Joe Klein

Joe Klein is TIME's political columnist and author of six books, most recently Politics Lost. His weekly TIME column, "In the Arena," covers national and international affairs. In 2004 he won the National Headliner Award for best magazine column.

Articles from Contributor

In the Arena In the Arena

Amazing…But Right

Uber-hawk Krauthammer against the surge. There’s a concensus growing for a U.S. pullout from the civil war in Baghdad toward a safer military posture. The big drawback: it will be easier for the Maliki-Sadr government to vamp on the Sunnis. Kraut’s right, though: there are no good options.

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Interesting Comment

This, from a reader:
Despite what the wingnuts will say, the least Iran-friendly Shiite political player of significance in Iraq today is Sadr. That’s not saying that he avoids all contact with any Iranian elements, but he’s much less tied to Tehran than other Iraqi political parties who depended on Iran’s support/shelter for many years

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Hillary Gets It Right

Her position on Iraq is nuanced and responsible. Note this well:
“You don’t want to say there’s nobody within the Iraqi government who’s really committed to any nonsectarian future, but the weight of the evidence is that the people in charge are not committed that way,” she said. “At some point, how much are we willing to sacrifice if

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Iraq Roundup

This is a great piece of journalism by Sabrina Tavernise. Earlier in the war, an announcement that the Iraqis were rolling up Sadr’s henchmen would be greeted with unqualified huzzahs from the press and Bush administration. Not anymore. This detail was especially telling:
In an interesting twist, the militia’s leadership has not visibly

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Least Qualified?

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline argues that Barack Obama is the candidate with the scantiest credentials to be President in (recent) American history.
To which I can only ask, What about George W. Bush?
Yes, Bush had been governor of Texas–a relatively powerless role, after a career of nepotistic business failures–but he came to the White …

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Re: Which Generation?

I wonder if Obama is destined to be plagued by the nuanced difference between transcending issues…and fudging them. Even his generation. As a Baby Boomer, I hereby relinquish all rights to the guy–and I suspect, given his entirely apt comments about being sick of the “dorm room arguments of the sixties,” he doesn’t see himself as a …

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Hillary and Obama…and Don’t Forget John

Ana, I think Hillary has renounced her support for the war as often as Joe Biden has announced that he’s running for President…She’s also renounced the surgescalation. The question is, what now? Is she for John Edwards’ immediate 50,000 troop reduction? Is she for an Iraq Study Groupish gradual drawdown? The latter, I’d guess. But I …

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Performance Value

This, from a reader:

“Obama stumbles” is the title. Since when is HOW someone delivers a policy idea (in your opinion) more important that what the actual policy is? What kind of analysis is that? McCain was wrong in a presidential way, and that’s impressive to you?

Sorry but, in the television age, if you can’t sell a policy …

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Sometimes the Obama Stumbles

Best of the Sunday shows was the sequential face off between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on Face the Nation. From where I was sitting, McCain got the better of it–not because he had the better argument (he didn’t), but because he was clear, concise and confident. It was, in fact, classic McCain, actually criticizing the

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Interesting Point

Here’s an interesting point from a reader, marred by some really dopey vitriol at the end:

I saw a DoD chart a few days ago that shows that violence always drops in Iraq in Jan., Feb., and Mar. of any given year (as to why is an interesting question, is it cooler? Don’t crimes in the U.S. spike when it is hotter out?). So I am thinking

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What if the Surge Seems to be Working?

In her Time Magazine interview, Condoleezza Rice, like SecDef Gates, seems to be saying that Baghdad can be pacified in a matter of months:
“I think in the next few months you are going to know whether or not this is working,” she said. “They bring forces in starting February 1st. They bring in another set of forces February 15th. And I

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Was it Legal?

OK, so the question is: Was the U.S. assault on the Iranian consulate in Irbil–sovereign Iranian territory–legal? Does the President have the power to invade another country without authorization under the war powers act? I would think not, but I just spoke to a Democratic Member of Congress who was freaked by the obvious attempt to …

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Iraq’s Idea? Yeah, Right.

I know I’ve been flogging the idea that the escalation is not an Iraqi idea, but this from the incredible John Burns and Sabrina Tavernise pretty much confirms it.
The most dubious aspect of all this is the notion–floated by Secretary of Defense Gates in testimony yesterday–that Baghdad can be pacified and American troops withdrawn …

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