Zakaria calls out ‘irrational’ response by US to Chinese balloon


Salvage efforts are currently underway after a US fighter jet shot the balloon down yesterday. You watched it right here live on television. The downing of the balloon ended a week long saga as it man across the country,.

Possibly gathering data. Joining me now to talk more abou this is my CNN colleague, Fareed He is the host of Fareed Zakaria Good to see you, Fareed. So China is reprimand and no surprise here, but China is reprimanding or thr the US after the balloon take do.

So if relations between the U.S. and China were tenuous. What is it now? Well, I think what it shows is t these kind of small crises can escalate out of control in a frankly very dangerous way. If we step back and ask ourselve what was this crisis,.

How unprecedented was it to have this event? Was it some kind of an escalatio Well, look, we now know that there have been like these that have passed across the United States in the Apparently, there was one last y There were three during the Trum.

Presidency. Nobody ever thought to do anything about it. So why this time? Well, perhaps because it could be seen by came So it really is the optics of it There's this you know,.

The Chinese have about 600 military satellit hovering around the world. They have photographed every square inch of the United There are other means by which you can get this stuff. Of course, the United States is.

The world's greatest. Has the world's greatest intelligence capabiliti we spy on the Chinese all the ti Using many, many different mecha So that seems something a little irrational. All about suddenly having this kind of paranoid att.

About one balloon that we happened to see when we did nothing about ones t that had passed through before. But how do we know if one really knows whether U.S. intelligence or U.S. military were able to discern what that balloon was doing?.

It's just publicly it hasn't been revealed and they ascertained that it was or it is a national security thr and thereby justifies their appr We don't know all of that. But isn't that a possible. Well, we don't know that. We don't know that.

But we have a long history of when these kind of things happen Intelligence agencies in the gov inflate the threat, tell you that there's some kind of vital that there wasn't. This is the same intelligence.

Agencies told us Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. So one has to take that with a healthy dose of skepticis given what I said, the facts, which is everybody who knows anything about this subject says.

You can get much more and much better images that we're using, spy satellites The Chinese have sent these kind of balloons up in the past There is there's a question of how are we reacting to what is the rise of a real compe a competitor.

And it feels somewhat like somet to me, like a reaction based on optics, domestic politics, Biden administration, worried about what the Republicans were saying. It doesn't feel serious. The idea that the secretary of s should postpone a visit to China.

For this look and knowing what you know, the Chinese knowing what you know now in terms of the president even coming out yesterday, saying he made this call on Wedn but then his military advisers s wait until it's over water.

Did that in any way? Because I know you did come out strongly on Friday saying it was a mistake to postpone the secretary of sta Tony Blinken, his trip to China, knowing what you know now. Given we don't know everything about what was behind.

The president's decision or the timing of it, do you beli it would have been wise for the secretary of state to be and the White House and Department of Defense knew that they were waiting for this balloon to be over U.S. waters, which they would.

Calculate would be by the weeken Would it be wise or detrimental for the secretary of state to be while the takedown of its balloon was taking place? Look, the fundamental question is, are we talking to the Chinese as a gift to them.

Or are we talking to the Chinese to secure America's interests in the world, to secure a degree of predictabi and reliability between the rela of the two largest economies in and a country that is a competit In my view, the reason we talk to the Chines.

The reason the United States has relations with other great powers, is because we are trying to secure America's interests. We are trying to stabilize a relationship that could go out of control. Remember, the Chinese.

Are nuclear power with intercontinental ballistic That's why we have talked to the Soviet Uni during the Cold War. That's why we talk to other coun And it feels to me like the whole image here is tha these visits are some kind of,.

You know, a candy or good or gif that we are giving the Chinese to be withdrawn when there is some kind of malfeasance. On their part. Look, the Chinese are spying on every day. We're spying on them every day.

By the way, they have cyber mechanisms at wo They're all these are the reasons to talk to them that we need to. I would like Tony Blinken to confront the Chinese about these very issues in perso draw lines, get agreements,.

Get some kind of rules of the ro set up. What have we gain by not talking Well, it's a postponement. It still might happen, though. Yeah, well, I hope it does. And I hope it happens quickly. There are a lot of urgent issues that the United States.

Needs to deal with China on. You know, as I said, we're in a new world. We're in a world where we have a great power that is not dependent on the U.S for security like Japan or Germany, powerful country,.

Economically, a competitor. We need to find a way to have an adult relations with this with with China. So earlier today on State of the Union, Rep Senator Marco Rubio said this brazen balloon inciden was part of China's goal.

Of showing that it is a major po Listen to his point of view I think the broader relationship between the US and to anyone who has any doubts abo Now, the bottom line is here, an we are now. China has been for some time and.

The primary strategic adversary of the United States. And we should be focused on it because what they're trying to d is create a world in which they are the most powerful nation And the United States is a great and decline that that is.

That is what they believe to be That is what they are working on And we have to determine whether we're going to allow the to head in that direction. Or no And Rubio Senator Rubio went on and criticized the Biden administration for their lack of transparency.

On the balloon in New Hampshire. Republican Governor Chris Sununu calling it too little, too late. The Republican chair of the Hous Select Committee on China, Congr Mike Gallagher, said the respons I'm quoting now makes us look weak and flat foot.

So a whole lot of criticism, but does this not end up also potentially playing into the hands of the Ch perhaps wanted to sow divisions with all of this? No. What it really shows.

You more is what happens when the nation goes into collective hysteria about s Usually bad things happen. I remember just this kind of con around the time of the Iraq war and when people said when people tried to point out that, you kno.

We didn't have evidence that there was actual nuclear we it was all casted as you were being somehow you know, being a traitor. Look, I agree with what Senator Rubio is saying, that China is a powerful economic competitor,.

A geopolitical competitor. The United States should try to this remains the most powerful country in the The way to do that, by the way, is to invest in America, to invest in American jobs. Precisely.

What the Biden administration is to maintain strong alliances. None of that requires this. And by the way, how come Marco Rubio didn't say when these balloons were flying during the Trump administration? That seems something know, the whole thing.

Seems very partizan and very pol on an issue on which, frankly, we should have the capacity to be somewhat bipartisan. This is just one more indication of everything. Even a balloon has become a fodd for a kind of crazy partizan warfare in.

Washington these days.

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