Pakistan & Israel talk nuke war on social media: ‘Get off Twitter! Where’s old red phone?’
Israel and Pakistan came close to the brink of nuclear war thanks to a viral piece of fake news.
According to an article from the website AWD, Israel's former Defense Minister threatened Pakistan with a nuclear strike, should Islamabad dare to send troops to Syria.
The story provoked a heated exchange between the two countries on social media. Pakistani Defense Minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif – apparently in reaction to the article – tweeted: “Israel forgets Pakistan is a nuclear state too.”
Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh.Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too AH— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) December 23, 2016
“It seems to be almost a fake news story even in itself,” said media analyst Lionel commenting on the scandal.
“You are talking about countries actually discussing among the world’s audience the possibility of nuclear warfare on Twitter. What happened to the red phone or what happened to the idea of cables? Is this the way that countries communicate with each other in the 21st century – through Twitter? It is unbelievable,” Lionel told RT.
“The very fact that this is a news story makes me wonder if this is a fake news story. Because what I don’t understand is simply this: I always thought that in the old days countries picked up the red phone and they called the ambassador or they called the representative or the president would call the prime minister, and they would talk, and they would have super-secret conversations. We always heard about this during the Russian missile crisis between Khrushchev and Kennedy picking up the phone and talking. Today we are talking about Twitter,” he added.
Lionel criticized the Pakistani minister referring to him as to the “laughing stock of international diplomacy.”
“To be able to answer on Twitter and then to be contradicted by the Defense Department saying “No, this isn’t true.” Not even picking up the phone and calling this person and saying ‘Would you get off Twitter, stop it,'” Lionel said.
“And I am not an expert here on international relations or a nuclear war but the last thing I would do is to be alleging and accusing nations of threatening nuclear alienation on Twitter,” he told RT.
@KhawajaMAsif reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) December 24, 2016
Political satarist Ami Horowitz, said “I don’t like Twitter to begin with and certainly I don’t like it to enact nuclear policy.”
Also, in his opinion, both media and officials have to do a better job with fact checking before publishing anything.
“The media, digital media, in particular, are all about clicks, they want to get more clicks, so it is not in their interest to double check their sources because they want to have the most fantastic clickbait. Anything which is controversial is going to be a clickbait. It’s their incentive to bring as much traffic as possible,” the satirist said.
He added that he hopes “cooler heads will prevail and we would not have a nuclear war.”
War correspondent Eric Margolis told RT that “it is too easy to use social media, to get on Twitter and immediately fire back and answer without even thinking about it.”
“In the old days, we had to type or use a telex machine. And that would give you time at least to think, now we have a very fast and foolish response to what was obviously a fake story,” he said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.