That missile’s not mine

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… what, excatly? That’s been the question on everyone’s mind since a California news crew picked up footage on Monday of what looked like a missile flying through the scenic Pacific sunset. Some have speculated it was an accidental missile launch from a U.S. submarine, or an even ...

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... what, excatly? That's been the question on everyone's mind since a California news crew picked up footage on Monday of what looked like a missile flying through the scenic Pacific sunset.

Some have speculated it was an accidental missile launch from a U.S. submarine, or an even more daunting missile test from the Chinese navy.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… what, excatly? That’s been the question on everyone’s mind since a California news crew picked up footage on Monday of what looked like a missile flying through the scenic Pacific sunset.

Some have speculated it was an accidental missile launch from a U.S. submarine, or an even more daunting missile test from the Chinese navy.

A statement released by the Department of Defense adressed the mystery but did little to clarify, stating "We are aware of the unexplained [vapor trail]… at this time, we are unable to provide specific details."

As of yet, no officials are claiming responsibility for the launch, and the U.S. Air Force and Navy have denied any involvement. Despite concerted media digging, there is only a slew of speculation — but no solid answers.

I’m going with a "balloon boy returns" hypothesis.

Mohammad Sagha is an editoral researcher at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

Two unidentified military vessels off Taiwan
Two unidentified military vessels off Taiwan

Beijing’s Taiwan Aggression Has Backfired in Tokyo

Military exercises have stiffened Japanese resolve.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

How to Take Down a Tyrant

Three steps for exerting maximum economic pressure on Putin.

A Taiwanese military outpost is seen beyond anti-landing spikes along the coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, on Aug. 10.
A Taiwanese military outpost is seen beyond anti-landing spikes along the coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, on Aug. 10.

Why Doesn’t China Invade Taiwan?

Despite Beijing’s rhetoric, a full-scale invasion remains a risky endeavor—and officials think the island can be coerced into reunification.

Crosses, flowers, and photographs mark the graves of victims of the battles for Irpin and Bucha at the cemetery of Irpin, Ukraine, on May 16.
Crosses, flowers, and photographs mark the graves of victims of the battles for Irpin and Bucha at the cemetery of Irpin, Ukraine, on May 16.

Russia’s Brutal Honesty Has Destroyed the West’s Appeasers

Yet plenty of Western intellectuals and politicians still ignore what Moscow is saying loud and clear.