President Donald Trump quickly disproved any theories that he might step away from Twitter in his second year of office.

The president has spent the past 24 hours sounding off on foreign policy issues via Twitter – unleashing a tweet-storm aimed at nuclear relations in North Korea and anti-government protests in Iran.

William Inboden is a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the executive director of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as former senior director for strategic planning on the National Security Council at the White House.

Inboden says it’s difficult to guess what impact the tweets have on Kim Jong Un.

“We really don’t know,” Inboden says. “With President Trump’s tweeting, it feels like 2018 is starting off not with a bang but with an ‘uh oh.’”

Inboden says North Korea might interpret the tweets a number of different ways.

“We just don’t know the mind of Kim Jong Un. To try to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, does it actually cause Kim Jong Un pause about some of his nuclear adventurism? Or does it provoke him further?”

He says totalitarian leaders get their information very differently, so he likely doesn’t have advisors who tell him the full truth.

“How an insecure, belligerent, really malicious leader like him responds to these sort of juvenile tweets from President Trump, we don’t know,” Inboden says. “And that kind of uncertainty is worrying.”

Inboden says the U.S. has tens of thousands of American forces stationed in South Korea who are vulnerable to North Korean aggression.

 

Written by Jen Rice.

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  • Mark Heumann January 4, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I found the interview with Prof. Inboden disappointing, because it provided less information about the Koreas and Iran than other radio sources. I was hoping that there might be mention of the Korean families divided by the DMZ and how that might impact the South Korean government’s response to Kim’s overtures. Re Iran, another commentator mentioned that Rouhani’s attempt at transparency in government expenditures exposed how much money was going out of the country (to Syria and Iraq) instead of being used to relieve economic suffering at home. These are root-cause issues that transcend tweets.