Clifford May
Clifford May
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A plaintive cry for Argentina

January 8, 2019  •  The Washington Times

BUENOS AIRES | Why isn't Argentina as wealthy as Canada? For that matter, why are all the countries of Latin America, without exception, so much less prosperous than their neighbors to the North?

Such questions are apt to come to mind here in the Argentine capital, a city of grand boulevards, elaborate architecture, and quaint neighborhoods with cozy cafes, old-fashioned tango halls, and elegant restaurants serving enormous slabs of juicy beef raised in the pampas, the vast grassy plains beyond the city.

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The first two years of Trump

January 1, 2019  •  The Washington Times

The president of the United States has no responsibility more imperative that this: To defend Americans from those intent on doing them harm.

What can we conclude about the current commander in chief's national security policies halfway through his term? I'd argue that President Trump deserves more credit than his Democratic and Republican #NeverTrump critics give him, but less than his most fervent fans — and the man himself — like to claim.

On the plus side, he has seemed not just willing but eager to confront America's enemies, adversaries and competitors, to prevent them from making further advances. On the minus side, he has been mercurial, impulsive and too quick to cast modest progress as significant victories.

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Looking for the exits

December 26, 2018  •  The Washington Times

For almost two years now, President Trump has seemed clear-eyed about the threat posed by those who proudly call themselves jihadis.

He appointed a top-notch national security team determined to crush the non-state actors who use terrorism to establish Islamic supremacy, and to at least contain the Islamic Republic of Iran. And then, last week, he abruptly reversed course.

Rejecting the advice Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mr. Trump said he was withdrawing all U.S. troops from Syria, and about half the 14,000 troops still in Afghanistan.

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A modest Middle East detente

December 19, 2018  •  The Washington Times

MUSCAT | Perhaps Barack Obama deserves that Nobel Peace Prize after all. His achievement: Bringing Israelis and Arabs closer together. He produced that result by throwing both under the bus. While there, they had coffee and a little baklava, and recognized how much they actually have in common.

Evidence of this modest detente: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's October meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said here in Oman's picturesque capital. The two men spent 10 hours in the royal palace, discussing affairs of state, dining, and enjoying a musical performance. Photos of them warmly shaking hands were made available to the media.

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Punishing the Saudi Prince

December 12, 2018  •  The Washington Times

ABU DHABI | Consult a map of the Middle East. Locate the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow sea passage separating the Arabian Peninsula from Iran, and connecting the Gulf — whether you call it the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Gulf is a thorny question — to the open oceans beyond.

The Strait of Hormuz is among the world's most strategic waterways, essential to the health of the global economy. More than a third of seaborne oil shipments and 20 percent of the oil traded internationally pass through it.

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