Clifford May
Clifford May
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A separate peace in the Middle East

September 23, 2020  •  The Washington Times

Before there was a Palestinian-Israeli conflict, there was an Arab-Israeli conflict. Last week, on the White House lawn, that older conflict was put to rest.

In normal times, we'd agree that the president deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, and that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be next up on Washington's diplomatic to-do list.

But these are not normal times. Prior to the ceremony, I received an email announcing: "Over 50 Organizations/Groups to protest the UAE and Bahrain Normalization with Israel During Deal Signing at the White House."

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The UN General Assembly at 75
It's not the organization it used to be and never was

September 16, 2020  •  The Washington Times

The 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly is underway. Publicists are calling it "historic." I suspect you're thinking: Is this exciting, or what?

I'd say the answer is "what." Truth to tell, this session of UNGA – insiders say "un-guh" – in unlikely to produce much useful for the peoples of the world. Which would be consistent with most past sessions.

The big tent of the U.N., UNGA has 193 members. Each – big or small, rich or poor, free or unfree – gets one vote. Despite an agreement reached in 1955 guaranteeing "universal membership," Taiwan has been denied membership at the insistence of the Communist Party of China.

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The 9/11 anniversary and the 9/11 wars
Containing and disrupting jihadists is a mission worth accomplishing

September 9, 2020  •  The Washington Times

The December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was a wakeup call. It led to a high-intensity armed conflict that, within a few years, defeated the fascists of Europe and Asia. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington were a wakeup call. They led to a low-intensity armed conflict that, 19 years later, remains inconclusive.

So it should be instructive to hear what President Trump and Vice President Biden say about this week's 9/11 anniversary. My best guess: Both will eulogize the victims, but say little about the policies and strategies necessary to prevent those who call themselves jihadists from achieving their goals over the years ahead.

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Battle for Belarus
Former Soviet republic struggles to become a real republic

September 2, 2020  •  The Washington Times

It was once thought probable, if not inevitable, that from the ashes of the U.S.S.R. would arise liberal democracies. But few Soviet republics have become real republics.

Belarus has seemed a particularly hopeless case. A nation of fewer than 10 million on Russia's western border, it proclaimed its independence in 1991. Three years later, Alexander Lukashenko, a former Soviet border guard and collective farm director (with all the charm and empathy such a background might suggest) was elected president in what may have been a reasonably free and fair election. Since then, elections certainly have not been.

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Lebanon may be broken beyond repair

August 26, 2020  •  The Washington Times

Earlier this month, two days after a catastrophic explosion in Beirut's port, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived on the scene, wearing a black mourning tie and a face mask, his shirt sleeves rolled up, as if he were ready to clear the rubble himself. "I'm here to help you," he told shell-shocked survivors in the formerly elegant Gemmayze neighborhood. It's doubtful he'll succeed.

Long before this blast, Lebanon had begun shattering, politically and economically. Its elites bear the blame, and street protests against them have raged for almost two years.

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