In 2014, as Syria fell apart and Russia invaded Ukraine, criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy mounted. Perhaps frustrated by questions about why he wasn’t solving these complex problems, the president and his advisors summarized the administration’s foreign policy as “don’t do stupid stuff.” The phrase took on a life of its own and became the subject of derision for those claiming Obama did not have a coherent foreign policy. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggested that this was the “Obama doctrine.”
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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