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Trump’s North Korea strategy is straight from Putin's playbook, analyst says

  • President Trump likened to Vladimir Putin for his tendency to use international events to deflect from domestic problems.
  • Trump has been accused of responding with undue aggression to continued threats from North Korea.
  • North Korea has said that it plans to launch a missile strike on the U.S. military base of Guam.

Escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have highlighted similarities between President Donald Trump and another political heavyweight: Vladimir Putin, according to one leading political analyst.

The U.S. president has been accused of responding with undue aggression to continued threats from North Korea and its expanding military arsenal. Charles Hecker, a senior partner at consultancy Control Risks, told CNBC that this was an attempt to distract from the domestic controversies which have dogged the Trump administration over recent months.

Trump said Tuesday that any threat to the U.S. by Kim Jong Un would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" which has since prompted the totalitarian regime to announce plans for a strike on the U.S. military base of Guam.

This undated photo released by North Korea's state news agency on December 11, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a combat drill.
KNS | AFP | Getty Images
This undated photo released by North Korea's state news agency on December 11, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a combat drill.

"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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