Twitter: the messenger of powerful men

Chase Isbell

Donald Trump’s entry into the 2016 presidential campaign. Although his tweets have caused plenty of controversy since then, the president’s Twitter presence has reached a new level of contention on an international scale.

Alongside petty tweets concerning American athletes, bigoted messages about transgender soldiers and Islamic immigrants and self-praising declarations of his short time in office, our President has now added the possibility of nuclear war with North Korea to his growing list of Twitter topics.

Not only is the North Korean government well aware of Trump’s social media rants, NPR reports that North Korea has interpreted these tweets as a legitimate international declaration of war.

What does this mean for the U.S., its citizens and the world at large?

NPR again reports that the North Korean foreign minister believes this means his government has the right to shoot down any American military aircraft—an act that would almost certainly incite a call for military action from the Trump administration.

This would undoubtedly bring China, a supporter of the current North Korean government and a major power with nuclear weapons, into the conflict. Along with China, South Korea and Japan, allies of the U.S. and recipients of North Korean threats, would find themselves in the middle of what could be a nuclear World War III.

Yes, I recognize exactly how ridiculous it may seem to think that nuclear war could be sparked by comments on a popular social media platform, and I am definitely not implying that Twitter has doomed the future of man.

However, I do hope this acts as a wake-up call for Trump, his administration and his supporters. Throughout much of his campaign and even into his presidency, his supporters have seemed to view his Twitter presence with little significance.

They have repeatedly applauded Trump for speaking his mind and have failed to see the consequences of his obtuse language. Essentially, they have argued that his words do not matter.

However, the recent response of North Korea and its leaders should prove contradictory to the argument presented by Trump’s team and his loyal supporters. His Twitter is no innocent means of communication isolated from consequences. His harsh and unprofessional messages are projected across the globe, leaving hostile foreign governments with a dangerous degree of discretion in attempting to understand the implications of such abrasive threats.

Surely, even the most loyal Trump supporter would agree that a line has been crossed when a foreign power interprets a tweet as a declaration of war.

Is the notion that the leader of the free world should be mindful of the words he uses concerning an opposing nation with an unhinged dictator that revolutionary of an idea? How radical a concept is it to believe that Twitter is not the best platform to boast that the North Korean government and its leaders “won’t be around much longer?”

Perhaps now Trump and his many conservative supporters will learn from North Korea’s recent claims. Perhaps the threat of nuclear war may finally make the president realize that if he truly wants to serve the American people, he must understand the impact his words can have. Or, better yet, he could always get off Twitter altogether.