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In the Middle of China's Future

Book Description

The best journalism tackles the really tough questions! Was the U.S. asleep when China was waking up? Or was its engagement too timid? Will Washington find conflict with Beijing unavoidable? Or has the U.S. policy of engagement and accommodation been the best way to go? Award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist Tom Plate reviews his own two-decade record of newspaper commentary on China in a searching re-evaluation of where he was right and where he went wrong — and where the U.S.-China rivalry and relationship may be headed.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Special Appreciation
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword by Kishore Mahbubani
  7. Introduction
    1. • Confessions from an American media man
    2. • The judgment of two newspapers
    3. • A visit from two VIPs from Beijing
    4. • A Chinese intelligence agent rings me up
    5. • The CIA lady has a drink with the columnist
    6. • From Long Island to the Long March
  8. The Basic Theme of the Book
    1. Question 1: How will China behave?
    2. Question 2: How will the United States behave?
  9. Part One: The Setup — Some Major Themes
    1. 01 1999 • China Decides to Join the World and the world will never be the same
    2. 02 1999 • Toward a Neo-Cold War with China? President Clinton caves to Congressional pressure
    3. 03 2002 • China Takes the Middle Road But Bush people take a turn toward a historic error
    4. 04 2006 • The Mystery of China’s Buildup Maybe the U.S.’ Pacific buildup is partly a cause?
    5. 05 2008 • China as a Role Model for Others? You’d have to be kidding — even the Chinese agree!
    6. 06 2008 • An Olympian Lift not Just for China Now the sense is that Asia isn’t just playing games
    7. 07 2008 • A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed Could China perhaps fill the bill for the U.S?
    8. 08 2009 • Want China to Break up? Think Again! World needs U.S and China working well together
    9. 09 2010 • Interesting Times on the High Seas Roiling waters in South and East China Seas
    10. 10 2013 • Crouching Diplomacy, Flying Words Thoughtless language can push in a wrong direction
    11. 11 2014 • A Conspicuous Tendency Hope for the best, but risk ignoring the worst?
  10. Part Two: Back Story — Iconic Hong Kong
    1. 12 1995 • Will Beijing Swallow Hong Kong? Out on a limb, all alone, I say no — foolish me, eh?
    2. 13 1996 • No Way the Press Can Stay Free, Right? But perhaps Beijing would be crazy to snuff it out?
    3. 14 1997 • Bipolar About Hong Kong? Beijing’s too smart to let thugs run this show
    4. 15 1998 • Don’t Mess with Hong Kong! Don’t you love the way they punched them out?
    5. 16 1999 • Such a Rush to Declare a Failure But ‘one country, two systems’ hangs on anyhow
    6. 17 2000 • Scared Ladies Heading for Singapore Oops, cancel that — staying in Hong Kong!
    7. 18 2003 • A Player without Enough Moves? A tough job even for a Bill Clinton!
    8. 19 2005 • Hong Kong Media Proceed Apace Just don’t say ‘boo’ about Taiwan, I mean Taipei!
  11. Part Three: Some Characters in the Cast
    1. Characters American
    2. 20 1996 • Two Ways of Looking at China Does one good cop and one bad cop = policy?
    3. 21 1997 • Send Congress to ‘China College’ Ambassador to Beijing wants to school our politicians
    4. 22 2000 • Know Your Mainland Customer! Murdoch caters to China by customizing his product
    5. 23 2001 • Hawks Play a High-Risk Game Meet a major-league Bush neo-cold warrior
    6. 24 2003 • No Way to Treat a First Lady Clinton book reveals serious China weak spot
    7. 25 2005 • Giving China the Red Hook Powerful U.S. senator flexes some muscle
    8. 26 2014 • The Smart Lady Looks a Winner Impressive ‘people’ diplomacy by Michelle Obama
    9. And Now … Some Chinese Characters
    10. 27 1997 • The Slyest Fox in Shanghai Wang Daohan, more grandfather than godfather
    11. 28 1998 • Now — A New Slyest Fox in Shanghai As sharp and grumpy as an American mayor!
