Tom Plate

Tom Plate

Tom Plate is a university professor and a veteran columnist focused on Asia and America. This Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies at Loyola Marymount University has orchestrated live interactive seminars with major universities across Asia, as part of the LMU’s path-finding Asia Media International Centre. He is also the author of 13 books, including the bestsellers “Confessions of an American Media Man” (2007), four volumes in the “Giants of Asia” series, and three In the 'Tom Plate on Asia' book series. He is vice-president of the Pacific Century Institute, in Los Angeles.

Latest from Tom Plate

Opinion | US must ditch its Cold War containment obsession – China is not the Soviet Union

Instead of understanding Beijing on its own terms, the basis for peaceful coexistence, US officials are talking up a new cold war and risking conflict.

Instead of understanding Beijing on its own terms, the basis for peaceful coexistence, US officials are talking up a new cold war and risking conflict.

US must ditch its Cold War containment obsession – China is not the Soviet Union
23 Feb 2021 - 2:09AM
Opinion | China-US relations are too important to leave to Xi Jinping and Joe Biden

While high-level dialogue is critical, a breakthrough in cooperation on major issues – even climate change – is unlikely. It’s up to the rest of us to forge relations outside politics to create the momentum for peace.

While high-level dialogue is critical, a breakthrough in cooperation on major issues – even climate change – is unlikely. It’s up to the rest of us to forge relations outside politics to create the momentum for peace.

China-US relations are too important to leave to Xi Jinping and Joe Biden
18 Feb 2021 - 10:59AM
Opinion | Can Biden rein in America’s debilitating delusions of moral superiority?

The relaunch of an exceptional American democratic spirit cannot proceed apace without more self-reflection. Biden may be well-meaning, but the US must get under control the debilitating delusion that it is a nation of the highest virtue.

The relaunch of an exceptional American democratic spirit cannot proceed apace without more self-reflection. Biden may be well-meaning, but the US must get under control the debilitating delusion that it is a nation of the highest virtue.

Can Biden rein in America’s debilitating delusions of moral superiority?
18 Feb 2021 - 11:33AM
Opinion | US-China relations: Capitol chaos a chance for Beijing to show leadership and give peace a chance

China should make it known a fresh start with the Biden administration is its top foreign policy priority, tone down its rhetoric and take the lead at the United Nations to reform the Security Council in the spirit of global citizenship.

China should make it known a fresh start with the Biden administration is its top foreign policy priority, tone down its rhetoric and take the lead at the United Nations to reform the Security Council in the spirit of global citizenship.

US-China relations: Capitol chaos a chance for Beijing to show leadership and give peace a chance
12 Jan 2021 - 4:45AM
Opinion | Cold War-era spy novels have much to tell us about the US, China and the new year

John le Carré’s fiction, set during the Cold War, can easily be a platform for understanding the current frost between Beijing and Washington. Will the two sides understand that they are not that different, after all?

John le Carré’s fiction, set during the Cold War, can easily be a platform for understanding the current frost between Beijing and Washington. Will the two sides understand that they are not that different, after all?

Cold War-era spy novels have much to tell us about the US, China and the new year
29 Dec 2020 - 1:53AM
Opinion | It takes two to untangle the US-China knot. Will Biden and Xi succeed?

Back in 1998, China and the US were led by pragmatic, realistic leaders who were capable of patient diplomacy and adult give and take. While it is hard to imagine Xi and Biden getting along like Jiang and Clinton did, one can hope.

Back in 1998, China and the US were led by pragmatic, realistic leaders who were capable of patient diplomacy and adult give and take. While it is hard to imagine Xi and Biden getting along like Jiang and Clinton did, one can hope.

It takes two to untangle the US-China knot. Will Biden and Xi succeed?
15 Dec 2020 - 2:15AM
Opinion | US-China relations: Biden’s America must evolve beyond old ideas with bigger guns

Mutual demonisation has no place in China-US diplomacy and will produce nothing good. Patriotism without modulation on both sides could trigger a chain of events that eludes the control of their manipulators.

Mutual demonisation has no place in China-US diplomacy and will produce nothing good. Patriotism without modulation on both sides could trigger a chain of events that eludes the control of their manipulators.

