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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

Jul 2, 2022

Special dispatch from Madrid: At NATO’s historic summit, good scores points on evil, but it’s not enough to stop Putin’s Ukraine war

By Frederick Kempe

Despite the successes of the NATO summit, Russia's missile strike on a Ukrainian shopping mall put the brutality of Putin's war into stark relief.

Conflict Eastern Europe

Inflection Points

Jun 26, 2022

Europe’s ‘rewiring’ is crucial in the face of grinding inflation and Putin’s war

By Frederick Kempe

The lessons from two devastating World Wars and a Cold War are that staying unified is a prerequisite for victory and that appeasing despots is always self-defeating.

Conflict Eastern Europe

Inflection Points

Jun 19, 2022

President Xi’s damage control focuses on Europe and the Chinese economy

By Frederick Kempe

As he grapples with the consequences of his own missteps, China's Xi Jinping is in damage control mode ahead of the Chinese Communist Party Congress in November.

China Conflict
Aerial image of the destroyed Kharkiv National Stadium

Inflection Points

Jun 5, 2022

It’s time to show Putin a dead end in Ukraine, not an off-ramp

By Frederick Kempe

The West needs to pursue a Ukrainian victory, and offering Putin an off-ramp instead would be a big mistake.

China Conflict

Inflection Points

May 29, 2022

Davos Dispatch: Why I’m going ‘long’ on optimism despite global anxiety

By Frederick Kempe

There would be costs to us all if we don't leverage this moment for a common cause.

China Conflict

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