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 | 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.

8 Sep 2020 - 2:08AM

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
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.

25 Aug 2020 - 2:03AM

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?
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.

11 Aug 2020 - 3:21AM

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
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.

28 Jul 2020 - 5:32AM

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’
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.

14 Jul 2020 - 2:39AM

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
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.

30 Jun 2020 - 9:57AM

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
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.

16 Jun 2020 - 9:41AM

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
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.

3 Jun 2020 - 9:21AM

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
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.

19 May 2020 - 3:14AM

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’
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.

5 May 2020 - 3:02AM

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
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.

22 Apr 2020 - 4:27PM

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
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.

7 Apr 2020 - 3:17AM

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
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.

24 Mar 2020 - 5:56AM

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
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.

10 Mar 2020 - 5:42AM

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?
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.

25 Feb 2020 - 10:51AM

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
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.

14 Feb 2020 - 4:40PM

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?
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.

17 Feb 2020 - 2:10PM

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
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’.

14 Jan 2020 - 5:27AM

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?
Opinion | From Donald Trump curbing his Twitter use to Xi Jinping retiring, here’s what won’t happen in 2020 – but probably should

While it’s very unlikely that the world will make substantial progress on climate change or come to complete agreement on geopolitical issues, some simpler developments are also unlikely to come to pass.

31 Dec 2019 - 11:00AM

While it’s very unlikely that the world will make substantial progress on climate change or come to complete agreement on geopolitical issues, some simpler developments are also unlikely to come to pass.

From Donald Trump curbing his Twitter use to Xi Jinping retiring, here’s what won’t happen in 2020 – but probably should
Opinion | The trade war, North Korea’s nuclear provocations and Hong Kong’s protests all show what happens when ‘principle’ triumphs over reason

Unyielding principles are often indistinguishable from stubbornness, especially when it results in diplomatic disaster. All sides in the North Korean nuclear talks, the US-China rivalry and Hong Kong have shown unwillingness to compromise.

17 Dec 2019 - 11:29AM

Unyielding principles are often indistinguishable from stubbornness, especially when it results in diplomatic disaster. All sides in the North Korean nuclear talks, the US-China rivalry and Hong Kong have shown unwillingness to compromise.

The trade war, North Korea’s nuclear provocations and Hong Kong’s protests all show what happens when ‘principle’ triumphs over reason
Opinion | China could take a leaf out of US containment policy and keep its own hard communist ideology in check

Diplomat George Kennan’s containment policy outlived its usefulness to the US after the cold war but it might have some relevance for China today, especially in its dealings with Hong Kong.

3 Dec 2019 - 4:51AM

Diplomat George Kennan’s containment policy outlived its usefulness to the US after the cold war but it might have some relevance for China today, especially in its dealings with Hong Kong.

China could take a leaf out of US containment policy and keep its own hard communist ideology in check
Opinion | To end the Hong Kong protests, the Chinese leadership must blink first and offer to negotiate

By directing the Hong Kong government to offer to start unconditional negotiations, China’s leaders can show the world a more nuanced face amid the trade war.

19 Nov 2019 - 7:29AM

By directing the Hong Kong government to offer to start unconditional negotiations, China’s leaders can show the world a more nuanced face amid the trade war.

To end the Hong Kong protests, the Chinese leadership must blink first and offer to negotiate
Opinion | America is living under the threat of a Mao-like figure – Donald Trump

What’s the truth at the heart of the endless impeachment drama in Washington? While Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been compared to Mao Zedong, it is surely US President Donald Trump who outdoes Xi with his paranoia and constant disruption.

5 Nov 2019 - 5:24AM

What’s the truth at the heart of the endless impeachment drama in Washington? While Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been compared to Mao Zedong, it is surely US President Donald Trump who outdoes Xi with his paranoia and constant disruption.

America is living under the threat of a Mao-like figure – Donald Trump
Opinion | The protests can end constructively for Hong Kong and Beijing, but neither side is showing the courage required

Hong Kong’s protesters should stop the violence and all sides should start planning for a more representative government. And both Hongkongers and Americans should forget about US involvement, which can only hold the democracy movement back.

