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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

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

Inflection Points

Dec 19, 2021

Next year’s global challenges are the most daunting in decades. Biden must prepare for them.

By Frederick Kempe

It may be the United States, more than any other actor, whose actions and inactions will drive the plot.

Conflict Nuclear Nonproliferation

Inflection Points

Nov 21, 2021

With the US in ‘strategic contraction,’ allies take a new approach to partnership

By Frederick Kempe

What our partners see now is a less externally confident, more internally focused United States guided by a sober calculation of its leverage and resources, burdened by public weariness with the cost of international leadership and hobbled by domestic political polarization. 

Afghanistan India

Inflection Points

Nov 7, 2021

Special Report: Three lessons from Riyadh and Glasgow, as climate change collides with an energy shock

By Frederick Kempe

The world is experiencing more energy transition than revolution, climate adaptation is critical, and politics will indelibly shape the energy future.

Climate Change & Climate Action Energy & Environment

Inflection Points

Oct 17, 2021

We’re at the perilous beginning of an uncertain era in US-China relations

By Frederick Kempe

The United States and China represent the most significant bilateral relationship in human history—and neither side is managing their rising tensions with adequate skill or durable strategy.

China Economy & Business

Inflection Points

Oct 3, 2021

Biden should course-correct to embrace global economic, trade deals

By Frederick Kempe

By embracing its global partners economically, the Biden administration would make good on its “America is back” narrative.

Economy & Business Politics & Diplomacy

Inflection Points

Sep 19, 2021

Xi’s big bet helps explain the Australian submarine deal

By Frederick Kempe

It is only in the context of Xi’s increased repressions at home and expanded ambitions abroad that one can fully understand Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision

Australia China

Inflection Points

Aug 29, 2021

Biden can still salvage his legacy and US credibility. It won’t be easy.

By Frederick Kempe

Here's how President Joe Biden can correct course with allies and partners over Afghanistan—and beyond. 

Afghanistan Conflict

Inflection Points

Aug 22, 2021

Afghanistan threatens Biden’s shot at being a historic foreign-policy leader

By Frederick Kempe

At the end of the worst week of US President Joe Biden’s young presidency, this is the question he must urgently answer: Of all the problems that his Afghanistan troop withdrawal decision has generated, which is most significant?

Afghanistan Conflict

Inflection Points

Jul 11, 2021

Lessons from the Didi IPO ride: Xi faces a tradeoff between economic dynamism and authoritarian grip

By Frederick Kempe

This was a clarifying week for global investors—or for anyone concerned about authoritarian capitalism—of just how much the Chinese Communist Party would be willing to pay to ensure its dominance. The answer represents an immeasurable loss of economic dynamism.

China Economy & Business