US-China relations: Biden’s America must evolve beyond old ideas with bigger guns
1 Dec 2020 - 1:19AM
Opinion | US needs to start seeing China not as an enemy but a contributor to peace and prosperity

After decades of bad choices, if the US now concludes it has a China problem in Asia, it is in part of its own making. Now is the time for Biden to rebuild the State Department, make the right appointments, re-engage and reassess foreign policy.

After decades of bad choices, if the US now concludes it has a China problem in Asia, it is in part of its own making. Now is the time for Biden to rebuild the State Department, make the right appointments, re-engage and reassess foreign policy.

US needs to start seeing China not as an enemy but a contributor to peace and prosperity
17 Nov 2020 - 6:18AM
Opinion | US-China relations: A Biden presidency must start healing bilateral ties and alliances battered by Trump

Years of living outrageously under Trump have grated on almost everyone’s nerves as he has launched a losing trade war and blamed China for internal problems. Any president who cannot understand the importance of good China relations is not fit to lead.

Years of living outrageously under Trump have grated on almost everyone’s nerves as he has launched a losing trade war and blamed China for internal problems. Any president who cannot understand the importance of good China relations is not fit to lead.

US-China relations: A Biden presidency must start healing bilateral ties and alliances battered by Trump
3 Nov 2020 - 3:30AM
Opinion | Biden’s America must abandon Trump tactics and rethink US-China policy

The scourge of the pandemic alone requires considerable recalculation that a Biden administration must pursue, and Beijing must lend its support.

The scourge of the pandemic alone requires considerable recalculation that a Biden administration must pursue, and Beijing must lend its support.

Biden’s America must abandon Trump tactics and rethink US-China policy
20 Oct 2020 - 4:00AM
Opinion | US-China relations: mutual understanding is still possible despite the hostility

Getting it right between China and the United States means looking for new sources of insight, not pumping more steroids into old stereotypes. Despite the rapid downturn in relations, the payoff in rising above pre-existing notions could be priceless.

Getting it right between China and the United States means looking for new sources of insight, not pumping more steroids into old stereotypes. Despite the rapid downturn in relations, the payoff in rising above pre-existing notions could be priceless.

US-China relations: mutual understanding is still possible despite the hostility
6 Oct 2020 - 3:59AM
Opinion | Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death must inspire an era of ‘notorious renewal’ in the US

A nation bound by shame is in need of a new deal of access and opportunity that carries on the hope Ginsburg helped inspire.

A nation bound by shame is in need of a new deal of access and opportunity that carries on the hope Ginsburg helped inspire.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death must inspire an era of ‘notorious renewal’ in the US
22 Sep 2020 - 1:54AM
Opinion | China must avoid repeating Trump, US’ history of bellicose diplomacy

Xi Jinping has hailed China’s return to being a dominant military power. As China’s leaders swell with pride, though, they run the risk of failing to see themselves as others are starting to see them – as prideful and pushy.

Xi Jinping has hailed China’s return to being a dominant military power. As China’s leaders swell with pride, though, they run the risk of failing to see themselves as others are starting to see them – as prideful and pushy.

China must avoid repeating Trump, US’ history of bellicose diplomacy
8 Sep 2020 - 2:08AM
Opinion | How to teach China-US relations as tensions between the two superpowers soar?

Students – and the rest of the world – would appreciate a workable plan to escape the calamity of entrenched policy silos, where nation-states never rise above juggling their own interests.

Students – and the rest of the world – would appreciate a workable plan to escape the calamity of entrenched policy silos, where nation-states never rise above juggling their own interests.

How to teach China-US relations as tensions between the two superpowers soar?
25 Aug 2020 - 2:03AM
Opinion | US election: the world is waiting for Biden to beat Trump and change the course of US foreign policy

The two-act plot of November’s presidential election must play out before US foreign policy can reboot, leading to an enervating waiting game. The best that even thoughtful US observers can do is wait for whoever or whatever is to come.

The two-act plot of November’s presidential election must play out before US foreign policy can reboot, leading to an enervating waiting game. The best that even thoughtful US observers can do is wait for whoever or whatever is to come.

US election: the world is waiting for Biden to beat Trump and change the course of US foreign policy
17 Oct 2020 - 7:12AM
Opinion | US-China relations: Pompeo speech shows few new ideas towards the ‘evil empire’

US secretary of state’s recycling of Reagan-era phrase shows some ideas are too good to retire, especially in the absence of new ones. Neither China nor the US appear to care what anyone thinks, leading to a perfect storm of distrust and communication failures.

