Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein is a staff reporter at The Washington Post. You can read his blogging here. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, Slate, and The Columbia Journalism Review. He's been a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and more.

Recent Articles

The "Purple Nurple" Theory of International Relations

I agree with Justin that Israel's brinksmanship towards Iran has some US backing behind it. We're a bit tied up at the moment, so they're providing the promise of force that our people, and resources, won't allow. But the Bush Administration is making the same mistake with Iran that they've made everywhere else. Bush himself, by turning himself into a hated figure, has sabotaged our foreign policy by making it popular to oppose him. Thus, when we've got an unpopular priority it makes domestic sense for other countries to deny us our wish. Using Israel to threaten Iran creates the same scenario. Nothing does more for an unpopular Middle East autocracy's approval numbers than standing up to Israel, it's political viagra. Not only that, bringing a verbal aggressor into the picture weakens the EU's hand; suddenly, their calming tone is undercut by Iran's sworn enemy, who's now hopping around in the corner and providing proof for Iran's paranoid weapons rationale. I forgot where I saw it (...

"The Red Light Means Time, Not Kill"

The Washington Post has a great article on Democracy training in Iraq. While most commentary is focused on macro issues like ethnic tensions, tribal loyalties and the whims of the insurgency, it's easy to forget about the basic glitches, like the fact that none of these candidates have ever run for office before. And it's nice to see that our election institutions, unlike the Pentagon and their soft-money problems , are playing no favorites. When the Communist party is ecstatic at the quality of American training and help, we're doing something right. And when the unnamed Hill vet/Kerry voter who's running the program returns to the states, I hope she runs for office herself. Democrats for democracy indeed...

Bush's Chilean Fiction

The Times, unwilling to buy Bush's idealization of Chile, has run a stake through the heart of that comparison. The article on the failings of Chile's privatization system is excellent all around, but this is the money quote: "It is evident the system requires reform," the minister of labor and social security, Ricardo Scolari, said in an interview here. Chile's current approach based on private pension funds has "important strengths," he said, but "it is absolutely impossible to think that a system of this nature is going to resolve the income needs of Chileans when they reach old age." Privatization has its strengths, but it's not a system that can resolve the income needs of our seniors when they reach old age. For the better part of a century, Social Security has. Bush can shout his "reforms" from building tops nationwide, but that doesn't change the simple fact that he wants to transform an income that guarantees dignity for seniors into a supplementary check that'll send them...

Know Thy Enemy

Via Kriston , I see Doubleday is taking fire for their decision to publish an al-Qa'eda Reader . The book would consist of translations of tracts penned by the organization's leaders with all profits going to charity. Of course, the usual outcry is emerging, and it's only a matter of time till O'Reilly pops a blood vessel over it, but I'll be first in line to buy a copy. Years ago, Mein Kampf became the top seller in Germany, with the government giving a copy to every newlywed couple and readers lining up in bookstores to purchase what was quickly becoming a must-have for all "proper" Germans. The book was nothing but the ramblings and theories of Hitler, distilled onto the page but retaining all their hatred, paranoia, bigotry and enormity. Had other countries taken a careful look at the tome, maybe stopping Hitler would've seemed less a diplomatic breach and more an overriding priority. But we didn't, and so we understood neither the German agenda nor the depths to which Hitler and...

Sucks For You, Now About My Offer...

Michael nails this one nicely. Generally, the US government works off a speak no evil policy where, if they're not talking about a problem, it doesn't exist. It's quite convenient, actually, appearing as less an oligarch's callousness than a child's sweet, blissful ignorance. The government couldn't have done anything, they didn't even know! Which brings us to Bush's grossly self-serving use of African-American life expectancies. Having spent four years doing nothing to make their lot better, he suddenly revealed a full knowledge of black inequality. Which means he has spent four years being aware that African-Americans die before their time and, with the entire power of the American government arrayed before him, consciously chose to do nothing about it. And he has decided, finally, to publicly acknowledge it not in order to rectify the injustice, but to push an unrelated policy that'll help -- guess who? -- rich white folks. Bush has done a lot of disappointing things. He's done a...

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