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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

CLIFFORD MAY: Obama visit legitimizes Cuban dictatorship

''I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas." That was Barack Obama's "historic" announcement in Cuba last week. But was it true? What is the Castro regime if not a vestige of communism's 20th century struggle against the capitalist enemy — also known as the Free World? And, self-evidently, President Obama had come not to bury the Castros but to normalize relations with them. Published March 29, 2016

Real Free Speech College Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: When universities become day care centers

Back in 1993, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat, warned against "defining deviancy down." He was talking specifically about crime, about our getting used to it and not taking serious measures to fight it. But over the years since, is there any realm of American or European life where acceptance of ever-increasing deviancy has not become "the new normal"? Published March 22, 2016

Illustration on ISIS' genocide against Christians by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Obama must acknowledge genocide of Christians in Mideast

In the Yemeni port city of Aden earlier this month, Islamists attacked a Catholic home for the indigent elderly. The militants, believed to be soldiers of the Islamic State, shot the security guard, then entered the facility where they gunned down the old people and their caregivers, including four nuns. At least 16 people were murdered. Published March 15, 2016

Illustration on so-called Iranian moderates by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD D. MAY: Iranian moderates needed to change culture

Elections at the end of February have apparently bolstered the position of President Hassan Rouhani. Though sophisticated and pragmatic, "Rouhani is not a moderate, he is a hard-liner." Those words were recently spoken by Wendy Sherman, former undersecretary of state who served as President Obama's lead negotiator on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Published March 8, 2016

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

CLIFFORD MAY: How not to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Imagine that your mission is to make sure the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians does not get resolved -- not even now, a time when self-proclaimed jihadis are wreaking havoc throughout much of the Middle East and, as a consequence, Israel's relations with Egypt, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia are improving. What policies might help you accomplish your mission? Published February 23, 2016

Illustration on the lack of U.S. intercession against acts of genocide by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: U.S. bystanders to genocide

It's surprising how time slips away: Just five years ago next month, President Obama proclaimed a "responsibility to act" when American "interests and values are at stake." Published February 16, 2016

Illustration on unconventional war by Linas Garsys/The Washington Tmes

CLIFFORD MAY: Winning an unconventional war

War is -- and always will be -- hell. The Law of Armed Conflict is not meant to change that -- only to make it a little less hellish. There are weapons you agree not to use. In exchange, your enemy doesn't use those weapons against you. You treat captured combatants humanely. You expect the same when your soldiers are taken prisoner. Published February 9, 2016

Illustration on the West's failure to take Muslim culture seriously by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD D. MAY: Haute couture headscarves won’t counter violent extremism

In the "culture" section of the venerable Atlantic magazine last month, there was a news item I wouldn't want you to miss: "The Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has just launched a line of hijabs (headscarves) and abayas (cloaks) in the label's signature playful, theatrical aesthetic." Published February 2, 2016

Illustration on worldwide Islamist terror by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Skirmishes on the Indian front

DELHI -- What do you make of this month's attacks on Pathankot Air Force Station and Bacha Khan University? My guess is you don't know -- you've heard next to nothing about either. Published January 26, 2016

Illustration on the disastrous impact of Muslim immigration to Europe by Linas Garsys/the Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: The threat to America’s national existence

President Obama judged the Islamic State the "JV team," boasted that he'd set al Qaeda "on its heels" and implemented successful counterterrorism policies in Yemen. He insists that both the nuclear deal and the hostages-for-felons swap he concluded with Iran's rulers are triumphs of diplomacy. Published January 19, 2016

Illustration on continued Iranian nuclear deceit by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: The early returns on Obama’s Iran deal

Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opened a hearing last week with these candid, if not immortal, words: "I think the agreement is off to a really terrible start." Published December 22, 2015

Illustration on the French novel "Soumission" and Islamist terror by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD D. MAY: Perfect submission possible

Michel Houellebecq is a sardonic and iconoclastic French novelist, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, and subject of considerable controversy in Europe these days. He deserves to be controversial here in the United States as well. Published December 15, 2015

Donald Trump   Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Americans disagree over threats

"Divide and conquer" describes an age-old military concept: If your enemies are fighting among themselves, they can't effectively battle you. Phillip II of Macedon, Julius Caesar and Napoleon were among those who employed this tactic to defeat more powerful forces. Would-be conquerors of the 21st century are lucky: Their enemies can't agree about anything -- not even which barbarians are at the gate. Published December 8, 2015

Illustration on Israeli water production by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Water in Israel

Thirty years ago, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, an Egyptian politician and diplomat who would go on to become United Nations secretary-general in 1992, warned of Middle Eastern wars to come. His prediction was correct, but he was wrong about the cause. What should have worried him was the rise of extremist movements within the Islamic world. What worried him instead was water. Published December 1, 2015

Illustration on the processing of national security intelligence by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: National security memo to presidential campaign advisers

This memorandum is addressed to the brave souls advising presidential candidates. As you know, the recent terrorist attacks in France -- and in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel -- have altered the political landscape. With less than a year to go before the 2016 election, the landscape may stay altered even if there are no more attacks -- and that seems unlikely. Published November 24, 2015

Illustration on the need for America to effectively fight back against ISIS by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: Lessons learned from Paris

For almost two generations, since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, self-proclaimed jihadis have been fighting to re-establish Islamic supremacy and domination in the world. Leaders of the nations they have been targeting have regarded them as a problem -- but mostly not as dangerous enemies who must be decisively defeated. Published November 17, 2015

Illustration on the U.N.'s 70th anniversary by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

CLIFFORD MAY: An unhappy United Nations birthday

Did it escape your attention that last month was the 70th birthday of the United Nations? Did you miss the opportunity to celebrate by following Elyx on an "exciting 70-day (virtual) trip around the world to shine light on the U.N.'s work"? Published November 3, 2015