US secretary of state’s recycling of Reagan-era phrase shows some ideas are too good to retire, especially in the absence of new ones. Neither China nor the US appear to care what anyone thinks, leading to a perfect storm of distrust and communication failures.

US-China relations: Pompeo speech shows few new ideas towards the ‘evil empire’
28 Jul 2020 - 5:32AM
Opinion | With new student visa rule, Donald Trump is making America small again

International students at US universities are a core arsenal of American soft power. By closing its doors, the Trump administration undermines America’s stature as a responsible stakeholder in global affairs.

International students at US universities are a core arsenal of American soft power. By closing its doors, the Trump administration undermines America’s stature as a responsible stakeholder in global affairs.

With new student visa rule, Donald Trump is making America small again
14 Jul 2020 - 2:39AM
Opinion | National security law: Hong Kong’s young crusaders should stand down to fight another day

Political judgment takes time to mature. Up against the sledgehammer of a mandated national security law, the city’s pro-democracy protesters should avoid confrontation with Beijing to win themselves the time and space to grow up.

Political judgment takes time to mature. Up against the sledgehammer of a mandated national security law, the city’s pro-democracy protesters should avoid confrontation with Beijing to win themselves the time and space to grow up.

National security law: Hong Kong’s young crusaders should stand down to fight another day
30 Jun 2020 - 9:57AM
Opinion | Trump’s America and Xi’s China are dangerously stuck in a rut

Both Beijing and Washington are retreating to old patterns – of US-bashing or China-bashing. The two countries must move away from rivalry and understand their differences as problems that have solutions.

Both Beijing and Washington are retreating to old patterns – of US-bashing or China-bashing. The two countries must move away from rivalry and understand their differences as problems that have solutions.

Trump’s America and Xi’s China are dangerously stuck in a rut
16 Jun 2020 - 9:41AM
Opinion | Trump and the US should focus on George Floyd rather than Hong Kong and Tiananmen Square

American administrations have too often given in to the urge to stick their nose in other countries’ affairs without the intent or ability to follow through. The US would be better off dealing with its own inequality and inept governance than scolding Beijing over how it handles Hong Kong.

American administrations have too often given in to the urge to stick their nose in other countries’ affairs without the intent or ability to follow through. The US would be better off dealing with its own inequality and inept governance than scolding Beijing over how it handles Hong Kong.

Trump and the US should focus on George Floyd rather than Hong Kong and Tiananmen Square
3 Jun 2020 - 9:21AM
Opinion | Xi Jinping’s China needs a foreign policy worthy of the ‘Asian century’

Beijing should leave the painful past behind and rise above Western demonisation to seize China’s moment in history. A rethink of its aggressive foreign policy, over-the-top propaganda and tight grip on Hong Kong and Taiwan is in order.

Beijing should leave the painful past behind and rise above Western demonisation to seize China’s moment in history. A rethink of its aggressive foreign policy, over-the-top propaganda and tight grip on Hong Kong and Taiwan is in order.

Xi Jinping’s China needs a foreign policy worthy of the ‘Asian century’
19 May 2020 - 3:14AM
Opinion | With China and the US on the warpath, the world is heading for a fate worse than the coronavirus crisis, and that’s madness

Pointing the finger at China or anyone else misses the point: a pandemic takes widespread ineptitude across all ideologies to scale up to a murderous leviathan. Both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump could have dealt better with the crisis.

Pointing the finger at China or anyone else misses the point: a pandemic takes widespread ineptitude across all ideologies to scale up to a murderous leviathan. Both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump could have dealt better with the crisis.

With China and the US on the warpath, the world is heading for a fate worse than the coronavirus crisis, and that’s madness
5 May 2020 - 3:02AM
Opinion | Amid US hysteria over China’s rise, the world is in need of more voices of reason

Academic Kishore Mahbubani’s latest book again makes the case that the West should not try to stop the inevitable Chinese resurgence and should instead try to work with it. Conflict with China is a confrontation the West cannot afford to wage, or lose.

Academic Kishore Mahbubani’s latest book again makes the case that the West should not try to stop the inevitable Chinese resurgence and should instead try to work with it. Conflict with China is a confrontation the West cannot afford to wage, or lose.

