Commentary: Tough Love: Just What Asia Needs

Participants knew the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Kuala Lumpur would be tense, given the stresses of Asia's crisis and the turmoil in Malaysia, this year's host. But no one quite expected U.S. Vice-President Al Gore to lob a hand grenade into the proceedings. At a banquet on Nov. 15, Gore lauded the "brave people of Malaysia" in their struggle for reform. It was a direct slap at long-serving Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who recently sacked his reform-minded deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, and put him on trial. Gore's speech came perilously close to calling for Mahathir's overthrow.

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