Clifford May
Clifford May
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Biden must heal the nation and show world adversaries a unified America

January 13, 2021  •  The Washington Times

What a marvelous time to be America's enemy! Despots, dictators, and other assorted villains are gloating.

I'll give you two examples. Alluding to last week's assault on the Capitol – a shameful episode that President Trump recklessly and irresponsibly encouraged – Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, tweeted: "Have you seen the situation in the U.S.? This is their democracy and this is their election fiasco. Today, the U.S. & 'American values' are ridiculed even by their friends."

Then, referring to the mass uprisings against his oppressive regime 12 years ago, the theocrat added: "The US wanted to start a civil war in #Iran in 2009, & God has afflicted them with the same predicament in 2021."

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Europe capitulates to China's rulers

January 6, 2021  •  The Washington Times

The challenges facing what we used to call, with pride and confidence, the Free World are daunting. Illiberal authoritarians of various stripes are increasingly assertive and audacious.

In response, Americans and Europeans should be working more closely and cooperatively than ever. They're not.

The explanation commonly given: Relations between President Trump and his counterparts across the pond have been strained. He hasn't shown them the respect they deserve. They've not concealed their disdain for him.

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Came the Islamic Revolution
The theocrats who seized power in Iran are still widely misunderstood

December 31, 2020  •  The Washington Times

In early 1979, I was sent to Iran to report on the rebellion then underway. I was woefully ignorant of Iranian history, politics, and theology. But older, more experienced colleagues in the journalistic, diplomatic, and intelligence communities also misunderstood would become known as the Islamic Revolution.

So, it was with both curiosity and pleasure that I've been reading "The Last Shah: America, Iran and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty" an enlightening new history by Ray Takeyh, the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Reading foreign policy tea leaves
Actually, we can't predict what presidential advisors will advise

December 16, 2020  •  The Washington Times

We are now in that quadrennial season when Washington wonks spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to divine the policies of the next administration based on the individuals named as presidential advisors.

In theory, such analysis makes sense. Personnel is policy, and personnel have track records. In practice, the relevant tea leaves are not easily read.

As historian Tevi Troy makes vivid in his new book, "Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump," advisors to the Commander in Chief compete – sometimes productively, sometimes disastrously – over both power and policies.

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The forgotten refugees of the Middle East

December 9, 2020  •  The Washington Times

Nov. 30 is the day Israel designates for commemorating the 850,000 Jews who fled from Arab countries and Iran following World War II. This year, like every year, the governments now ruling those lands did not mark the occasion. For what it's worth, I'm going to do so here.

About 80 percent of Israelis are Jews. A significant minority of Israelis, close to 20 percent, are Arabs (or Palestinians – they may identify as they like). Most Israeli Jews are not from families that migrated from the Middle East to Europe centuries ago. Most are Mizrahim, Jews who have lived for thousands of years among Arabs, Persians, and other Middle Eastern and North African peoples.

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