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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

Europe's silence

It's tempting to say that Europe's leaders lack the courage of their convictions. But that would imply that they have convictions. The evidence suggests those days are gone. Published January 9, 2018

Illustration on the potential for Iranian popular revolt against the current regime by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Eruption in Iran

The revolution that transformed Iran in 1979 was a grand experiment. From that moment on, Iran would be ruled by an ayatollah, a man with deep knowledge of sharia, Islamic law. Published January 2, 2018

Illustration on Trump's national security strategy by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The dangerous world of Donald Trump

A National Security Strategy is less a plan of action than an attempt to prioritize. Who, in the president's judgment, most threatens America? What means do we have and what capabilities must we develop to defend the homeland and protect our freedoms? Published December 26, 2017

Illustration on Mohammed bin Salman by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The man who would be Saudi king

Mohammad bin Salman is a young man in a hurry. When I visited Saudi Arabia back in February he was only the deputy crown prince. Nevertheless, it was he — not 81-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and not the crown prince, 58-year-old Muhammad bin Nayef — who was the talk of the town. Published November 28, 2017

Illustration on territories liberated from ISIS by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The battle for the lands of the caliphate

Soon after taking office, President Trump ordered his national security advisers to provide "a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran." Last month, based on that review, he announced a new strategy "to confront the Iranian regime's hostile actions," including its development of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, its support for terrorists, and its neo-imperialist aggressions. This month that strategy is facing its first serious test. Published November 21, 2017

Illustration on nostalgia for Communism by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Came the revolution

My political orientation has evolved slowly over decades. With one exception: I became anti-Soviet and anti-Communist overnight. More quickly than that, actually. Published November 14, 2017

Illustration on the bin Laden diaries' revelations by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Osama bin Laden's secret diary

On May 2, 2011, a Navy SEAL team made a brief stop in Abbottabad, Pakistan where they terminated Osama bin Laden's life and then moved on to their second mission: collecting as much information as possible from within the al Qaeda leader's compound. Published November 7, 2017

Illustration on the 100 year political foundation for the modern state of Israel by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The 100-year-old promise

In theory, who doesn't believe in self-determination, the idea, developed in the 19th century, that all nations have a right to sovereignty? By the early 20th century, President Woodrow Wilson was insisting that "National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent." In theory, self-determination is today a fundamental principle of international law. Published October 31, 2017

Illustration on needed action on Kurdistan by the Trump administration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The Kurdish test

In a just world, the Kurds would have a state of their own. Their culture is ancient. They speak a distinctive language. They have a homeland, Kurdistan, ruled for centuries by Arabs, Turks and Persians -- foreigners and oppressors all. Published October 24, 2017

Illustration on salvaging the U.S./Iran nuclear agreement by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Trump's third way

President Trump made a tough call last week. European diplomats and an "echo chamber" in the mainstream media were insisting he "recertify" the nuclear weapons deal his predecessor concluded with Iran's rulers in 2015. Published October 17, 2017

Illustration on the future of Europe by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

We'll always have Paris

Europeans seem to have an increasingly bizarre and perhaps self-destructive view of the world, and their place in it. Last week's most creative illustration: The Irish postal service issued a stamp to "commemorate" the 50th anniversary of the death of "Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara." Published October 10, 2017

Illustration on America's core values and their benefits to the world by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

American values are the antidote for racial hate

More than 35 years ago, I went to Africa for the first time, the junior member of a group of American writers. We were visiting The Gambia and, at a stop in the interior, I purchased a small wooden statue at a roadside kiosk. One of the group asked how much I had paid. I told her and, a bit condescendingly, she suggested that next time I ask for her help because, in this part of the world, one bargains. Published October 3, 2017

Illustration on the evil triangle of Latin American anti-American forces by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Latin America's socialist-Islamist-narco-terrorist alliance

At the U.N. last week, President Trump had harsh words for the "socialist dictatorship" that has impoverished Venezuela. He railed against "Islamist extremism" and "radical Islamic terrorism," the former a supremacist ideology, the latter a weapon being used to mass-murder Muslims, Christians Yazidis, Jews and Hindus. He took note, too, of the threat posed by "international criminal networks" that "traffic drugs, weapons, people." Published September 26, 2017

Illustration on Iranian manipulation of the U.S. by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The new Persian empire

Eleven years ago, Henry Kissinger famously said that Iran's rulers must "decide whether they are representing a cause or a nation." If the latter, Iranian and American interests would be "compatible." As for the former: "If Tehran insists on combining the Persian imperial tradition with contemporary Islamic fervor, then a collision with America is unavoidable." Published September 19, 2017

Illustration on improving the U.N. by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Fixing the United Nations

The United Nations was created in the wake of World War II by the major Allied nations that had prevailed -- at an enormous cost in blood and treasure -- over the Axis powers. Its founders proclaimed ambitious goals: to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights" and "promote social progress." That the U.N. hasn't come close to succeeding should, by now, be obvious. Published September 12, 2017

Illustration on the 9/11 attacks by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Another grim anniversary

The approach of an anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 always concentrates my mind. It was, astonishingly, 16 Septembers ago that a team of foreign terrorists hijacked three American passenger planes and used them as weapons of mass destruction. Published September 5, 2017

In search of a grand U.S. strategy

Richard Nixon's rapprochement with China, the end of the Cold War, President Obama's outreach to "the Muslim world," the growth of the (largely American-funded) United Nations — weren't such developments supposed to lead to a safer world, one in which the "international community" would embrace "universal values" and pursue common interests — peace and security key among them? Published August 30, 2017

The Uphill Fight for Afghanistan Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Afghanistan and the war against the West

The conflict in Afghanistan is often referred to as "the longest war in American history." From that, you might infer that wars are normally brief. Not so. Published August 29, 2017

Replacing patriotism with tribalism

Just after last week's terrorist attack in Barcelona, a pro-Islamic State website posted video from the scene along with a message in Arabic saying, "Terror is filling the hearts of the Crusader in the Land of Andalusia." Published August 22, 2017