Time for Trump to Dump Land­lines?

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

In March 2014, the then US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­port­edly spent a marathon — and ap­par­ently fu­tile — 90 min­utes on the phone with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin about Crimea. And that capped sev­eral weeks of mul­ti­ple ur­gent tele­phonic con­ver­sa­tions with other world lead­ers on the same cri­sis. Now his suc­ces­sor, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, has be­gun his own ver­sion of phone-ins with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing a 50-minute, pho­tographed tele­phonic nat­ter with Mr Putin. But he has also ap­par­ently done some­thing that heads of gov­ern­ment are not wont to do: hang up on the leader at the other end, in this case Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Malcolm Turn­bull. Such an act is aided by the na­ture of the tele­phone. With more so­phis­ti­cated means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion at hand, it is quaint that the world’s most-pow­er­ful peo­ple do not pre­fer video chat­ting over what is now com­monly re­ferred to as a lan­d­line. The Rus­sian supremo is fa­mously averse to mo­bile phones but sev­eral other world lead­ers are far more tech-friendly, so Mr Trump could in­sti­tute yet an­other break from tra­di­tion and ini­ti­ate face-to-face in­ter­ac­tions with all his new com­pan­ions at the in­ter­na­tional high ta­ble. Get­ting them all onto his favourite so­cial me­dia plat­form, of course, would pro­vide an al­ter­nate means of in­ter­locu­tion.

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