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


Condi at the Foreign Relations Committee:

“The Iraqis have developed a plan…and we will support that plan.”

The most blatant nonsense in the President’s speech was that we’re just supporting an Iraqi plan to escalate. Now Condi’s doing it. Disingenuous and insulting.

In the Arena In the Arena

Did Anyone Notice This?

Senator John Warner, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Commitee, pointedly did not support the President last night. He did it in the most perfectly Senatorial way, by indirection:

Larry, I found the speech to be credible and sincere. And it does lay down a plan that reflects a lot of study by the executive branch, a lot of

In the Arena In the Arena


The absolute worst moment of President Bush’s dreadful speech last night was when he threatened to take action against Syria and Iran:

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are

In the Arena In the Arena

It’s an Iraqi Initiative!

One of the more outlandish conceits of Bush’s speech tonight, is that he will pretend that the escalation is, essentially, an Iraqi initiative–and we’re just there to back up and help out. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Iraq doesn’t have a coherent government, much less “ideas” or much motivation for finding ways to knit together …

In the Arena In the Arena

Good Point

Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, one of the wisest Democrats on national security issues, made an important–and overlooked–point at the Dems noon press conference today: Bush’s implausible escalation is going to increase public skepticism about any U.S. policy actions in the region (and, I’d add, the world). Some of the public …

In the Arena In the Arena

Money Can’t Buy You…

Kudos to Jay for exposing the Romney blather–a disappointment, given the fact that he did pass universal health insurance in Massachusetts. But I’m not that impressed by the $6.5 million he raised, either. Money is a vastly overrated indicator of political credibility. Remember Howard Dean’s $40 million? Politicians raise money so they …

In the Arena In the Arena

Re: These Colors Don’t Run

Oh, Ana, I disagree–and my disagreement is about substance rather than positioning. First of all, polls about complicated, emotional issues like the war in Iraq are unreliable. Most people have confused feelings–frustration, patriotism, anger–that simply can’t be quantified. I’d hate to see the results of a poll that asked: “Should we …

In the Arena In the Arena

Consequences and Truth

Excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal today about the possibility of a regional war in the middle east. Those of us who favor a withdrawal from Iraq should be doing some hard thinking about how to deal with these consequences.–Joe Klein

In the Arena In the Arena

Now that I have your attention

I love it! First day of Swampitude and the left-wing blogosphere–which is overpopulated by illiberal leftists and reactionary progressives–is already attacking me: 24 mostly mingy comments about my Left Behind post, many of which seem to be steaming off a post by Greg Sargent, who writes a blog called The Horse’s…Mouth.
The illiberal …

In the Arena In the Arena

Surge Numbers Game

A couple of points on the so-called surge: Ana’s right that an increase of 20,000 is not what Gen. Keane and the serious surgers are asking for. She’s also right that it probably won’t be enough. (It’s hard to imagine what would be enough at this point). But the numbers game isn’t as important as the change in tactics. A lot of our …

In the Arena In the Arena

Left Behind

I’m afraid I’m going to get cranky about this: The Democrats who oppose the so-called “surge” are right. But they have to be careful not to sound like ill-informed dilettantes when talking about it.
The latest to make a fool of himself is Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who argues that those who favor the increase in troops are …

In the Arena In the Arena

Everyone Sounds Stupid About Iraq

Even Brent Scowcroft, who was right all along. He tells Stephanopoulos that he might favor more troops in Iraq to stop ethnic cleansing in Baghdad…then says he thinks it’s a bad idea for American troops to try to police a civil war–which means that he’s for and against the same thing. When Stephanopoulos catches him on this, Scowcroft …

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