Clifford May
Clifford May
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Trump's pivot to North Korea

March 22, 2017  •  The Washington Times

America can do anything but America can't do everything, at least not within a four-year time frame. That suggests that the American president — any American president — needs to prioritize.

In 2011, President Obama decided that the Muslim world should no longer be a top American priority. Against the advice of key members of his national security team, he decided to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and do nothing about the growing turmoil in Syria. He expressed confidence that coalition forces would soon "begin to draw down" in Afghanistan. As for al Qaeda, it was "on the path to defeat."

"So make no mistake," he announced, "the tide of war is receding." With those words, he began what was called his "pivot to Asia."

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What went wrong in Pakistan

March 15, 2017  •  The Washington Times

Pakistan was meant to be a model, an example for other nations to emulate. It was founded after World War II, as the sun was setting on the British Empire and India was preparing for independence. India's Muslims, though glad to see the end of the Raj, were apprehensive about becoming a minority in a Hindu-majority land.

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No rushing the peace process

March 8, 2017  •  The Washington Times

JERICHO, WEST BANK | This palm-fringed oasis in the Jordan Valley has been continuously inhabited for 10,000 years. That justifies it billing itself as the "oldest city in the world."

Officers of the Palestinian National Security Force (NSF) headquartered here will proudly tell you that it's now among the safest places in the Arab Middle East, and that their paramilitary organization is an important reason why. They're also grateful for the training, arms, ammunition, equipment and even buildings being provided by American taxpayers.

This arrangement was agreed to by the Israelis who, in 1994, gave the Palestinian Authority administrative control over Jericho and other West Bank cities.

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No more apologies for the West

March 1, 2017  •  The Washington Times

DAMMAM, SAUDI ARABIA – Intellectuals of the left and those influenced by them judge the United States and certain European nations as uniquely guilty of imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia – the list goes on.

But is the West really different from the rest when it comes to the modern sins? Anyone who has traveled in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa should know that's not so. Except in this regard: Americans and Europeans constantly and publicly argue over what is fair and what is just, and how our policies and attitudes could be improved. And we frequently -- some might say obsessively -- apologize for our past and present behaviors.

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The kingdom, the power and the petroleum

February 22, 2017  •  The Washington Times

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia is changing. When government officials here tell you that, you take it with an oversized grain of salt. But when Saudi human rights activists say the same, you pay attention.

"Baby steps," is how one bright young woman phrases it. She has studied abroad and recently become an attorney, one of only about 120 women admitted to the bar in this gender-segregated country.

Female attorneys in Saudi Arabia can practice only family law. But, she believes, over time other doors will open. "There is at least an acknowledgement that we need to evolve," she adds. More than that, this country's rulers have adopted a plan to reform if not transform their kingdom -- the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

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