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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:

Apr 22, 2011

Latest word from Mahathir

Before the prime ministry of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, not that many people had ever heard of Malaysia, outside of adjacent Singapore, which shared a common border as well as an intense mutual antipathy that entertained the rest of Southeast Asia for decades. But by the ...

Apr 17, 2011

U.S. need more advice from a good friend

Know thy enemy? That's a good idea, especially for us Americans when we set out to police the world. Another good idea is to know who our real friends are. Confusion, in this age of a so-called "clash of civilizations" - where the enemy ...

Mar 21, 2011

U.S. gesture would reduce risks posed by weak Kan government

LOS ANGELES — It was a perfect (if quiet) storm in the tense triangular relationship among Beijing, Tokyo and Washington, but with all the noise coming from North Africa and the Middle East, hardly anyone noticed three developments. The first one involved China. President Barack ...

Feb 2, 2011

Beijing should take a leaf out of Li Na's book

LOS ANGELES — A metaphor for our dramatic world geopolitical change occurred in Melbourne at the prestigious Australian Open. There, even as time-honored warriors Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal were eliminated, a Chinese woman slammed her way into history. The relentless Li Na became ...

Jan 9, 2011

A unifying method to Kim Jong Il's 'genius'

LOS ANGELES — You have to be dumber than a brick to believe that the North Korea problem can be solved by anything other than diplomacy and negotiation. Even the Macho Man of South Korea seems to have been hit with a bout of ...

Dec 26, 2010

Growing a world-class university in Arabia

DUBAI — From the Malay Peninsula to the Arabian Peninsula, it is the wise ruler who knows two of the most basic rules of modern economic development. One is that you won't get much done over time unless you greatly invest in education. The other ...

Nov 24, 2010

Always expect the unexpected in politics

LOS ANGELES — Sometimes truly strange things happen in life. For those of us on America's West Coast, who would have thought that Jerry Brown would become governor of California again? His first time out as our chief state executive (in his 30s, and ...

Nov 7, 2010

The life and times of an American 'mentor'

LOS ANGELES — As far as I know, Nebraska-born Theodore "Ted" Sorensen, who died last week at 82, disagreed with me only twice. He was right both times. The disagreements were memorable, for in my mind they illuminated why the influence of John F. Kennedy's ...

Oct 22, 2010

Are China and Japan on a collision course?

LOS ANGELES — The people of China and Japan deserve better leadership at the top than they have been getting. But better leadership is not immediately in prospect for either ancient nation. That means relations between the two giant economies will probably get worse, ...

Aug 22, 2010

Flying the humanitarian flag among Muslims

NEW YORK — What's the one major issue the West absolutely and totally must get right in the years ahead? If the obvious answer is not peaceful international relations with an increasingly assertive China, then it has to be the West's ever-more complicated relationship ...