140 Characters and Global Risk

This number equates to twenty words of seven letters or symbols. Or, twenty-eight words of five letters or symbols. Irrespective of the combination, 140 characters typed in impatience is not conducive to well-thought out communication.

Yet, when in the hands of an ego-maniacal, less informed than needed and thin-skinned man who does not filter his thoughts, it is dangerous. People react to these few words that cannot possibly reflect context and subtlety and, in many cases, should not be typed without much thought and input from expert advisors. It is a bumper sticker approach to policy statements and governance.

But, when these character limits are deployed with national security messages, they are a recipe for disaster. The author has been advised on more than one occasion by another country how troubling these communiques are, most recently by China about his tweet on North Korea.

If this author is intending to govern by tweet with his temperament, this should give every person on the planet pause. But, don’t take my word for it.

On the BBC World News America earlier this week, Ian Bremmer, the founder of the Eurasia Group, an organization who measures risk, said the greatest global risk this year is an independent or retrenching America from the global scene. Bremmer said it would be akin to removing the guard rails on the global highways.

This is the stated posture of the President-elect to look more within. Imagine that concept being executed in the hands of the same less-informed, ego-maniacal and temperamental tweeting man. What could possibly go wrong?


31 thoughts on “140 Characters and Global Risk

  1. Dear Keith,

    The tweets of the republican president-elect are already having an effect on the World community and DT has yet to be sworn into the WH office.

    Yet, it is a window into his thinking that we might not have otherwise..

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Hugh, we are on the same page. With respect to his bullying companies who want to make things elsewhere with the threat of tariffs, he will find it hard to have a specific company tariff, as his administration would be sued and lose.

      He can put tariffs on all trade or by group, but singling out one company is not legit. I understand his grandstanding to save a few jobs, but bullying companies brings interference into the mix and a board of directors must act oh the best interest of its shareholders not the US.

      Some CEO is going to tell him to go screw himself and be within is rights. Apple is kind of doing that now. Keith

      • I agree with Hugh with regard to impeachment but couldn’t reply to his comment so putting mine here. As we all know, the issue now is that we need republicans to wake up, smell the coffee and DO THEIR JOBS!!! Meaning, I hope to God there are enough republicans to see that this man-child needs to be impeached. When do we get to find out that the chump has been in collusion with Putin since before the election?

      • Toby, there will be many opportunities for being at odds with him. They will have to galvanize their support, as the President elect will use his bully pulpit, enphasizing the bully part as is his history. Keith

      • agreed. and so we wait and stay vigilant. have you seen the cartoon “my desire to be well-informed is at odds with my desire to stay sane.” I have so many things on my “to do” list and I find that I have to pull myself away from the news…..yank might be a better word. Happy Sunday to you.

      • Toby, I have found myself a little less involved with the news. With low expectations of our President elect, he will time and again show his shortcomings. His ego is too large, his skin is too thin and his desire to speak before being informed will make it difficult for him to be successful. Keith

  2. I agree with you and Hugh … and there is something else to consider on the issue of import tariffs … that would raise the cost to consumers here in the U.S., which is not going to go over well, and does nothing to help the people who voted for him! Good post, Keith … I do so wish somebody would shut down his Twitter account and tell him it is NOT the appropriate means of communication for a president!

    • Jill, thanks. I have sense that smarter people have told him to do that, but his ego loves the instant gratification of letting his followers and now the world know how he feels about something. The quote about it is better to let people believe you are a fool, than to speak (or tweet) and remove all doubt seems to apply.

      You are right about the tariffs. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: After it is becoming clear that the Russians hacked computers and emails to influence our election, said person tweeted today that it is now the media’s fault for his disparaging comments of our security agencies. This is akin to it being Hillary Clinton’s fault for the Birther issue. When are his followers going to recognize this man has a very hard time with the truth coming out of his fingers or mouth.

  4. Since Trump has been elected president, I feel like I am living in a sort of twilight zone. I can’t believe this is real. I am dreaming, right? Make him go away, Keith! You should be president!

    • Debra, it does feel like Rod Serling is just around the corner. Kelly Anne Conway asked this week on a talk show “Why would Russia want Donald Trump president?”

      Here are my reasons:
      – he is divisive, thin-skinned and egomaniacal
      – he is uninformed and easily manipulated
      – he only uses the truth when it benefits him
      – he will make America be seen less as a leader in the world and in some cases like a pariah
      – Russia’s influence will grow under this kind of President.

      I have more, but this is what I would tell her. The other thing people need to understand is just because he won that does not mean all his negatives go away. Unfortunately, they are amplified.

      As for me being President, thank you for the vote. That and $2.10 will get you a cup of coffee. If I were I would tell Congress – it is OK to be idealistic, but if you cannot compromise to make decisions, then maybe you should go home. We have a job to do.

      Have a great new year. Rod maybe just around the corner to tell us it is all a dream. Keith

      • Toby, he will not stop tweeting as it placates his ego and allows him to not be deep, two key, but harmful traits. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: It should be noted the President-elect’s tweets that highlight companies will continue to cause problems. His latest 140 character flack toward Toyota has now riled Japan, who has come to its defense. Global companies will choose to make large goods close to where they are sold. Trump said he would assess a 35% tariff on Toyota’s cars being made in Mexico and sold in the US. Picking on a single company will continue to prove unwise, even though it gains grandstanding points. Assessing tariffs on a single company is not legit, so if he did so and they sued, he would likely lose. But, picking on a global company may backfire, as they need not show allegiance to a US president, no matter how outspoken and they could pull up their plant in Kentucky as a recourse.

    • Lisa, the job is hard enough with all the criticism it gets. When you have a prospective incumbent that does not handle criticism well nor waits for advice from more informed source, he is making it more difficult for himself and us. Keith

  6. Note to Readers: Sean Spicer, the President-elect has echoed Kelly Anne Conway’s comments that Trump is not getting the respect he deserves. Yes, he won and yes, he is our President, but you have to earn respect. He is not respecting the position by tweeting his every thought, by not valuing the input of his advisors, by showing his thin skin name calling and bullying people and by not consistently telling the truth. Yes, I will pull for your success as it is tied to ours, but I will only respect you when you earn it. And, just because you won does not mean all your many faults have gone away. It means they will be heightened.

  7. It is supremely humiliating to be in the hands of a petulant child. I remember when email first entered our communication world. We quickly discovered and were advised, to write that nastygram email and then press delete rather than send. A good way to vent frustration w/o upturning relationships. Now we have a… an almost-president…who apparently never heard of that wise advice of yore. Oh, well, it wouldn’t apply to him anyway because he doesn’t give a flying f about relationships. It’s all his way or the highway….right?

  8. Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please respond via email.


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