Tom Friedman on Syria: 'Where's Trump's Twitter feed when we need it?'

Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Tom Friedman weighs in on President Donald Trump's foreign policy.
4:48 | 04/09/17

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Transcript for Tom Friedman on Syria: 'Where's Trump's Twitter feed when we need it?'
Let's get analysis from Tom Friedman, the pulitzer prize-winning come lumist for "The New York Times." No change in the strategy. Somewhat the strategy right now? What I heard are three messages. One, that the trump people feel that in launching this cruise missile attack in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons they have reduced the chances that Assad will use such chemical weapons again or that somebody else will. That's not an unimportant thing. I think they also feel they have increased the uncertainty in places like North Korea as to whether the U.S. Will use force if the north Koreans cross the red line on intercontinental ballistic missiles. Right now this administration is not interested in going any further than the Obama team did in terms of actually changing the balance of power on the ground between the opposition forces, the pro-american opposition forces there, the Assad regime, and the Russians and Iranians backing them. Without that, it's hard to see any long-term change right now. But it's still early in the process. The question is, what kind of leverage you can use with Russia to get them to pull away from Assad. That doesn't appear to be happening. I was struck by something king Abdullah said to the Washington post this morning. He suggested the United States should consider concessions on crimea to clooef Putin away from Assad. Good idea? I would really think twice about that. These two theaters are very different. It would depend on what Putin was ready to do in Syria. Whether he was really ready to break the alliance with the Iranians, and create a process to ease Assad out of power and partner with the world community and create a different political structure in Syria. If he's ready to go that far, you could think about it. How to you make sense of the president's dramatic turnaround. Your colleague, Peter baker, called it a highly improvisational situational approach towards foreign policy. Just last week, we saw secretary tillerson talking about the Syrian people making decision on Assad. We saw president trump all throughout the campaign saying we can't get involved in this fight. Real change this week. You know, George, Syria is the problem from hell inspect all fairness. It's a frag meanted situation on the ground. What I saw in secretary tillerson there talking about it is, why didn't I raise my hand to be secretary of agriculture? Not secretary of state. Because it's a difficult, difficult situation. The real question is I think, two things. One can we increase our leverage there without putting American troops on the ground? By maybe giving more aid to the opposition forces. Considering a no mf fly zone. That's a big nato-wide question. The big question to me today is where is trump's Twitter feed when we need it. Putin is feckless and didn't know the ally was doing this or he's come police sit. I don't think they like to be called protecters of someone using poison gas. I would be doing everything I could on every front to increase our leverage. Because in the Middle East, if you're trying to do diplomacy without leverage, you're playing baseball without a bat. We'll see if secretary tillerson brings that message to Moscow this week. Steve Bannon, off the national security council. Mcmaster asserting himself. Secretary tillerson, fairly tough talk on Russia. Completely dismissed the idea of Mexico paying for the wall. Are we seeing outsiders assert themselves? We're seeing a reversion to the mean. A reversion to sort of a closer to the natural interests of American foreign policy. And to the limits of what the American people are really ready to do and tolerate right now. My friend, Michael, said to me the biggest restraint on intervention in Syria is democracy in America. There's a lot of Americans wary of getting involved. All that crazy rhetoric from the campaign, you saw it on the paying for the wall in Mexico. That will gradually be muffled out and faded away from. Tom Friedman, thank you for joining us. Thank you, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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