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Tom Plate

Tom Plate, a veteran American columnist and career journalist, is the Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Affairs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His many books include the “Giants of Asia” series, of which book four, “Conversations with Ban Ki-Moon: The View from the Top,” is the latest.

For Tom Plate's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Nov 22, 2011

Guess who's suddenly inviting Uncle Sam to dinner?

Real-life diplomacy reveals, as Lord Palmerston, twice British prime minister (1855-8, 1859-65), famously put it: "We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." Over the decades ...

Nov 7, 2011

Asian leader receives coveted American award

They honored the controversial, though increasingly appreciated, Asian statesman Lee Kuan Yew at the historic Ford Theater in Washington recently, and I wish I had been there. Exceptional leaders are hard to find anywhere on the globe, including Asia. Until his recent retirement, this tough-as-nails ...

Sep 19, 2011

'Our prosperity is not a threat to our neighbors'

Modern-day China still seems to search for a clear-headed sense of its true self and its proper place in the 21st-century sun. Where and how this otherwise predictable resource-seeking superpower will fit into the scheme of things on this troubled planet is the 1.3 billion ...

Aug 17, 2011

Rising superpower floats an aircraft carrier

China's new (and first) aircraft carrier isn't fully operational yet. But whatever its ultimate naval potency, we know that it does at least float! It's currently in a mainland dock for further dressing up and hosting of crew training before setting sail. We recall that ...

Jul 16, 2011

No 'one size fits all' for democracy

"Political man" is a complicated species. Cultural conditions and history differ widely. Humility in the interpretation and prediction of human nature is the wisest bet. The evolving "Arab Spring," as the media term it, is viewed through Western eyes as if the transformation of Ali ...

Jun 22, 2011

Kissinger analysis key to understanding China

It is very tempting to proclaim "On China" as the most important new nonfiction book of 2011. But that it may well be. Several reasons compel this judgment. The first is that this extraordinarily clear-headed analytical study has just one central focus: China. It does not ...

Jun 10, 2011

Round two for a U.N. workaholic

What's surprising about the probable confirmation of incumbent United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for a second five-year term is not its near-certainty. It is the virtual lack of controversy surrounding it. If you judged the former South Korean foreign minister's first term solely ...

May 25, 2011

Risky business, IMF style

We need to have a clear understanding about what is happening with the International Monetary Fund. Do not for a minute believe the current scandal is just one of those more or less happening things. It may not be the total end of the ...

May 13, 2011

Whirlwind shakes out Singapore minister

It may be quintessentially American to believe that elections are good things and their absence inherently bad — in theory. In reality, everyone knows that elections sometimes seem more trouble than they are worth and can produce unwanted results. This is what happened ...

May 7, 2011

Hoping for a return to normal temperatures

Just when you begin to worry that maybe the United States cannot do anything right, this happens. And suddenly things seem just a little better — and the barometric pressure in American a little bit lighter. This is to say that the ...