it was touched was between 60,000 and 65,000 feet.
The maximum speed of a Sidewinder missile is 1,900 mph and each missile costs around $380,000.
Military enthusiasts were quick to point out that despite being in service for 17 years, the balloon downing marked the first air-to-air kill for the F-22 Raptor.
Some have mocked the Ministry of Defense for allowing something as innocuous as a balloon to create such drama
Others were amused by the Chinese claim that the balloon was just a stray weather balloon. The Ministry of Defense has categorically denied these allegations.
“The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to monitor strategic sites on the continental United States, was shot down over US territorial waters,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
“It was a PRC surveillance balloon. This surveillance balloon voluntarily crossed the United States and Canada, and we are convinced that it was seeking to monitor sensitive military sites,” the Department of Defense added in a statement. communicated.
Some were amused by the Chinese claim that the balloon was just a weather balloon that had strayed
Donald Trump Jr. even encouraged Montana residents to “do their thing”
Given that the Biden administration took so long to clear the balloon, it has been suggested that Americans armed with guns in Montana should try to bring it down themselves.
This photo above was posted online with the caption: ‘pov: you’re a chinese spy balloon flying over montana’
Some memes joked that the Biden administration was taking so long to clear the ball that Americans with guns in Montana might try to shoot it down themselves.
Donald Trump Jr. even encouraged Montana residents to “do their thing.”
“If Joe Biden and his administration are too weak to do the obvious and shoot down an enemy surveillance balloon, maybe we just let the good folks of Montana do their thing,” he tweeted Friday.
“I imagine they have the ability and the will to do everything themselves.”
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