Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Tom Friedman Is Calling for a Partition of Syria. Trump Should Run the Other Way.

| Apr. 07, 2017

You'd think by now the New York Times columnist would have learned that putting U.S. boots on the ground in the Middle East doesn’t end well.

In many ways, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman personifies the glib id of the American foreign-policy establishment. Like most members of the foreign-policy "Blob," he thinks almost everything that happens anywhere is a vital interest of the United States, and is therefore something for which American blood and treasure should be spilled if necessary. Like most Americans, he thinks our country always acts from noble motives, even if the results are (repeatedly) ignoble. Like many U.S. leaders, he rarely acknowledges his own mistakes. If his advice gets followed and things go wrong, then somebody else must have screwed up (like those incompetent Bushies who bungled the occupation of Iraq, or those ungrateful Iraqis who didn't realize what a wonderful gift we had given them). And instead of learning from experience, he makes the same analytical mistakes over and over again. Hmm. Sounds like some very powerful countries I know.

Case in point: his column in Wednesday's New YorkTimes discussing the dilemmas President Donald Trump faces in Syria. Friedman correctly points out that a chemical attack by forces allied with President Bashar al-Assad has exposed Trump's naiveté about the Syrian conflict....

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For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M.“Tom Friedman Is Calling for a Partition of Syria. Trump Should Run the Other Way..” Foreign Policy, April 7, 2017.

The Author

Stephen Walt