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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.

Content

Sun, Oct 18, 2020

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

The underlying story of this week’s IMF and World Bank meetings, held virtually from Washington, is that democratic capitalism is suffering dangerous new blows and autocratic capitalism is enjoying new gains. 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

Sun, Sep 27, 2020

Election poses historic test for what Reagan called the US ‘miracle’

One can hardly imagine a more important year for the American democratic process to run smoothly, with China leading an authoritarian swing as its economy emerges first from Covid-19′s economic and social hit.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Elections

Sun, Sep 20, 2020

UAE, Bahrain deals with Israel offer the Mideast a historic chance for positive change—if the region will build upon it

These deals present the region its best opportunity perhaps ever to bury its bloody, self-defeating past and embrace moderation and modernity. Yet that will only be true if the parties can work with international partners to protect the so-called Abraham Accords Peace Agreement from extremist assault and from Israeli hardliners bent on territorial expansion.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Conflict International Norms

Sun, Sep 13, 2020

Biden eyes 2021 summit as chance to rally world democracies

The Biden team grasps the significance of the moment. They began by dissecting how much the context had changed since former President Barack Obama left office. Global democracies were on their back foot and China was not only rising but growing more assertive and authoritarian. Transnational threats had escalated, from climate to organized crime, but the rules and institutions to deal with them had weakened.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Elections

Sun, Aug 2, 2020

China focus might distract the U.S. from the possibility of a Putin surprise in Belarus and beyond

For all the legitimate focus on rising US-China tensions, this summer’s sleeper surprise for the West is more likely to emerge from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The question is: will it grow from Russia’s strength, its weakness or some combination of the two?

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Belarus Russia

Sun, Jul 26, 2020

U.S.-China confrontation is like nothing we’ve seen before

The escalating confrontation between the United States and China is so perilous because the world’s two largest economies – and the two defining countries of their times – are navigating uncharted terrain. It isn’t a struggle over “world domination,” which no country has ever achieved, but it could have significant impact on “world determination.”

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Conflict

Sun, Jul 19, 2020

China has already decided Cold War II has begun – now it’s escalating

Trump administration officials believe their increasing efforts to counter a more assertive China could prove to be their most significant foreign policy legacy. That will only be true if they can combine it with a strategy that can sustain the effort in concert with allies and far beyond the limits of any single U.S. administration.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Political Reform

Sun, Jul 12, 2020

Germany and Merkel have a shot at making both European and transatlantic history

History rarely provides major countries and their leaders the enormity of the second chance that Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel now enjoy as they begin their six-month European Union presidency.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China European Union

Sat, Jun 27, 2020

China’s Xi casts his vote in U.S. elections. (Hint: it’s not for Trump or Biden)

China is creating new facts on the ground, expanding its influence across the world – from the Balkans to the South China Sea – as the United States wrestles with the myriad distractions of coronavirus, recession, racial upheavals and presidential elections. It will take a far more focused and consistent Washington, acting with greater cohesion alongside its global allies, to deter any such aspirations.

Elections 2020 by Frederick Kempe

China Europe & Eurasia