“This is a trick out of Vladimir Putin’s book, which is to always whip up an international conflict or to whip up a domestic conflict, to distract everybody from what’s going on internationally,” Hecker noted.

“It never hurts to whip up a good international conflict when you’re facing some problems at home. We’ve forgotten the Russia investigation for the past few days,” he added, referring to the ongoing probe into the Trump administration’s alleged ties with Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

The home of Trump’s former election campaign manager Paul Manafort was raided by the FBI Wednesday as a string of Trump associates face investigations over their ties with Putin’s government. The political lobbyist, who left the campaign over these alleged links, is now being targeted as someone who may testify against former colleagues.

Though the “temperature has gone up” on international relations between the U.S. and North Korea, Hecker said that “geopolitical fundamentals” of the conflict have not changed that dramatically and, despite increased sabre-rattling, Kim Jong Un is unlikely to take action which could undermine his leadership.

“North Korea is not going to want to do anything that will absolutely spell the end of the regime and any sort of military conflict on the Korean Peninsula is the end of North Korea.”

“We think that they know that at some point diplomacy is going to kick in here and there can be and probably will be a negotiated solution,” he added.

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