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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

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

Inflection Points

Apr 3, 2022

Dispatch from Dubai: The world isn’t ready for this new world order

By Frederick Kempe

To shape the future world order, the United States and Europe first need to reverse the trajectory of Western and democratic decline in Ukraine.

Conflict European Union

Inflection Points

Mar 27, 2022

By doubling down on Putin, Xi is gambling his own power

By Frederick Kempe

If Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II produces Putin’s military withdrawal, failure, or political ouster, it has all the ingredients to pose the biggest threat yet to Xi’s leadership.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

Mar 13, 2022

The Western response to Putin’s war has been remarkable. But it’s not enough.

By Frederick Kempe

Vladimir Putin will continue to escalate if more isn't done to stop him.

Conflict Crisis Management

Inflection Points

Feb 27, 2022

Ukraine has finally prompted the West to shift course on Putin

By Frederick Kempe

The Zelenskyy delegation’s chance to succeed in talks at the Belarus border with a Russian delegation would be far greater if Putin were confident that the West has Ukraine’s back.

Conflict Crisis Management

Inflection Points

Feb 20, 2022

Special dispatch from Munich: Putin provokes dread and resolve

By Frederick Kempe

In every crisis lies opportunity, but it’s anyone’s bet how deep the crisis Putin unleashes will be, or how lasting the Western response.

Conflict Crisis Management

Inflection Points

Feb 6, 2022

The world’s top two authoritarians have teamed up. The US should be on alert.

By Frederick Kempe

It would be a profound mistake to see the Ukraine crisis in isolation at a time when Xi and Putin have provided its disturbing context.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

Jan 23, 2022

Putin is threatening not just Ukraine but post-Cold War principles. And the stakes are generational.

By Frederick Kempe

Unless Biden can shift the tide, Putin will continue his long campaign to reverse the post-Cold War principles under which countries in the world navigate the future together.

Conflict Crisis Management

Inflection Points

Jan 9, 2022

Can the US avoid both appeasement and war? This week’s Russia talks will be revealing.

By Frederick Kempe

By this week’s end, the United States and its allies likely will know whether Vladimir Putin is willing to negotiate or whether he’s determined to escalate.

Conflict Europe & Eurasia