The Chinese spy balloon that was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean fits into China’s plan to replace the United States as the world’s superpower by exposing America’s weaknesses, author Michael Pillsbury, a senior fellow for China strategy at the Heritage Foundation, told Newsmax.

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“The long-term plan is to replace us, and one of the balloons fits into that, because it’s becoming pretty obvious,” Pillsbury, the author of “The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower,” said on Newsmax’s “Greg Kelly Reports” Monday night.

“It’s becoming pretty obvious now,” he continued. “Two Air Force Generals, two 4-star generals, one today, one several days ago, have admitted we missed this balloon. Either our radar wasn’t up to it or we were looking in the wrong place, or worst of all, we didn’t think the Chinese could do this.”

Pillsbury acknowledged that the U.S. intelligence community, to which he once belonged, “has a long history of underestimating the Chinese.”

It has been “conventional wisdom” in the community, he added, that the Chinese aren’t smart, can’t innovate, and have no future.

“What we’re seeing now is they exploited an opening and they were able to come in, we don’t know how many times in the past, and loiter over significant military targets,” Pillsbury said. “They’ve been doing this for quite a long time.”

Pillsbury said he would have advised President Joe Biden, after the photos were taken in Montana, to admit what happened and to say the military would do a better job looking for incoming balloons or even missiles.”

However, Biden didn’t do that, and then the administration at first tried to cover up the news about the balloon, and then Biden tried to play it down in a PBS interview, calling the balloon a “minor violation of our airspace,” said Pillsbury.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 may have come in part, after Donald Trump “demonized China quite effectively,” Pillsbury said.

“Basically, the Biden team is now stuck with this pro-China mantra on their foreheads, and they just can’t do anything tough in the military,” he continued. “Our military in the Pentagon seems to be abandoning the White House. They seem to be telling the truth. We missed these balloons.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has admitted that he didn’t know if the subsequent aircraft that has been shot down were scientific experiments, said Pillsbury.

Meanwhile, he said he thinks the news that was leaked concerning other balloons that made it to the United States under Trump’s watch was a “nice way” to place blame, but there are more leaks, “probably from our military who want the truth to come out.”

Pillsbury also commented on statements made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday, when he said he thinks the Chinese were “humiliated” by the discovery of the balloon, telling Kelly he disagrees.

“The Chinese are not humiliated,” said Pillsbury. “They’re looking powerful all over the world. They are playing up this story that we penetrated the great Americans’ air space … this is part of the larger narrative that China has been putting out the last five or six years that the balance of power in the world has changed. And now China is has surpassed America in many ways, and there’s more to come.”

Meanwhile, Biden could get tough on China if he was “uncompromised” said Pillsbury.

“The Heritage Foundation has got a long list of measures we think should be taken on China,” said Pillsbury. “We’re going to go public next month. Biden has access to these kinds of measures. He could go on tonight and say, This is a terrible invasion. I’m banning TikTok. I’m cutting back trade with China. I’m cutting investment in China.”

But Biden won’t do that, said Pillsbury, and he thinks “something strange is happening.”

“I knew him when he was a senator,” said Pillsbury. “I traveled with him on trips overseas. He was a real hawk on human rights and dictatorship.

“Something funny is going on with him and China. I don’t pretend to know what it is, but he has lots of quotes on the record from 10 to 20 years ago that China is an evil dictatorship … something happened in the last five to 10 years.

“I don’t pretend to know what it is, but I’m certainly in favor of hearings to find out why he changed his views on China.”