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

Columns by Clifford D. May

Illustration commemorating 9/11 by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Another unhappy September 11 anniversary

On September 11, 2001, a sparkling late summer morning, enemies of America hijacked four passenger jets and turned them into guided missiles. Published September 10, 2019

Illustration by Linas Garsys

The Islamic Republic lashes out

It's been 40 years since I've been to Iran. I'd love to return. At present, that seems inadvisable. Published September 3, 2019

Hong Kong illustration by Linas Garsys

Why Hong Kong has a right to self-determination

The other day, President Trump took it into his head to buy Greenland. That stirred outrage and anger. "Thankfully," said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, "the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over." Published August 27, 2019

In Afghanistan, no deal is better than a bad deal

In Afghanistan, no deal is better than a bad deal

Two years ago this month, Zalmay Khalilzad, the distinguished diplomat who has served as America's ambassador to both Iraq and Afghanistan, praised President Trump for adopting "a realistic position regarding peace talks" with the Taliban, "moving away from President Barack Obama's pursuit of reconciliation regardless of the deteriorating military situation." Published August 13, 2019

Illustration on endless wars by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Why endless wars can’t be ended

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato made that incisive observation a rather long time ago. Published August 6, 2019

How art imitates life in Ukraine

How art imitates life in Ukraine

Just over a year ago, Volodymyr Zelensky was a comic actor. One day, his rant against Ukrainian politics and politicians, surreptitiously recorded, goes viral on social media. The result: He's elected president of Ukraine with 67 percent of the vote. Published July 30, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Getting human rights right

At the State Department, human rights have generally been a not-so-high priority. The big kahunas tend to focus on war and peace, allies and adversaries, national security and global economics. Published July 16, 2019

Illusatration on nationalism by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Who’s afraid of nationalism?

Is a new "age of nationalism already upon us?" That premise will be debated in Washington, July 14-16, at the "kick-off event" of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a fledgling public affairs institute dedicated to "strengthening the principles of national conservatism in Western and other democratic countries." Published July 9, 2019

Illustration on the Middle East peace process by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Palestinians’ ‘opportunity of the century’

Abba Eban, who was serving as his country's foreign minister after Israel defended itself from Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War, is said to have lamented that Palestinians "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Published July 2, 2019

Illustration on Hong Kong by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Hong Kong freedom fighters deserve more support than they’re getting

"God has planted in every heart," President George W. Bush famously said, "the desire to live in freedom," I've never been convinced that's true. But the desire to live in freedom has been planted in some hearts. In Hong Kong in recent days, we've been witnessing a bracing demonstration. Published June 25, 2019

Illustration on nationalism by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Why the Trump brand of nationalism works

Donald Trump strutted on the European stage last week and, it seems to me, put in a boffo performance. He wore white tie and tails. He charmed Queen Elizabeth. He gave the heroes of Normandy what may be, sadly, their final curtain call. Published June 11, 2019

Illustration on the new rise of socialism by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Socialism rises from the grave

In 2002, Joshua Muravchik, a distinguished scholar, wrote a history of socialism which, he thought, might also be considered an epitaph for socialism. Published June 4, 2019

American Strength Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The imperative of deterrence

Are we at war yet? Over recent days, warnings of a gathering storm have been ubiquitous and incessant. Published May 21, 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

Vladimir Putin plays a weak hand well

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