And now some arms-control experts tell the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that people really should be worried about the potential fallout from some of Trump’s most radioactive tweets.
Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear non-proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, tells Sargent that Trump simply should not be given access to Twitter if the United States gets into an escalating crisis with a nuclear power such as North Korea, as that country could easily misinterpret his intentions and start lobbing missiles at American allies.
“Imagine we’re in a crisis — if he recklessly tweets, people could read these things in the worst possible light,” Lewis explains to Sargent. “The North Koreans have a plan to use nuclear weapons very early in a conflict. They’re not going to wait around. If they think we are going, they’re going to use nuclear weapons against South Korea and Japan.”
Bruce Blair, a nuclear policy expert at Princeton University, similarly tells Sargent that Trump’s Twitter habits could cause a situation that’s already a crisis to spiral out of control and push other nations to take unforeseen actions.
“Almost any threat could be perceived as warranting some sort of response that’s not only rhetorical, but operational,” says Blair. “Words and threats have consequences in the nuclear operations world, and can instigate a cycle of escalation that spins out of control.”