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Clifford D. May

Clifford D. May

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for The Washington Times.

Articles by Clifford D. May

Illustration on reformation for Islam by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The case for Islamic heresy

By now, you should be familiar with the name Ayaan Hirsi Ali. You should know at least this much about her: She is brilliant, beautiful, black and she has been banned near Boston. Published April 14, 2015

Illustration on the untrustworthy Iranian leadership by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The win-win delusion

"The West Capitulates." That was the headline on an article by Ibrahim al-Amin, editor of the Lebanese daily al-Akbar. He elaborated: "Victors and vanquished. This is the truth of conflicts in the world since ancient times. Only those who live with their eyes closed believe conflicts end with compromises." Published April 7, 2015

Illustration on Iran's greater ambitions in the Middle East by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Satrapy fishing in the Yemen

Three years ago, film-goers were treated to "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," which critic Kenneth Turan called a "pleasant fantasy" about the Middle East. Today, of course, Yemen is the hub of a bloody conflict, one which President Obama persists in viewing with equal unreality. Published March 31, 2015

Illustration on media distortion of Netenyahu's policy statements by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

What Netanyahu didn’t say

What is it about Israel in general and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular that leads to so much careless reporting and tendentious commentary? Published March 24, 2015

A farewell to arms control treaties

Philosopher-comedian Lily Tomlin used to say, "No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up." Has that ever been truer than it is in Washington right now? Published March 17, 2015

Illustration on the mission of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The ayatollah in winter

The Lord works in mysterious ways. That sentence does not appear in the Koran. Nor, actually, is it found in the Bible. But in recent days it has probably occurred to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader. Published March 10, 2015

A Nuclear-Armed Middle East Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The dubious deal of the century

Remember when President Obama said that to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability, he would keep all options "on the table"? How long has it been since anyone took that warning seriously? Published March 3, 2015

Vladimir Putin            Cartoon by Herb, Dagningen, Lillehammer, Norway/CartoonArts International

Vladimir Putin’s rule book

Last week, two Russian long-range bombers skirted the southwest coast of England. British Typhoon warplanes scrambled from their base to "escort" the bombers away. Prime Minister David Cameron accused Moscow of "trying to make some sort a point." Published February 24, 2015

Good Apples and Bad of Islam Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The ideology whose name presidents dare not speak

Is there a "Bush-Obama approach" to talking about what drives and justifies terrorism? Michael Gerson says there is. I think he's right. He argues that this approach is preferable to other options. I think he's wrong. Published February 17, 2015

Illustration on Obama's secret strategy to promote Iranian hegemony by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Worse than no strategy

It seems like only yesterday that President Obama was being criticized for having no strategy to counter the jihadi threat. In fact, it was about 10 days ago. Peggy Noonan's Feb. 1 Wall Street Journal column was headlined: "America's Strategy Deficit." Published February 10, 2015

Illustration on aggressors posing as victims by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Aggressors posing as victims

There are victims and then there are victims. Too often, I think, we worry about the wrong ones. Published February 3, 2015

Illustration on the need for sanctions against Iran by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The case for deadline-triggered sanctions

Experienced negotiators know this: The side most willing to walk away from the table generally wins. The side that seems desperate for a deal loses. Yet President Obama is telling the entire world that he needs an agreement with Iran's rulers more than they need an agreement with him. Published January 20, 2015

From Salman Rushdie to Charlie Hebdo

Let's get a few things straight: The slaughter of eight satirical journalists in Paris last week was not a tragedy. It was an atrocity. While you may have been shocked by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, anyone who was surprised has not been paying close attention to the events unfolding over recent decades. Published January 13, 2015

Napoleon in Egypt Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Napoleon in the Middle East

A few pages into "Napoleon: A Life," historian Andrew Roberts notes that the great general regarded himself as "of the race that founds empires." Published January 6, 2015

Illustration on cyber threats to U.S. free speech by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Cyberwar on free speech: Whose job is it to defend the most basic of civil rights?

Last Friday, in his end-of-the-year press conference, President Obama scolded Sony Pictures. Canceling the theatrical release of "The Interview" following cyberattacks from North Korea, he said, was "a mistake." Two days later, on CNN, he added that North Korea had committed an act of "cybervandalism." Published December 23, 2014

Illustration on the need for enhanced interrogation for national security by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

America needs its rough men

In spring 2009, I was invited to debate "torture" with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show." He gave me an opportunity to make a case with which he vehemently disagreed. He didn't spout prepackaged sound bites — he presented thoughtful counterarguments. Not many television talk show hosts are willing — or able — to do that. Published December 16, 2014

Illustration on coming to terms with Islamic extremism by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Why fighting extremists can't be politically correct

Rarely do so many distinguished members of the foreign policy community gather in a single room. But this was the Great Hall of the United States Institute of Peace: a Washington "institution established and funded by Congress to increase the nation's capacity to manage international conflict without violence." Published December 9, 2014

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan listens to Pope Francis during a meeting at the Presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) ** FILE **

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the neo-Ottoman

Turkey should have been part of the solution. Instead, it's become part of the problem. The problem, of course, is the spread of jihadism throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. Published December 2, 2014

Illustration on Middle East violence by Julius/Horsens Folkeblad, Horsens, Denmark

Slaughter in the synagogue

Executioners for the Islamic State use knives to cut the throats of Christians, Yazidis and "apostate" Muslims. Palestinian executioners last week used knives and a meat cleaver to slaughter Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in West Jerusalem. Published November 25, 2014