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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

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

Sun, Jun 14, 2020

The perils of transatlantic decoupling and how to stop it

It’s time to take urgent measures to head off the danger of “transatlantic decoupling,” a strategic shift that would put at risk more than seven decades of gains in democracy, open markets and individual rights. Two world wars have taught us where transatlantic neglect can lead, while the history of the past 75 years underscores the value of common cause. We forget those lessons at our peril.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Europe & Eurasia Nationalism

Sun, Jun 7, 2020

Why U.S. global leadership rests on how it manages anti-racism upheavals

U.S. credibility as a global leader depends on how it manages anti-racism upheavals. Americans have a shot at proving Martin Luther King right that the long arc of the moral universe once again “bends toward justice.”

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Inclusive Growth Political Reform

Sat, May 23, 2020

Special China edition: Hong Kong is just one of President Xi’s many high-stakes bets

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s apparent rolling of the dice on Hong Kong is just one of his many calculated wagers aimed at greater domestic control, regional influence and global gain. Here are just three potential elements for a new American strategy equal to our times.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Politics & Diplomacy

Sat, May 16, 2020

Here’s how to use tech to turn COVID-19 tragedy into “a global immune system”

It’s not too late for the United States – driven by the cutting-edge capabilities of its technology companies – to leverage the coronavirus tragedy into a historic opportunity. It would be built around scientifically novel but increasingly available means to prevent future pandemics through constructing a “global immune system.” It may seem hopelessly naïve to expect an even more ambitious degree of global collaboration now, but history’s lesson is that the alternatives are horrifying.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Coronavirus

Sun, May 10, 2020

Here’s why the EU project, age 70, must win the pandemic test

On this week’s 70th anniversary of the European Union’s beginnings with the Schuman Declaration, the project that was launched to end centuries of war is in an existential struggle with a pathogen that knows no borders. It’s however not too late for the EU to demonstrate its resilience and relevance at this time of crisis. On this 70th anniversary, it’s also worth remembering the common global and transatlantic interest in European stability and success.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Coronavirus European Union