Amid US hysteria over China’s rise, the world is in need of more voices of reason
22 Apr 2020 - 4:27PM
Opinion | Donald Trump may not be a coronavirus expert, but it doesn’t mean he’s completely wrong, or that science is always right

Between the self-certain scientists and the voluble president, who should take charge during the Covid-19 crisis? To give credit where it’s due, Donald Trump’s wish for an end to lockdown measures is politically sound.

Between the self-certain scientists and the voluble president, who should take charge during the Covid-19 crisis? To give credit where it’s due, Donald Trump’s wish for an end to lockdown measures is politically sound.

Donald Trump may not be a coronavirus expert, but it doesn’t mean he’s completely wrong, or that science is always right
7 Apr 2020 - 3:17AM
Opinion | How Donald Trump’s incompetence breeds coronavirus denial in the US

When students on spring break rebel against social distancing measures, it may be because the US administration does not inspire trust. Although Trump fancies himself a ‘wartime president’, he doesn’t quite understand the enemy he is up against.

When students on spring break rebel against social distancing measures, it may be because the US administration does not inspire trust. Although Trump fancies himself a ‘wartime president’, he doesn’t quite understand the enemy he is up against.

How Donald Trump’s incompetence breeds coronavirus denial in the US
24 Mar 2020 - 5:56AM
Opinion | Another Wuhan could emerge as the coronavirus travels the world. Are politicians, including Donald Trump, prepared?

The insights of quantum physics urge us to contemplate the unthinkable, and such out-of-the-box thinking is just what’s needed to get the epidemic under control. We had better trust science, rather than politics, to lead us out of the crisis.

The insights of quantum physics urge us to contemplate the unthinkable, and such out-of-the-box thinking is just what’s needed to get the epidemic under control. We had better trust science, rather than politics, to lead us out of the crisis.

Another Wuhan could emerge as the coronavirus travels the world. Are politicians, including Donald Trump, prepared?
10 Mar 2020 - 5:42AM
Opinion | Why the world must avoid returning to ‘normal’ if and when the coronavirus crisis winds down

The world must change in the aftermath of the epidemic. Might a new political psychology accommodate more serious science and less narrow-minded nationalism? Blaming China for the outbreak misses the point that nations are in this together.

The world must change in the aftermath of the epidemic. Might a new political psychology accommodate more serious science and less narrow-minded nationalism? Blaming China for the outbreak misses the point that nations are in this together.

Why the world must avoid returning to ‘normal’ if and when the coronavirus crisis winds down
25 Feb 2020 - 10:51AM
Opinion | While the coronavirus’ spread is blamed on communism, are Americans tracking the ills of their own political culture?

Following Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and in the run-up to the presidential election, the US seems set for an outbreak of rage and partisan politics. Americans must ensure the political virus of fascism remains contained.

Following Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and in the run-up to the presidential election, the US seems set for an outbreak of rage and partisan politics. Americans must ensure the political virus of fascism remains contained.

While the coronavirus’ spread is blamed on communism, are Americans tracking the ills of their own political culture?
14 Feb 2020 - 4:40PM
Opinion | As coronavirus spreads, anti-China sentiment must give way to a global effort to contain the disease

Xi Jinping has expanded the reach of the Communist Party and ignored Deng Xiaoping’s advice for China to lie low as it grows economically. Despite Western unease at China’s trajectory, the world must extend to the country the help it needs at this critical juncture.

Xi Jinping has expanded the reach of the Communist Party and ignored Deng Xiaoping’s advice for China to lie low as it grows economically. Despite Western unease at China’s trajectory, the world must extend to the country the help it needs at this critical juncture.

As coronavirus spreads, anti-China sentiment must give way to a global effort to contain the disease
17 Feb 2020 - 2:10PM
Opinion | The Doomsday Clock is ticking. Between Trump and Iran, how close is the world coming to nuclear war?

In the best-case scenario, Trump will be voted out of office this year. In the worst case, Trump’s America and eight other nuclear powers might bring the world to the brink of disaster. All it takes, as Iran has shown, is ‘human error’.

In the best-case scenario, Trump will be voted out of office this year. In the worst case, Trump’s America and eight other nuclear powers might bring the world to the brink of disaster. All it takes, as Iran has shown, is ‘human error’.

The Doomsday Clock is ticking. Between Trump and Iran, how close is the world coming to nuclear war?
14 Jan 2020 - 5:27AM