Tom Plate

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de abril de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

If you wanted to make a huge point that would explode inside the mind and indeed soul of your reader, would you do a kind of Beethoven, or a kind of literary Mozart?

Come make the decision to come right at the theme and hit you over the head with it; or have it sneak up on you quietly, logically, inexorably.

In the invaluable sections about China in his new book, Henry Kissinger goes for the Mozart. He wants you to accept what he believes is the 21st reality of China in its relationship with the United States, but he wishes to reason with you before bringing in the brass and the timpani.…  Seguir leyendo »

Congratulations and best wishes from all over the globe have been flying into Jakarta to Gov. Joko Widodo.

Because he’s moving on: In October he leaves that job to assume the presidency of the world’s fourth most populous nation. Not bad for a former furniture salesman!

And not bad for Indonesia! Whether or not “Jokowi” turns out to be a transformational leader, this may well be the country’s time in history to begin to emerge as a major global player.

After an arduous campaign against a tough, determined and extremely well-financed opponent, this personally modest but overtly reformist overnight political icon won by a margin of more than six percentage points.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since almost no one is coming to the defense of U.S. President Barack Obama, whose opinion poll numbers continue to slide, why don’t I give it my best effort? After all, back in 2002, before the actual invasion of Iraq, the then-senator from Illinois and this American journalist were among the relatively few lonely Americans to oppose it. Now it looks as if the president’s dim view of this unnecessary war hasn’t changed, and neither has mine. In fact, the president’s consistency of vision and decision-making integrity should be applauded.

Obama didn’t get America into this mess, and it is he who courageously proposed to get us out of it.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Ukraine Isn’t Armageddon” was the bold banner headline splashed over the most incisive journalism I have read on Vladimir Putin and the Crimea crisis. It led the April edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, the sharp monthly out of Paris.

You won’t find anything like this analysis in the mostly war-baiting U.S. media. Being left-leaning, the Paris paper was not remotely defending “Czar” Putin. And being French, Le Monde Diplomatique was determined to be (well, you know!) contrarian.

But in this instance, the French paper was persuasive. “Media treatment of recent events in Ukraine,” read the analysis by Olivier Zajec of France’s Institut de Strategie Comparee, “confirms that some in the West see international crises as Armageddons, conflicts between good and evil where the meaning of history is enacted, rather than as signs of differences of interest and perception between parties open to reason.”

In the juvenile Manichaean dialectic found in the main media outlets Americans read, see or listen to, Russia is the bad guy in the black hat and the West is the good guy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Have I been wrong all? Some critics suggest my newspaper columns since 1995 on the politics and economics of the Mainland have been — oh — overly sympathetic toward China.

I just don’t know. But no one can afford to be complacent. And so the worry popped up again, for several reasons. One was as I was leaving Walt Disney Concert Hall recently after a scintillating Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Yuja Wang, on whom many of us classical-music fans have a bit of a crush.

Born in China and, in her most formative years, trained there, this diminutive superstar with the “flying fingers” and a delightfully glam wardrobe reminds us anew of the great treasures that can come from the Mainland.…  Seguir leyendo »

A country of beauty is in danger of turning into a beast. The Kingdom of Thailand, the land of the smiling people, the gorgeous countryside and a storied history as the once-upon-a-time Siam, now has a severe case of the political uglies. This constitutional democracy, anchored by a long-running monarchy, is in danger of heading down a fascist path.

For America, the proper question is what, if any, is our place and role in the unfolding tragedy — what can we appropriately do to help?

To be sure, it would be illegitimate for the U.S. government to intrude in any way into the politics of Thailand.…  Seguir leyendo »