Clifford May
Clifford May
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

The anti-Israel lobby

August 21, 2019  •  The Washington Times

I'm a stickler for sovereignty. Sovereign nations have borders and their leaders decide who gets to cross them. Excluding individuals who are hostile or even just objectionable is common practice. Among those who have not been permitted to come to America: Michael Ben Ari, a far-right Israeli legislator, and Narendra Modi, accused of doing too little to prevent anti-Muslim riots in 2002, and now India's prime minister.

Unless Israel is to be held to a separate and unequal standard, its leaders must enjoy the same right, which they exercised by declining to welcome Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

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In Afghanistan, no deal is better than a bad deal

August 14, 2019  •  The Washington Times

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."

A year later, Mr. Khalilzad was appointed U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. Since then, he has adopted an unrealistic position regarding peace talks with the Taliban, moving toward President Obama's pursuit of reconciliation regardless of the deteriorating military situation.

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Why endless wars can't be ended

August 6, 2019  •  The Washington Times

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato made that incisive observation a rather long time ago. Yet, a surprising number of politicians, journalists and think tank denizens continue to affix bumper stickers to their Priuses (if they're on the left) and SUVs (if they're on the right) demanding an end to "endless wars."

President Obama's approach to national security was based on the comforting notion that the "the tide of war is receding." He vowed "to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," and to "bring our troops home from Afghanistan." The possibility of a linkage between these two battlegrounds didn't occur to him.

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Getting human rights right
Mike Pompeo is trying, to the chagrin of the human rights establishment

July 17, 2019  •  The Washington Times

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.

So it came as something of a surprise when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week launched a bipartisan Commission on Unalienable Rights. Its task, Mr. Pompeo wrote in The Wall Street Journal, "isn't to discover new principles but to ground our discussion of human rights in America's founding principles."

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Who's afraid of nationalism?

July 11, 2019  •  The Washington Times

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."

Appearing on stage will be dozens of conservative luminaries from government, think tanks, media and academia. A sampling: National Security Adviser John Bolton, Sen. Josh Hawley, former National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton, Peter Theil, J.D. Vance, Tucker Carlson, Rich Lowry, Christopher DeMuth, Michael Barone and Amity Shlaes. (Full disclosure: I'm on one panel.)

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