22 Oct 2019 - 6:03AM

Hong Kong’s protesters should stop the violence and all sides should start planning for a more representative government. And both Hongkongers and Americans should forget about US involvement, which can only hold the democracy movement back.

The protests can end constructively for Hong Kong and Beijing, but neither side is showing the courage required
Opinion | From US-China trade war to ‘foreign interference’, the nation-state system is ailing and needs a reset

Donald Trump’s call for China’s assistance to investigate a political rival, at a point when bilateral relations are at a critically low ebb, raises alarm bells, and more questions about the sustainability of the Westphalian nation-state order.

8 Oct 2019 - 3:24AM

Donald Trump’s call for China’s assistance to investigate a political rival, at a point when bilateral relations are at a critically low ebb, raises alarm bells, and more questions about the sustainability of the Westphalian nation-state order.

From US-China trade war to ‘foreign interference’, the nation-state system is ailing and needs a reset
Opinion | If China believes the US has grown soft, its military leaders should read James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis’ book

Trump’s former defence secretary has co-authored a narrative that, in detailing the philosophy and capabilities of the US marines, reveals a willingness within the military establishment to take the fight to the enemy. China should take note.

24 Sep 2019 - 1:25PM

Trump’s former defence secretary has co-authored a narrative that, in detailing the philosophy and capabilities of the US marines, reveals a willingness within the military establishment to take the fight to the enemy. China should take note.

If China believes the US has grown soft, its military leaders should read James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis’ book
Opinion | Why China and the US need to worry about the war on think tanks and free thought

Xi Jinping’s discomfort with independent think tanks is matched by the US distrust of all things Chinese. Policy intellectuals are increasingly needed in a complex world, and it is the high responsibility of Beijing and Washington to keep the conversation flowing.

10 Sep 2019 - 3:30AM

Xi Jinping’s discomfort with independent think tanks is matched by the US distrust of all things Chinese. Policy intellectuals are increasingly needed in a complex world, and it is the high responsibility of Beijing and Washington to keep the conversation flowing.

Why China and the US need to worry about the war on think tanks and free thought
Opinion | Hong Kong offers China a way out of Trump’s trade war: cool the protests crisis to ease the tariffs heat

As hawkish advisers whip up the China hysteria, Trump unleashes yet more bellicose trade action, spelling potential disaster for the world economy. It is Xi Jinping’s moment to make the first move towards reconciliation.

27 Aug 2019 - 3:23AM

As hawkish advisers whip up the China hysteria, Trump unleashes yet more bellicose trade action, spelling potential disaster for the world economy. It is Xi Jinping’s moment to make the first move towards reconciliation.

Hong Kong offers China a way out of Trump’s trade war: cool the protests crisis to ease the tariffs heat
Opinion | Washington should stop shooting its mouth off about Hong Kong, when even Donald Trump is being sensible

The chaos in Hong Kong comes as the US-China relationship wanders into dangerous territory. It is now believed in Washington that Beijing can do no right because the Communist Party can only do wrong.

13 Aug 2019 - 3:21AM

The chaos in Hong Kong comes as the US-China relationship wanders into dangerous territory. It is now believed in Washington that Beijing can do no right because the Communist Party can only do wrong.

Washington should stop shooting its mouth off about Hong Kong, when even Donald Trump is being sensible
Opinion | Can Australia overcome its China fears to manage its balancing act in the western Pacific?

Asian neighbours admire Australia and are grateful for its aid over the years, but they also get turned off by its smug sense of superiority. Some don’t tremble at the mere mention of China and even admire the rise of a Chinese/Asian superpower.

30 Jul 2019 - 4:38AM

Asian neighbours admire Australia and are grateful for its aid over the years, but they also get turned off by its smug sense of superiority. Some don’t tremble at the mere mention of China and even admire the rise of a Chinese/Asian superpower.

Can Australia overcome its China fears to manage its balancing act in the western Pacific?