Clifford May
Clifford May
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The man who would be Saudi king

November 29, 2017  •  The Washington Times

Mohammad bin Salman is a young man in a hurry. When I visited Saudi Arabia back in February he was only the deputy crown prince. Nevertheless, it was he — not 81-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and not the crown prince, 58-year-old Muhammad bin Nayef — who was the talk of the town.

The 32-year old MBS, as he is known, was regarded as the brains and energy behind Vision 2030, an ambitious plan to construct, by the aforementioned date, a dynamic and diverse Saudi economy, one not dependent on extracting and exporting petroleum. To achieve that, he appeared to understand, will require significant economic, social and religious reforms.

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The battle for the lands of the caliphate

November 22, 2017  •  The Washington Times

Soon after taking office, President Trump ordered his national security advisers to provide "a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran." Last month, based on that review, he announced a new strategy "to confront the Iranian regime's hostile actions," including its development of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, its support for terrorists, and its neo-imperialist aggressions. This month that strategy is facing its first serious test.

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Came the revolution

November 15, 2017  •  The Washington Times

My political orientation has evolved slowly over decades. With one exception: I became anti-Soviet and anti-Communist overnight. More quickly than that, actually.

The year was 1972. I was an undergraduate exchange student at the University of Leningrad. A Russian couple I'd come to know and trust invited me to meet a friend of theirs.

She was old and frail but her mind was sharp. Over strong coffee and countless cigarettes, we talked in muted tones, the radio playing in the background to (hopefully) diminish the effectiveness of any listening devices that might be in the room.

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Osama bin Laden's secret diary

November 8, 2017  •  The Washington Times

On May 2, 2011, a Navy SEAL team made a brief stop in Abbottabad, Pakistan where they terminated Osama bin Laden's life and then moved on to their second mission: collecting as much information as possible from within the al Qaeda leader's compound.

They carried off computers, memoranda, photos, audio files, even a 228-page handwritten diary — "the single largest collection of senior terrorists materials ever," a Pentagon briefer told reporters five days later.

Over the years since, what have we learned from this treasure trove? Almost nothing. Why not? Because President Obama promptly put almost all of it under lock and key.

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The 100-year-old promise
The international community enabled the birth of Israel

November 1, 2017  •  The Washington Times

In theory, who doesn't believe in self-determination, the idea, developed in the 19th century, that all nations have a right to sovereignty? By the early 20th century, President Woodrow Wilson was insisting that "National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent." In theory, self-determination is today a fundamental principle of international law.

In practice, not so much. The Middle East's 35 million Kurds have long wanted their own nation-state. They're not about to get one anytime soon. The government of Spain is determined to quash the movement for Catalonian independence. China prohibits even discussions of Tibet's right to break free.

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