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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 the pitfalls of appeasement by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Peril in appeasing Iran

"Appeasement" gets a bad rap but, strictly speaking, the word implies nothing more than an attempt to make peace. If aggrieved adversaries can be pacified by reasonable concessions, what's wrong with that? Published September 1, 2015

Illustration on the Obama/Iran nuclear arms deal by Paul Tong/Tribune Content Agency

CLIFFORD MAY: The Parchin Precedent

Initially, I thought the news was beyond parody. The Associated Press last week ran a story headlined: "U.N. to let Iran inspect nuke work site." Published August 25, 2015

Illustration on Senator Chuck Schumer's opposition to the Obama/Iran nuclear weapons deal by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Chuck Schumer right to reject Iran nuclear arms empowerment deal

I've been thinking about writing you for a while regarding your vote on President Obama's Iran deal. I knew you'd recognize that, from a policy perspective, this deal doesn't get a passing grade. But, from a political perspective, I understood that voting to disapprove would not be easy. Then, last week you announced your decisions in an incisive 1,670-word essay. Kudos to you. Published August 11, 2015

Illustration on the real nature of the BDS movement by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Mounting a defense against economic warfare

Attempts to exterminate Israel through what we have come to call "kinetic warfare" began immediately following Arab rejection of the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 -- the first offer of a "two-state solution." Published August 4, 2015

Illustration on America's radical Islamist enemies by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: West needs more determination to defeat Islamic State

"The enemy has to be defeated," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter last week told American forces stationed in the Middle East. That is a simple truth, one that, regrettably, is not heard often from officials in the current administration. Mr. Carter then added: "It will be, because the barbarians are always defeated by civilization." That is a comforting sentiment -- one that, regrettably, is not supported by historical evidence. Published July 28, 2015

CLIFFORD MAY: Scuttle Obama’s Iran deal, or surrender

The fundamental flaws in President Obama's deal with Iran have become well known. Among them: Iran's rulers will have the power to delay or even prevent inspections of suspected nuclear weapons facilities; Iran's rulers will receive tens of billions of dollars that they can spend as they please, including on terrorist groups; Iran's rulers will have several paths to nuclear weapons -- they have promised only not to rush. In the past, such promises have hardly been ironclad. Published July 21, 2015

Iran Tablet Launcher Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Iran’s deal of the century

On Friday, large crowds in Tehran and other Iranian cities burned American flags and chanted "Death to America!" On Saturday, Iranian media outlets reported that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had instructed university students to "continue the struggle against arrogant powers" -- with the United States at the top of that list. On Tuesday, President Obama announced a historic agreement between Iran and the United States. Published July 14, 2015

Illustration on the losing strategy of U.S. negotiations with Iran by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: U.S. can’t appease Iran

Imagine if, on Sept. 12, 2001, I had written a column predicting that within less than 15 years, the president of the United States would be offering the world's leading sponsor of terrorism a path to nuclear weapons and tens of billions of dollars. You'd have thought me a lunatic. But that's what President Obama means to do. Published July 7, 2015

Illustration on building peace between Israel and the Palestinians by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Palestinians and an Israeli discuss the West Bank

Last week, I paid a couple of visits to the West Bank or, as Israel's enemies call it, "the illegally occupied Palestinian territories." Israelis who live and work there are more likely to use the biblical name: Judea and Samaria. Published June 30, 2015

Illustration on Obama's fantasist thinking on a nuclear Iran by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Obama’s faith in Iran misplaced

Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn served 33 years in the U.S. Army. Being named President Obama's director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012 was the culmination of his career. He thought his job was to relate facts, not fables. It soon became clear that his superiors didn't agree. Published June 16, 2015

Illustration on violent Islamist poetry by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Muslim extremist culture glorifies mass murder

You probably didn't know it, but Osama bin Laden was a poet. In fact, according to Yale's Robyn Creswell and Princeton's Bernard Haykel, "Of all jihadi poets, bin Laden was the most celebrated, and he prided himself on his knowledge of the art." Published June 9, 2015

CLIFFORD MAY: China, Iran challenge America’s naval dominance

''Creating facts on the ground" means changing reality through actions rather than diplomacy. China's rulers have gone further: Over the last 18 months they have been creating ground: over 2,000 new acres of islands more than 600 miles from China's coast, many built atop rocks and reefs claimed by their neighbors, including the Philippines, an important American ally. In recent days, the Chinese have been installing landing strips, helipads, harbors, radar installations, artillery pieces and other weapons. Published June 2, 2015

Illustration on the anti-semitism of the BDS movement by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Resisting trend toward anti-Semitism

Robert S. Wistrich, who died suddenly last week, was considered the foremost scholar of anti-Semitism, which he called "the longest hatred," one that appears to be metastasizing in the current era. Published May 26, 2015

CLIFFORD MAY: Gulf state rulers don’t trust Obama

I'd venture to guess that most of what you heard about President Obama's summit last week was wrong. To start, it wasn't a "summit." That term, coined by Winston Churchill, implies a meeting of heads of government. However, the most important Arab leader invited by Mr. Obama, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, stayed home, as did the rulers of the United Arab Emirates and Oman. King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain decided his time could be spent more productively at the Royal Windsor Horse Show outside London. Published May 19, 2015

Illustration on the suave approach taken by Iranian nuclear negotiators by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: The ‘suave’ manner Mohammad Javad Zarif

Tehran's largest cemetery, Behesht-e Zahra, contains the graves of thousands of Iranians killed in battle. There's also a polished stone monument bearing this inscription: "To the memory of two Muslim Lebanese youths who on the morning of Sunday October 23, 1983, in two simultaneous martyrdom operations, with trucks carrying explosives, attacked the headquarters of American occupiers (in South Beirut) and headquarters of French occupiers (in West Beirut) killing 241 American Marines and 48 French paratroopers. Their names we do not know, but we will continue their path." Published May 5, 2015

Illustration on remembrance of the Turkish genocide against Armenians 100 years ago by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Recalling the lessons of Armenia

Displayed outside the Turkish embassy in Washington last week was a large banner reading, "Armenian genocide is an imperialist lie." That claim might be amusing were the subject not so dreadful. Published April 28, 2015

Illustration on the dangers and illegalities of the Iran nuclear deal by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Congress should act on Iran deal

Members of Congress are facing the test of their political lives. America's national security is about to be imperiled. American sovereignty is about to be surrendered. The U.S. Constitution is about to be compromised. Published April 21, 2015