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

The sorrow and the pity in Syria

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 is like Ike

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

Illustration of Mahmoud Abbas by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Mahmoud Abbas, the president still

One man, one vote, one time: In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority. He hasn't bothered to run for re-election since. Published December 6, 2016

Illustration on making America great again by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

An American renewal

Slowly and perhaps even surely, Donald Trump is pulling together a team he believes can help him achieve his goals. Which are what exactly? Published November 29, 2016

Illustration on secessionist sentiments following the 2016 election by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Superfluous secessionist nonsense

The People's Democratic Republic of Oregon. That has a kind of ring to it, don't you think? The reason this phrase has crystalized in my mind: Just after it was confirmed that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton, a petition was submitted for a ballot initiative to have Oregon secede from these United States. Published November 22, 2016

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

The tide turns

First and foremost: Nothing is more pivotal to democratic governance then holding free and fair elections that lead to a peaceful transference of power. Over the past week, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all demonstrated that they get that. This is an achievement that should not be taken for granted -- an achievement that remains out of reach in too many of the world's nations. Published November 15, 2016

Illustration on Islamist aims at rewriting history by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The war against history

"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past." This, as you may recall, was the slogan of the totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell in 1984, his classic novel. Published November 8, 2016

Illustration on future world leadership by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The ideals of 1776

Andrew Roberts, one of the world's great historians, took America to task last week. Let me rephrase that: He took Americans to task for what they -- or rather we -- are doing to these United States during an election season that often seems like a satirical novel, albeit one that would have benefited from more rigorous editing. Published November 1, 2016

Illustration on the results of defeating the Islamic State by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The Battle of Mosul

Ayman al-Zawahiri was correct. Believed to be ensconced in the tribal lands of Pakistan, the leader of what's sometimes called al Qaeda Central has dedicated his life to a jihad that he hopes and prays will lead to the founding of a new and mighty Islamic empire. But he understands the value of strategic patience. Published October 25, 2016

Illustration on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by M. Ryder/Tribune Content Agency

A final stab at resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

You're probably familiar with the old story about the inebriated guy looking for his wallet at night under a streetlight -- not because that's where he dropped it but because what would be the point of poking around in the dark? This, in essence, has been the American approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for years. Published October 18, 2016

Illustration on the obstacles to peace in Colombia by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The problem with processed peace

When peace-loving people sit down together in a spirit of compromise they can find ways to resolve their conflicts. Does it follow that negotiations with those who don't care a fig about peace and reject compromise also lead to good results? Published October 11, 2016

Illustration on the challenge presented by Shariah law by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

A strategic mistake in counterterrorism

For almost eight years, I've waited for Congress to stand up to President Obama, to demonstrate that the legislative branch is still -- as the Founders envisioned -- coequal to the executive branch, that senators and representatives are more than a commentariat, a Greek chorus appearing on the cable TV stage. Published October 4, 2016

Illustration on which immigrants should be allowed to enter the United States by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Coming to America

Millions of people want to come to America. Actually, it's tens of millions or perhaps hundreds of millions. Some Americans believe our borders should be open -- that everyone has a "right" to live in the United States. That seems to me both mistaken and impractical. Published September 27, 2016

Illustration on political correctness applied to fiction by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

'Political correctness' finds a new target

In "Nineteen Eighty-Four," George Orwell's classic novel about a totalitarian and dystopian future, the ruling Party develops "Newspeak" as way to limit freedom of expression and thought. So, for example, "goodthink" refers to thoughts approved by the Party. That which is not "goodthink" is apt to be "crimethink." Published September 20, 2016

Illustration on Obama's late term global trouble shooting by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

President Obama's last to-do list

Barack Obama is now in his final days as president but, as he made clear on his visit to Asia last week, there are goals he still hopes to achieve before leaving office. Published September 13, 2016

Illustration on world changes since 9/11 by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

How the world has changed since 9/11

The 15th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 should be a time for mourning, commemoration, reflection -- and strategic planning. Published September 6, 2016

The Tactics of George Soros Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The Soros smear effect

Washington is not an easy-going town. You come here to argue policy with the big boys -- you should expect some rough-and-tumble. But you also should expect clean fights -- no biting, no spitting, no hitting below the belt. Whatever else divides us, we all value free speech and edifying debate, right? Published August 23, 2016

Illustration on the furtherance of human rights by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Tracking freedom's enemies

If I were to ask an intelligent person like you what happened in the 20th century, or the 19th or the 18th, you could probably sum up the most significant developments. But if I asked you what is happening in the 21st century, how would you reply? Published August 16, 2016

Illustration on unfrozen assets and restitution to Iran's victims by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

What does America owe Iran?

An unmarked cargo plane filled with $400 million in cash lands in Tehran. Four American hostages held by Iran's rulers are set free. These revelations have sparked two controversies. Published August 9, 2016