Oh, my god, it’s spreading. Donald Trump has made all important diplomatic announcements via Twitter, so far. Now, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has jumped into the nuclear threat tweeting game.
According to the New York Times, Asif tweeted this on Friday after reading some fake news about Israel:
The tweet is still live at the time of this post’s publication.
The Times and others have determined that Asif was responding to an article on a site called AWD News. The headline reads, “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops into Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack.” Yes, the typo in the headline is written verbatim.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense tweeted yesterday, “reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false.”
The defense minister referred to in the article, Moshe Ya’alon, can be forgiven for not jumping onto Twitter and responding himself because he is no longer Israel’s minister of defense—Avigdor Lieberman is. The article does refer to Ya’alon as former defense minister at one point but keeps it present tense in other instances.
The Times correctly notes that fake news stories have “become an increasingly serious problem.” But what is also an increasingly serious problem is conducting life-and-death diplomatic relations on fucking Twitter. Anyone who has ever argued on Twitter or in a comment section knows how easy it is to be misunderstood. Tone, body language, nuance and more are the first victims in online communication. An even better foreign policy: Never Tweet.