The recent kerfuffle surrounding the Chinese surveillance balloon that sailed above Canada and the United States before meeting its demise off the southeastern coast of the United States has tongues wagging and heads scratching in equal measure. While some may write this off as geopolitical shenanigans by China and nothing to fret about, I submit that it is emblematic of a nation-state using all resources available to acquire pieces of information and fill in the blanks on the mosaic they are building about a potential adversarial nation.
The physical threat posed by this balloon and the collection platform that dangled below it was negligible unless the balloon fell from the sky and landed in a populated area. It did not. When it met its demise, it was shot down by a US F-22 Raptor and fell into US territorial waters off the coast of South Carolina.