It was only a matter of time before reality hit Tom Friedman over the head. Or did it? After a long, long delay—decades actually—Friedman’s Wednesday column in the Times concedes that he might have been wrong about China moving to join the ranks of market democracies.

His title is, “Some Things Are Right Even If Trump Believes Them.” Friedman writes:

For those of us who believe in free trade—and that China and America can both thrive at the same time—but who are convinced that China hasn’t been playing fair and don’t trust Trump to fix it, this is a critical problem to think through.

Well, yes it is, and welcome to the club. Friedman concedes that China is responsible for the loss of large numbers of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and that China doesn’t play fair. He interviews the usual suspects: “We assumed that China would ‘reform and open’ after it joined the WTO, said James McGregor, a longtime China trade expert. Instead, China ‘reformed and closed.’”

Imagine that. Better late than never, I suppose. But what should we do, Tom?

“So what would a smart American president do? First, he’d sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord.”