    12. 29 2000 • Keeping the Nation’s Mind Open Ideas and the Internet are not the enemies
    13. 30 2000 • Sense and Sensibility About Taipei Leave it to the businessmen to work the politicians
    14. 31 2002 • Read All About it in China Daily North Korea should take out a subscription
    15. 32 2004 • He Knew what he was Talking About Taiwan invasion scenario not so unlikely?
    16. 33 2013 • A Strong-Minded Tutor on China Even Deng listened to this Confucian gentleman
  12. Part Four: The Plot Thickens — Summits
    1. 34 1996 • Why Clinton Should Go to Beijing We pitch the idea that it’d be good for re-election!
    2. 35 1997 • Now China’s Boss Goes for the Summit But the worry is that too little will come of it
    3. 36 1997 • A Summit of Frustration? Pessimism that just won’t go away
    4. 37 1998 • Don’t Hesitate — Just Go! Politics almost pulls down good international relations
    5. 38 1999 • Now China’s Number 2 is on his Way! And so here I go, worrying again…
    6. 39 1999 • And what a Big Mess it Was! China premier’s trip was almost his last…
  13. Part Five: War, Spies and Soldiers — Plot Point Complications
    1. 40 1996 • An Old Soldier with a Lot on his Mind Gen. Haig always worried about China relations
    2. 41 1997 • Dark Nights of the Pessimists No one wants war with China, right????
    3. 42 1998 • Admiral Hopes for Calm Waters Pacific Command has a better feel than Washington
    4. 43 1998 • Treason Probe — or Witch Hunt? Perhaps the Grand Jury could just plead insanity
    5. 44 1999 • Heading Toward a Breakup Stupid spying report may blow the roof off
    6. 45 1999 • Fly by Night Chinese Spies? Keep a level head over engagement with China
    7. 46 1999 • But when People Actually Read it… Report was ‘exercise in amateur-hour paranoia’
    8. 47 2002 • Regarding Taiwan — Don’t Say a Thing! Hard for Americans to mind their own business
    9. 48 2005 • Soldier Sees China for what it is Maybe Colin Powell would have made a great president
    10. 49 2007 • Scaremongering as Usual This time it’s product safety … a fair question, but…
  14. Part Six: Back Story 2 — Hollywood Issues
    1. 50 1996 • Was This a Mickey Mouse Move? The Disney dustup signals a long road ahead
    2. 51 2007 • Director: No Munich Appeasement Spielberg takes an unusual stand
    3. 52 2011 • China’s ‘Bruce Lee’ Syndrome Nationalistic pose makes for a difficult role
    4. 53 2011 • Li Na Gets a Starring Role Beijing might be wise to clone it
  15. Part Seven: How will it End? — The Resolution
    1. 54 1999 • Hawk Plus Dove Makes Flighty Policy But a little of this and a little of that won’t add up to much
    2. 55 2000 • Remaining Its Own Worst Enemy Some say trouble is unavoidable, Beijing’s hopeless
    3. 56 2001 • We Just Keep Going with Engagement It’s okay, nothing else needed to keep China happy
    4. 57 2001 • Global Containment of the U.S. A disturbing case of mistaken enmity?
    5. 58 2008 • Relax, U.S. Policy is Basically Working Polls show Americans and Chinese at peace
    6. 59 2008 • No Worries, China will Self-Destruct Growing laundry list for Beijing
    7. 60 2013 • Now is the Time … If Ever There Was A view of the future that won’t kill
  16. Conclusion in Search of a Happy Ending
  17. Afterword My ‘Ten Commandments’ for Reporting in Asia
  18. A Note About the Columns
  19. Giving Thanks
  20. Works Consulted and Recommended
  21. Index
  22. About the Author