Clifford May
Clifford May
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Middle East missions to accomplish

April 18, 2018  •  The Washington Times

Can we at least agree that President Trump's decision to strike three chemical weapons facilities owned and operated by Bashar Assad — vassal of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia — was consistent with American values?

The gassing of civilians by dictators is — for most of us, anyway — both morally repugnant and unambiguously criminal. Those who condone such practices, along with those who merely tut-tut about them, help normalize them.

War will always be hell but, to make war a little less hellish, civilized people establish rules and enforce them. If you're not certain that Mr. Trump did the right thing, imagine the counterfactual: That he had let this red line be transgressed with impunity once again.

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What's at stake in Syria

April 11, 2018  •  The Washington Times

Syria is a far-away land about which we know little. But we do know this: Over the past seven years, more than a half million people have been slaughtered there, with an estimated 150 murdered by chemical weapons just last weekend in a town outside Damascus.

We also know who's committing these crimes: Dictator Bashar Assad and those who have propped him up for their own purposes, Vladimir Putin, Russia's neo-czar, and Ali Khamenei, "supreme leader" for life of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Give anti-globalism a chance

April 4, 2018  •  The Washington Times

"Globalism" is one of those Humpty Dumpty words that seems to mean whatever those using it "choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

Michael Gerson, a conservative columnist at The Washington Post, last month defined it as "the combination of America's founding purpose with unavoidable international responsibilities."

Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist at The New York Times, last month wrote that globalism "means almost nothing." He added, that to "be an anti-globalist, on the other hand, does specify something. anti-globalism is economic illiteracy married to a conspiracy mind-set."

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The problem with promoting democracy

March 28, 2018  •  The Washington Times

In a better world, I'd be enthusiastically in favor of democracy promotion and even nation-building — more correctly called state-building. But we don't live in a better world.

The world in which we do live is increasingly dominated by authoritarians. Xi Jinping in China, Vladimir Putin in Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey — all have become, effectively, presidents for life.

Ali Khamenei has been supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1989 and will cling to power till he meets his maker. The hopefully named Arab Spring brought increased freedom and democracy to Tunisia (fingers crossed that it lasts) but not to other members of the Arab League.

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The Egyptian riddle

March 21, 2018  •  The Washington Times

CAIRO | With presidential elections coming up on March 26, Egypt's capital is festooned with campaign billboards and posters. That's an encouraging sight in the Middle East, and yet I sense that something is amiss. It takes me a while to realize what: The posters and billboards all feature one candidate, incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Other contenders are nowhere to be seen.

I soon learn that's because those who might have given Mr. Sisi a run for his money were persuaded to sit the race out. For example, former Prime Minister Ahmad Shafik had planned to throw his hat in the ring but after a few days in detention — with his family not knowing where he was — he changed his mind.

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