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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.

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.


Sun, Jan 17, 2021

Here’s how Trump’s parting acts have improved Biden’s shot at history

The past days’ events have greatly improved Biden’s chance of being the sort of transformative president who comes along only every generation or so.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Elections International Norms

Sun, Jan 10, 2021

Trump’s resignation would be the best path to US healing—and global effectiveness

As unlikely as it seems that Trump would step down, his resignation in the next week would serve him and the country best.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Elections International Norms

Sun, Dec 20, 2020

China’s Xi rushes to close EU investment deal ahead of Biden inauguration

President Xi isn’t willing to hit the pause button to provide President-elect Biden time and space to assemble his China team, reach out to allies, and frame his strategy. He won’t do so on trade and investment, nor will he do so in his efforts to crack down on political dissent at home.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China East Asia

Sun, Dec 13, 2020

Biden’s best chance for Mideast gains: go slow on Iran and build fast off the Abraham Accords

Imagine President-elect Biden standing before two doors that represent the Middle Eastern quandary he faces. One door is marked “Return to Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal.” The other is labeled “Build Upon Trump’s Abraham Accords.” As it is with most of these tales, there are perils in both paths.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Economy & Business Elections

Sun, Dec 6, 2020

Biden’s rare shot at a transformative presidency runs through Europe and China

Joe Biden has that rarest of opportunities that history provides: the chance to be a transformative foreign-policy president. That opening arises due to the urgent need to tackle COVID-19 and its global economic threats.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China European Union

Sun, Nov 22, 2020

Record Asian trade deal is ‘wake-up’ call for Biden about declining US global leadership

The Biden administration has made as one of its top priorities the reinvigoration of common cause alongside global partners and allies. Reversing current trends, however, needs to begin with an understanding of where US “no-shows” have been most significant.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

International Financial Institutions International Organizations

Sun, Nov 15, 2020

Trump poses enduring challenge for President-elect Biden

President Donald Trump’s continued refusal to concede the 2020 election poses a host of national security dangers. However, the most hazardous of them all won’t be found on the conventional list of threats that occupy Washington’s legion of foreign-policy experts.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Elections Politics & Diplomacy

Fri, Nov 6, 2020

Biden’s victory provides an ‘inflection point’ for American democracy

A Biden victory provides an opportunity for Americans to regain their appetite for compromise at home to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges and for international common cause to safeguard the gains in democracy and prosperity of the past seventy-five years.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Elections United States and Canada

Sun, Oct 18, 2020

Whoever wins the US elections will need to save democratic capitalism through ‘new Bretton Woods’

Whoever is elected on Nov. 3 will be saddled with the task of reversing the slide in public faith for democratic capitalism before it becomes irreversible, and addressing inequalities while at the same time not sacrificing capitalism’s irreplaceable engine of growth and innovation.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Economy & Business

Sun, Oct 4, 2020

How Beijing gains from Trump’s COVID struggles and US electoral dysfunctions

Chinese officials will embrace this period as additional, welcome “breathing space” to escalate their ongoing efforts across a range of fronts to build upon their momentum – from tightening party control over the Chinese private sector, to the accelerated development of a digital currency, to closing remaining technology gaps with the United States.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Elections
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