President Donald Trump made history in 2016, and learned about the challenges of real governance in 2017. Those wondering how he will pivot into 2018 can rest assured that they will get more of the same. Trump began 2018 with a series of tweets directed at America’s Middle Eastern foes, including Pakistan and Iran.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years and they have given us nothing in return but lies & deceit, thinking our leaders as fools” Trump tweeted. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
“Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration,” he continued. “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many year. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”
These inflammatory comments come amidst a wave of protests in Iran, that some have compared to the Arab Spring protests for democracy that roiled the Middle East several years ago. Iranian protesters are angry about high unemployment rates, and are signaling a preference for Western, liberal capitalism. Even as Iranian leadership has called on President Trump to refrain from escalating the tensions, Trump has merely continued tweeting.
This could foreshadow a potential international conflict in 2018, which Trump only narrowly avoided during his first year in office. He infamously sparred with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over his increasing missile program, and his brutal treatment of an American prisoner held captive in the Hermit Kingdom. Trump made reckless comments in this exchange – and mostly via Twitter – leaving the world fearful that he would provoke Kim Jong Un into a serious war.
Now, in 2018, Trump is at it again, using Twitter in an unconventional and potentially dangerous way.