Subscribe to Inflection Points

Subscribe to Frederick Kempe’s weekly Inflection Points column, which focuses on the global challenges facing the United States and how to best address them.



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About Frederick Kempe

Fred Kempe is the president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council. Under his leadership since 2007, the Council has achieved historic, industry-leading growth in size and influence, expanding its work through regional centers spanning the globe and through centers focused on topics ranging from international security and energy to global trade and next generation mentorship. Before joining the Council, Kempe was a prize-winning editor and reporter at the Wall Street Journal for more than twenty-five years. In New York, he served as assistant managing editor, International, and columnist. Prior to that, he was the longest-serving editor and associate publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe, running the global Wall Street Journal’s editorial operations in Europe and the Middle East.

In 2002, The European Voice, a leading publication following EU affairs, selected Kempe as one of the fifty most influential Europeans, and as one of the four leading journalists in Europe. At the Wall Street Journal, he served as a roving correspondent based out of London; as a Vienna Bureau chief covering Eastern Europe and East-West Affairs; as chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, DC; and as the paper’s first Berlin Bureau chief following the unification of Germany and collapse of the Soviet Union.

As a reporter, he covered events including the rise of Solidarity in Poland and the growing Eastern European resistance to Soviet rule; the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia and his summit meetings with President Ronald Reagan; the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon in the 1980s; and the American invasion of Panama. He also covered the unification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet Communism.

He is the author of four books. The most recent, Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth, was a New York Times Best Seller and a National Best Seller. Published in 2011, it has subsequently been translated into thirteen different languages.

Kempe is a graduate of the University of Utah and has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a member of the International Fellows program in the School of International Affairs. He won the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s top alumni achievement award and the University of Utah’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

For his commitment to strengthening the transatlantic alliance, Kempe has been decorated by the Presidents of Poland and Germany and by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Content

Inflection Points

Dec 4, 2022

Autocratic setbacks offer Biden his ‘inflection point’ for democracies

By Frederick Kempe

This year has been a tough one for the world’s worst authoritarians: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

Oct 16, 2022

Wanted: Global leadership to meet this historic moment

By Frederick Kempe

There is growing consensus among global leaders regarding the gathering dangers and their historic stakes, but common action is falling far short of this generational challenge.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

Sep 18, 2022

As Putin escalates his war against Ukraine, the world faces a moment of maximum danger—and maximum opportunity

By Frederick Kempe

The United States and its allies must openly discuss the dangers Putin’s war poses to any sovereign country.

Conflict Eastern Europe

Inflection Points

Jul 2, 2022

Special dispatch from Madrid: At NATO’s historic summit, good scores points on evil, but it’s not enough to stop Putin’s Ukraine war

By Frederick Kempe

Despite the successes of the NATO summit, Russia's missile strike on a Ukrainian shopping mall put the brutality of Putin's war into stark relief.

Conflict Eastern Europe

Inflection Points

Jun 26, 2022

Europe’s ‘rewiring’ is crucial in the face of grinding inflation and Putin’s war

By Frederick Kempe

The lessons from two devastating World Wars and a Cold War are that staying unified is a prerequisite for victory and that appeasing despots is always self-defeating.

Conflict Eastern Europe

Inflection Points

Jun 19, 2022

President Xi’s damage control focuses on Europe and the Chinese economy

By Frederick Kempe

As he grapples with the consequences of his own missteps, China's Xi Jinping is in damage control mode ahead of the Chinese Communist Party Congress in November.

China Conflict
Aerial image of the destroyed Kharkiv National Stadium

Inflection Points

Jun 5, 2022

It’s time to show Putin a dead end in Ukraine, not an off-ramp

By Frederick Kempe

The West needs to pursue a Ukrainian victory, and offering Putin an off-ramp instead would be a big mistake.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

May 29, 2022

Davos Dispatch: Why I’m going ‘long’ on optimism despite global anxiety

By Frederick Kempe

There would be costs to us all if we don't leverage this moment for a common cause.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

May 15, 2022

Five ways Ukraine’s partners can defeat Putin and shape the future

By Frederick Kempe

It's time for Kyiv and its allies to seize the momentum. Here's how they can do it.

Conflict International Norms

Inflection Points

Apr 24, 2022

Biden should deploy ‘great arsenal of democracy’ to defend Ukraine

By Frederick Kempe

Today, FDR's message to President Joe Biden would be: Do more now to stop Vladimir Putin.

Conflict International Norms