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Steve Clemons

Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live. He writes frequently about politics and foreign affairs.
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One Last Trip With Joe Biden

January 21, 2017 When I boarded Air Force Two for Vice President Joe Biden’s final overseas mission, he had four days left in office. His leverage was diminishing by the hour, with every new question at a Trump nominee confirmation hearing, with every new @RealDonaldTrump tweet. There was no chance of a miracle...

The Biden Doctrine

August 22, 2016 Joe Biden is now the vice president who will not be president. He’s been VP for seven and a half years, preceded by decades of work on U.S. foreign policy in the Senate, but the question remains whether he is distinctive in any memorable way for his work in international...

The Biden Doctrine

August 22, 2016 Joe Biden is now the vice president who will not be president. He’s been VP for seven and a half years, preceded by decades of work on U.S. foreign policy in the Senate, but the question remains whether he is distinctive in any memorable way for his work in international...

Are the Saudis to Blame for Iraq?

June 23, 2014 “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN’s Candy Crowley in January 2014. “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar, and for our Qatari friends,” the senator said once again a month later, at the Munich Security Conference. McCain was praising Prince Bandar bin Sultan,...

A Question for Obama's Syria Critics: What Are the Alternatives?

February 18, 2014 This weekend, on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, John McCain reacted to the failure of the latest round of Syrian peace talks by declaring that the Obama administration's "policy towards Syria has been an abysmal failure and a disgraceful one." It's a common refrain for the Republican...

Japan Knew That Biden Would Go Soft on China

December 5, 2013 BEIJING — On Wednesday, fresh off a visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Joe Biden spent five and a half hours in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping over a series of meetings and dinner. The marathon diplomacy capped a delicate effort by the vice president this week to...

What John Kerry Should Have Said in Egypt

November 6, 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry stumbled into a hornet’s nest with the Egypt slice of his 11-day trip to the Middle East and North Africa. Someone should have advised Kerry that it’s simply too soon for a Scowcroft-goes-to-China maneuver—the tactic made famous by President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to get...

The Atlantic's Interview With Defense Secretary Hagel

October 11, 2013 Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a 904-page book to Egyptian Army commander in chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, with whom he has had over 20 conversations since taking over at the Pentagon. The book, Washington: A Life, won the Pulitzer Prize for its author, Ron Chernow. Rather than suggesting he read...

Analysis: Reading tea leaves of political appointments not yet made

December 28, 2012 Something rare just happened. Rather than me having to dog various of the media handlers or key policy hands at the National Security Council or White House on whether Chuck Hagel is on or off the SecDef list, I just got a phone call from a senior Executive Branch person...