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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. He can be reached at

Columns by Clifford D. May

Illustration on Erdogan's impact on Turkey by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Turkey’s democratic experiment fails

On the grounds of the Turkish Embassy facing Massachusetts Ave. in Washington, D.C. is a statue of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, father of the Republic of Turkey, the nation-state he built from the rubble of the defeated Ottoman Empire and Islamic caliphate. Published April 18, 2017

Illustration on trump's actions against Syria by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Donald Trump Syria actions were correct course

If you're still unsure about whether President Trump did the right thing when he launched 59 cruise missiles at Syria's Shayrat air base last week, consider the alternative. Published April 11, 2017

Illustration on preserving liberty in a terrorist world by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Islamic extremism results in less freedom of speech

Whatever happened to Charlie Hebdo? For years, the French satirical magazine threw spit balls at polite society. Its writers and cartoonists particularly delighted in ridiculing religions and pieties. Some people found that amusing and thought-provoking. Others were appalled and offended. Such is life in a free country. Published April 4, 2017

Illustration on the ideology behind Islamist terror by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

London terror attacks must be understood

"The Kafir's Blood Is Halal For You, So Shed it." That's just one of the catchier headlines in a recent issue of Rumiyah, a slick online magazine published by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL. Published March 28, 2017

Illustration on Kim's North Korea by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Donald Trump’s North Korea policy changing

America can do anything but America can't do everything, at least not within a four-year time frame. That suggests that the American president -- any American president -- needs to prioritize. Published March 21, 2017

Illustration on dystopian Pakistan by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Pakistan a source of Islamic terror

Pakistan was meant to be a model, an example for other nations to emulate. It was founded after World War II, as the sun was setting on the British Empire and India was preparing for independence. India's Muslims, though glad to see the end of the Raj, were apprehensive about becoming a minority in a Hindu-majority land. Published March 14, 2017

Illustration on the Israeli/Palestinian peace process by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Israel-Palestine peace process cannot be rushed

This palm-fringed oasis in the Jordan Valley has been continuously inhabited for 10,000 years. That justifies it billing itself as the "oldest city in the world." Published March 7, 2017

Illustration on the limitations of Saudi Arabian society by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Left makes America apologize

Intellectuals of the left and those influenced by them judge the United States and certain European nations as uniquely guilty of imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia -- the list goes on. Published February 28, 2017

Illustration on the realities confronting Saudi Arabia's "industrial revolution" by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Saudi Arabia attempts to be a legitimate nation

Saudi Arabia is changing. When government officials here tell you that, you take it with an oversized grain of salt. But when Saudi human rights activists say the same, you pay attention. Published February 21, 2017

Illustration on standards for U.S. immigration in light of Islamist terrorism by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Border security necessary to head off disputes

Al Qaeda does not value diversity and it's not an equal opportunity employer. The same can be said of the Islamic State. And when the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to commit an act of terrorism -- the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, to take just one example -- they are likely to give the assignment to members of Hezbollah, a radical Islamic group of the Shia persuasion. They are highly unlikely to recruit Unitarians, Mormons or Baha'i. Published February 7, 2017

Illustration on the dream and reality of the U.N. by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Putting a price tag on the United Nations

This may come as a shock: It's possible, not likely but possible, that a committee of officials from the Defense, State and Justice Departments, as well as the National Security Council, will conduct a review of the disproportionate funding the United States provides to the United Nations and, hold onto your hats, come to the conclusion that American taxpayers should spend less on an organization that is inefficient, corrupt and inimical to American interests. Published January 31, 2017

Illustration on the task ahead in dealing with radical Islamic aspirations by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Ending Islamic terrorism will require a long war

In an inaugural address that was more purposeful than poetic, President Trump last Friday vowed to "unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth." I hope we can agree, across party and ideological lines, that those are worthwhile objectives. Published January 24, 2017

Iranian Terrorist Rafsanjani Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Defining violent extremism down

Death, where is thy sting? For Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, it certainly didn't come from the mainstream media. Published January 17, 2017

Danger of Cyberwarfare Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Cyberwarfare a serious concern

Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee was mischievous. Did it change the outcome of the 2016 elections? No evidence suggests that and the intelligence community isn't claiming that. Published January 10, 2017

Triumphant Trump Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Trump’s first 100 days

It's apparent that Donald Trump was -- to employ a neologism coined by President George W. Bush 16 years ago -- misunderestimated. But those who gave odds that he couldn't transform from a successful businessman into a successful politician are now betting he can't transform from a successful politician into a successful statesman. Published January 3, 2017

Illustration on the continued attacks on Israel by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Obama throwing Israel to the U.N.’s wolves

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively. So when the U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel, PIJ spokesman Dawood Shihab was pleased. He called it a "victory." He wasn't wrong. Published December 27, 2016

Illustration on Iran's future role in Syria by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Syria horrors seemingly unending

Over the last five years, Syria has been descending into a hell on Earth. Over the last four months, the lowest depths of the inferno have been on display in Aleppo, an ancient city, once among the most diverse and dynamic in the Middle East. On Friday, in the final press conference of his presidency, Barack Obama addressed this still-unfolding humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. Published December 20, 2016

Illustration on Iran and the Obama administration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

How Obama and Iran are like Eisenhower Egypt

The Islamic Republic of Iran is, according to no less an authority than the U.S. government, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, suicide-bombed U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983. Iranian-backed Shia militias killed hundreds of American troops in Iraq more recently. Published December 13, 2016