Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism created immediately following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Cliff May has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), Cliff May has covered stories in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia.
Cliff May is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues. May is a regular contributor for National Review Online, The American Spectator and other publications. In 2006 Cliff May was appointed to a Military and Security Working Group of the United States Institute of Peace, an independent nonpartisan national institution established and funded by Congress.
From 1997 to 2001, he served as the Director of Communications for the Republican National Committee. In that role, he was the Republican Party's staff spokesman, and appeared frequently on national television and radio programs. In addition, he managed all RNC communications activities, including long-range strategic planning; press, radio and television services; online services; TV and radio coaching; speech writing; advertising and marketing. He also served as the Editor of the official Republican magazine, Rising Tide.
After leaving the RNC, Cliff May was named Senior Managing Director in the Washington, D.C. office of Weber Shandwick, a firm specializing in public affairs advocacy, public relations and media relations. Prior to coming to the RNC, Cliff May was the Associate Editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado. While in Colorado, Mr. May hosted a talk radio program on the dominant station in the region, and produced and moderated an interview program on KRMA-TV (a PBS station). In addition, Cliff May served as host/moderator for the weekly, nationally distributed TCI cable television series, Race for the Presidency, which featured “resident analysts” Dick Lamm, Gary Hart and Don Hodel.
Before moving to Colorado, Cliff May spent nearly a decade with The New York Times as a reporter in both New York and Washington, an editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine and a foreign correspondent. He established the Times' West Africa bureau and, as Bureau Chief, covered more than a score of African nations. Earlier in his career, Cliff May was the Roving Foreign Correspondent for Hearst newspapers, reporting from a variety of global hotspots. During that same period, Mr. May provided special coverage for CBS Radio News and Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS. Prior to that, Mr. May was Senior Editor of Geo Magazine, and an Associate Editor for international news at Newsweek. Cliff May holds masters degrees from both Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs and its School of Journalism. Cliff May earned his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. In addition, he holds a certificate in Russian language and literature from the University of Leningrad.
Perhaps not the best use of your money and mine.
The largest and most expensive embassy in the world is in Baghdad. President George W. Bush built it in the hope, perhaps the expectation, that before long, it would house envoys to the first democratic American ally in the Arab world. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.
“America cannot do a damn thing.”
?As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to bring us together and, on foreign policy, he may be making belated progress. Last week, he gave the commencement address at West Point, turning an occasion to congratulate the cadets for their hard work and thank them for their future service into an opportunity to congratulate and thank himself.
I’m not among those who object to the Twitter campaign focusing on the kidnapping and enslaving of hundreds of Nigerian school girls.
Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres brought a smile to my lips last week – and not by saying anything funny.
Iran’s rulers brutalize their own citizens, sponsor terrorism on several continents, and openly vow “Death to America!” They are determined to acquire the ability to develop nuclear weapons and deliver them to targets anywhere in the world.
How far will Putin go? He’s no communist but I do think he learned from Lenin who famously said that when you probe with your bayonet and hit steel, you back off, but when you hit mush, you continue moving forward. Raise your hand if you believe Putin has so far hit anything other than mush from the U.S., the European Union and NATO (and the U.N. – that goes without saying).
Last week, more than a hundred Nigerian students, girls between 15 and 18 years of age, were kidnapped by the al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists of Boko Haram. Most of the girls are still being held. That should be a big story, don’t you think?
Remember when colleges prided themselves on the diligence and depth of their research? Frederick Lawrence, president of Brandeis University, apparently does not. He offered an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Then, at the last minute, he rescinded the offer because, he claims, he became aware of “past statements” by her “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” Hey Scholar-in-Chief, ever hear of Google?
Blessed are the peace makers. But don’t confuse peace makers with peace processors. The latter think they can persuade the lion to lie down with the lamb. The former are realistic enough to grasp how perilous that is unless the lion has just had a big dinner and a couple of stiff drinks.
For more than two months now, Venezuelans have taken to the streets in protest – with at least 39 people killed so far. The White House has barely reacted. In congressional testimony last week, Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, concluded that the Obama administration “has systematically disengaged from Latin America.”
Russia’s Vladimir Putin, seething over the collapse of the Soviet Empire, wants to become the hegemon of Eurasia — at least. Iran’s Ali Khamenei, outraged by the decline of Islamic power, wants to become the hegemon of the Middle East — at a minimum.
Almost a hundred years ago, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the last in a succession of Islamic caliphates stretching back more than a millennium, transformed the Middle East – first, into European protectorates, later into a collection of independent nation-states. A second historic transformation – not just the blossoming of a sunshiny “Arab Spring” – is now underway. That’s news, don’t you think?
Strengthening America is the best revenge.
Count me among those — a dwindling minority, I’m afraid — who think that politics should end at the water’s edge. No one, Republican or Democrat, ought to take pleasure at the spectacle of America’s foreign policies failing and the perception of America as a hobbled giant.
In Tehran last week, the 35th anniversary of Iran’s revolution was celebrated with chants of “Death to America!” and the burning of American flags. Also on display were posters showing Iranian boots stomping on President Obama’s face.
‘Iran’s rulers are not open to engagement no matter what mix of carrots and sticks are offered.” Peter Beinart, a contributing editor of The Atlantic, attributed that remark to me on a radio show on NPR last week.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani last week tweeted a declaration of diplomatic victory: “In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iran’s national will.” In response, White House press secretary Jay Carney said not to worry: “It doesn’t matter what they say. It matters what they do.”
Since June 2012, Peter Bergen, the swashbuckling reporter who serves as CNN’s national-security analyst and a director of the liberal New America Foundation, has been among those in the foreign-policy establishment confidently declaring that “al-Qaeda is defeated.”