Clifford D. May | Stories - Washington Times
Skip to content

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

Articles by Clifford D. May

Illustration on contending with combined crises by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The axis of oppression

How do you kill a lion? Years ago in Kenya, the question arose (no doubt over too many Tusker beers) and someone gave me what sounded like an authoritative answer. Published May 14, 2019

In the Dragon's Grip Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

China isn't what it used to be

Last week, presidential contender Joseph Biden asked rhetorically: "China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man!" He added: "I mean, you know, they're not bad folks. But guess what, they're not competition for us!" Published May 7, 2019

Illustration on Putin's ambitions by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Vlad the conqueror

Vladimir Putin wants to make Russia great again. He defines great as powerful, nothing more, nothing less. If you keep that in mind, everything he does makes perfect sense. Published April 30, 2019

Illustration on strategies for the future of Afghanistan by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The Battle of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is often said to be America's longest war, but that's imprecise. Afghanistan is the longest battle in what some of us insist on calling The Long War. When did the conflict begin? Published April 23, 2019

Illustration on the continued attraction of Socialism and Communism by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Socialist eras and errors

Socialism is cool again, thanks not least to septuagenarian Sen. Bernie Sanders and millennial Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC). Socialism has been cool before, of course, notably during the Great Depression and what became known as the Sixties, the era of Vietnam, the civil rights movement, hippies and the (old) New Left. Published April 16, 2019

Illustration on the importance of the Golan Heights by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Trump's clear view of the Golan Heights

The Middle East is vast and, within it, Israel is no more than a speck, a shard, a sliver clinging to the easternmost shore of the Mediterranean Sea. At present, it is the only nation in the region that is free and democratic, with rights guaranteed to all its citizens, including its significant Arab and Muslim minorities. Saying that will make some people angry, but it's a fact. Published April 9, 2019

Illustration on Hungarian resistance to EU dictated immigration by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The Hungarian resistance

Most people want to survive. What could be more natural than that? Most peoples want to survive, too. That's no less natural. Published April 2, 2019

Illustration on negotiating with Kim Jong-un by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Why Kim Jong-un must feel 'maximum pressure'

It was worth a try. For decades, one administration after another, Republican and Democratic alike, failed to successfully address the metastasizing threat posed by the dictatorship that rules North Korea. So President Trump took a different tack: He played Mr. Nice Guy. He twice trekked to Asia to meet with Kim Jong-un, the country's mass-murdering young despot. He flattered, sweet-talked and — apparently, at least — befriended him. Published March 19, 2019

Illustration on the history of anti-Semitism by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A brief history of Jew-hatred

A freshman member of Congress openly espouses bigotry toward Jews and Israel. Her fellow Democrats, with only a few exceptions, fail to forcefully condemn her words and views. Troubling to be sure, but let's remember: This gnarly tree grows in an old, luxuriant and global forest. Published March 12, 2019

Illustration on deceptive "facts" by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Things we know that aren't so

It's been observed — and variously attributed to Mark Twain, Will Rogers and Ronald Reagan, among others — that what gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, but what we know that isn't so. Published March 5, 2019

Illustration on America as world sheriff by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

America as sheriff, not a policeman

Precipitously and with no plan in place, President Trump late last year announced his intention to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria. Published February 26, 2019

Illustration on the continuing Israeli/Arab peace talks by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

An Arab-Israeli talk-fest for peace

In Warsaw last week, the Trump administration convened a conference on peace and security in the Middle East. The two-day ministerial did not change the world. But it did highlight significant ways in which the world has changed. Published February 19, 2019

Illustration on the value of clear strategic communication by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The benefits of strategic communications and warfare

Last week's State of the Union — widely predicted to be a boring laundry list better mailed to Congress than recited with pomp and circumstance in the grand chamber of the House of Representatives — turned out to be quite the blockbuster. Published February 12, 2019

Illustration on freedom worldwide by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Democracies die in daylight

"Democracy is difficult — perhaps the most difficult to operate and preserve of all known forms of government." Bernard Lewis, the late, great scholar and historian, offered that observation more than a quarter century ago. Published February 5, 2019

Illustration on Irish anti-Israel legislation by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Ireland's surprise attack

Last Sunday was Holocaust Remembrance Day and, in America and Europe, people are working hard to put an end to anti-Semitism. They can look forward to permanent employment. Anti-Semitism is a virus that can be treated but not cured. It morphs. Published January 29, 2019

Illustration on "neo-imperialism" by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The age of neo-imperialism

China, Russia and Iran are very different nations in very different parts of the world, but they have three significant commonalities: All once were great empires. All are now ruled by men who aspire to build great empires anew. All regard the United States as their rival and adversary. Published January 22, 2019

Illustration on the difficulties faced by Argentina by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

A plaintive cry for Argentina

Why isn't Argentina as wealthy as Canada? For that matter, why are all the countries of Latin America, without exception, so much less prosperous than their neighbors to the North? Published January 8, 2019

Illustration on President Trump's strategic defense choices by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The first two years of Trump

The president of the United States has no responsibility more imperative that this: To defend Americans from those intent on doing them harm. Published January 1, 2019

Illustration on the hazards of not taking the Islamist threat seriously by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Looking for the exits

For almost two years now, President Trump has seemed clear-eyed about the threat posed by those who proudly call themselves jihadis. Published December 25, 2018

Illustration on potential new alliances in the Middle-East by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A modest Middle East detente

Perhaps Barack Obama deserves that Nobel Peace Prize after all. His achievement: Bringing Israelis and Arabs closer together. He produced that result by throwing both under the bus. While there, they had coffee and a little baklava, and recognized how much they actually have in common. Published December 18, 2018