THE WASHINGTON TIMES - Clifford D. May - FEB 14, 2023
China’s rulers have accused the U.S. government of “a clear overreaction” to the flight of its balloon across our country. Which might make you wonder: How would China’s rulers react were an American balloon floating over their country? I can answer that question.
The late, great publisher Malcolm Forbes’ passions were riding Harley-Davidsons and flying hot air balloons. In 1982, he invited a few members of his Capitalist Tools motorcycle club to accompany him on a two-wheels-and-hot-air tour of the People’s Republic. I was one of them, tasked with writing up the story for Forbes magazine.
Malcolm’s balloon was inflated for the first time in a stadium. Our government-assigned minder remarked on how beautifully the lighter-than-air contraption rose into the sky. Then he asked: “How long before it comes back?”
“Oh, it’s not coming back,” I answered.
“Where will it go?” he inquired with a suddenly troubled expression.