Xi Jinping No Longer Swiftly Replying to Barack Obama’s Text Messages
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In what is being described as a clear indication of shifting global power dynamics, Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly stopped replying to U.S. President Barack Obama’s text messages in a timely fashion, and sometimes does not reply at all.
Sources close to President Obama say he checks his phone obsessively for a courteous, albeit hours-late reply from his Chinese counterpart.
“It’s really sad to see him sit there, waiting for even just a smiley face or a ‘hahaha,'” said an advisor who wished to remain anonymous.
Experts believe that by leaving Obama hanging, Xi is causing the U.S. president to doubt his self-worth and the amount of respect he commands in bilateral ties, putting him in a desperate position that can be exploited with just the smallest of “olive-branch text replies.”
Timothy Reid, a professor at Columbia University who specializes in international text relations, says what could be playing out is a form of communications brinkmanship that rising powers often exhibit.
“Xi is flexing his country’s newfound might by being a Terrible Texter, which puts Obama in a tough position. If Obama isn’t courteous in his texts, there could be a complete collapse in relations and an ugly falling out.”
“We don’t need another Cold War,” Reid added.
Another staffer close to Obama said the president might be turning Xi off by sending texts that are far too desperate, sprinkled with smiley faces and exclamation marks.
“There is nothing more submissive than bookending a text with a sequence of smiley emoticons,” said the staff member, who claimed to have seen Obama enter as many as four smiley faces in a row.
“Not even Stephen Harper uses that many.”
A source from the NSA who has access to Obama’s phone records says that the president’s texting woes go beyond Xi. The employee said that Obama’s WhatsApp text stream with Russian President Vladimir Putin is equally one-sided.
“It’s cringe-worthy to be honest,” he said. “Obama crafts a series of gentle prods—an ‘OMG this G20 lol’ or a ‘heyyyy can’t wait for Sochi, Vladinator 🙂 :)’—only to be ignored.”
Reid says Putin is largely reserved when it comes to “perfunctory courtesy texts,” and exhibits a text message policy that is “largely self-serving and holds most everyone in a position where they long for his attention.”
“Putin is the smiley face master, because he doesn’t hand them out like candy,” noted Reid. “And when he does let one fly, there’s something twisted about it.”
It’s been reported that Xi and Putin actively communicate and share .gifs on WeChat and have largely “vetoed” using the “NATO-centric WhatsApp.”
“The first thing Obama could do is switch to WeChat and start to reinvent his online presence on the Moments news feed,” said Reid. “But the risk is that this will put him further into a submissive position and make the climb back to becoming the ‘Texter-in-Chief’ that much harder.”