TOM PLATE WRITES — Frustrations come with any occupation, and writing columns about Asia and America, as I have without stop for 25 years, is no exception. Asia is powerful and dynamic, and one size does not fit all. But, for me, no one subject has proven more elusive and…Full Article NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE: ONLY KOREANS THEMSELVES CAN FIND A WAY OUT OF THE IMPASSE
TOM PLATE WRITES — According to newspaper reports, on arrival in Washington Mr Qin Gang’s public tone seemed sort of chipper; and further, in the wake of his initial greet-and-meet with US officials, there surfaced simmering new communications between the US and China. Given the alarm with which many westerners…Full Article SINO-US RELATIONS: IS THE EUPHORIA OVER CHINA’S NEW WASHINGTON AMBASSADOR JUSTIFIED AMID THE DREARY DIPLOMATIC REALITIES?
TOM PLATE WRITES — The agony in Afghanistan makes for many sorrows. Beyond the scenes of chaos at Kabul airport is the unseen anguish of all those US veterans back home who are dealing with various psychological and physical traumas and are now especially unproud of their country; of families…Full Article AFGHANISTAN AND BEYOND: CHINA MUST LEARN FROM US HUBRIS AND BLUNDERS
TOM PLATE WRITES — In its quixotic quest for certainty about China – mortal threat or mere robust competitor? – the American consensus now claims to have taken the measure of China and is not in doubt. It would be better if it were. A fictive western mind may be creating…Full Article CHINA: BUT HOW CERTAIN CAN WE BE?
TOM PLATE WRITES — Maybe the United Nations – fumbling, hopelessly bureaucratic, partly-corrupt – is in fact beyond redemption. Just forget about it: Let it career down the slippery slope of mediocrity and geopolitical irrelevance and splash ignominiously into New York’s East River — like some waterside condo with a…Full Article UNITED NATIONS: PERHAPS CHINA, NOT THE U.S., CAN SAVE THE WANING ORGANIZATION
TOM PLATE WRITES — There are always concerns about Japan, with its background of not only brilliant accomplishments but also unforgettable aggressions; but now that Japan is in the foreground again, if with cheerless Olympics, historic debt and China rise, who can be sure what’s next? Recall that the geopolitically…Full Article JAPAN: WHY IT SHOULD PLACE PRIORITY ON MAKING FRIENDS AND MONEY
TOM PLATE WRITES — Given the relentless Western media verdict about “China’s increasing assertiveness,” it might seem surprising that across Asia doubts about America’s own continental conduct proceed apace. Yet this goes little reported back in the U.S. Nonetheless, within some government and policy circles in Indonesia, Japan and Singapore –…Full Article AMERICA’S KNEE-JERK REACTION TO CHINA: JUST SHOOT THE BAD GUY
TOM PLATE WRITES — A new report from a respected US think tank at least tries for a fair and sensible analysis of the China challenge. For this alone, given the almost rancid mood in the US about China these days, President Xi Jinping and his government are not going to…Full Article SINO-U.S. RELATIONS: WHY AMERICA CAN’T AFFORD TO OVERHYPE THE CHINA THREAT
TOM PLATE WRITES — We patriotic Americans usually call it Memorial Day weekend, but sometimes the barbecues and beer throw memory off base, as if the holiday on the last Monday of every May signifies no more than the winding down of a 72-hour party. On the Saturday of Memorial…Full Article US-CHINA RELATIONS: AN AMERICA ALL TOO EXPERIENCED IN WAR MUST TAKE STOCK
TOM PLATE WRITES — It was quite a good romp. There in square five was Elliott, who helped run the college student newspaper way back then, now a professional psychotherapist. A few zoom squares away was lifelong friend, author and noted screenwriter Aaron. Then there was John, zooming in to the…Full Article CHINA’S RISE: US MUST BE A BETTER VERSION OF ITSELF TO ACCOMMODATE THE RE-EMERGENCE OF A MAJOR POWER
TOM PLATE WRITES — Marvellously, sharp streaks of sunshine are starting to break through America’s Covid-19 cloud cover, but the fog over US foreign policy seems heavy. It involves India, China and Russia. Let’s start with India and employ the British poet W.H. Auden’s words – “the gates of hell are…Full Article US-CHINA RELATIONS: FOREIGN POLICY AIMED AT OBSTRUCTING CHINA WON’T SUCCEED
TOM PLATE WRITES — It is still true, even in this speed-freak era of AI and machine-learning, that international diplomacy needs governments to station quality representatives in foreign capitals, and for international organisations to listen and learn, soak up the ineffable atmosphere, and interact with real people, especially those with “issues”,…Full Article US-CHINA RELATIONS: A GOOD-VERSUS-EVIL WORLD VIEW DOES NO ONE ANY GOOD
TOM PLATE WRITES — Perhaps no gloomier assessment of the China-US relationship can be made than to note that, were it to sink yet another notch or two, there would be no relationship at all. Like a Japanese garden so minimalist that removing one stone might vitiate its existence, the…Full Article US-CHINA RELATIONS: GROWING PERIL OF WAR OVER TAIWAN WOULD BE FOOLISH AND COSTLY
TOM PLATE WRITES — The future is not always all that tough to predict: “Should both Pacific powers remain frozen in stereotype, high-level diplomacy may yield next to nothing, or worse”. That was my fearless view last month. It remains the view today in the aftermath of the Alaska summit where…Full Article ALASKA SUMMIT: US AND CHINA MUST RETHINK THEIR DIPLOMACY
TOM PLATE WRITES — Minari is both the name for a celery-like herbal plant and the title of a wonderful new Korean-American movie that is stealing people’s hearts and winning major recognition. The plant is also a symbolic plot point that is as rich in the movie as the real-life…Full Article KOREAN PENINSULA: KEY ROLE FOR AN OUTSIDE (LADY) MEDIATOR?
TOM PLATE WRITES — America must understand that China is different, emphasised the late Lee Kuan Yew when some 25 years ago I asked Singapore’s iconic modern founder whether my new newspaper column on Asia, then in the Los Angeles Times, might possibly do some good. His counsel was to…Full Article US-CHINA RELATIONS: COLD WAR CONTAINMENT OBSESSION MUST BE DITCHED