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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.


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

Sat, May 2, 2020

COVID-19 provides China a historic chance to tilt the world in its favor, but it may not last long

COVID-19 has provided a clarifying force revealing more clearly than ever before both the nature and relentlessness of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s ambition to place itself at the center of global power and influence. At the same time, the U.S. response to China has been inconsistent, lacking in long-term strategy and close coordination with allies.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Coronavirus

Sat, Apr 25, 2020

Here’s how the U.S. could lead energy rethink post-COVID-19

U.S. role as the world’s leading oil and gas producer doesn’t feel as empowering as it recently did, with oil prices heading into negative territory for the first time ever this week. Yet there is an opportunity in the oil industry’s unprecedented crisis – and in the further months of market volatility that will come with it. This period presents a chance for the United States to forge a better and more sustainable path to global energy leadership than can be found even within the vast riches of U.S. shale.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Energy Transitions International Markets

Sat, Apr 18, 2020

Here’s how the U.S. can win the post-COVID19 race to growth

The post-COVID19 race will be an epic contest among the world’s most significant economies, with generational and geopolitical consequences. Being first out the gate will be significant, and that is likely to be China. Yet history has taught the United States that it’s victory will be longest lasting if it is achieved alongside partners and allies.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Coronavirus

Sun, Apr 5, 2020

Trump lacks options in oil price war; Kissinger warns of “world on fire”

President Trump doesn’t have good options. He lacks easy leverage over the players, domestic and international, and he’s got even less control over the COVID —19 economic hit. In the end, it is more likely that a U.S. government bailout will save the industry, rather than a global market intervention.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Coronavirus Energy Markets & Governance

Sat, Mar 28, 2020

COVID—19’s next target: fragile states and emerging markets

Developed countries – even as they act to save themselves – must shift far greater public health and economic attention to fragile states and emerging markets, where the hit from the virus is likely to be far more devastating, destabilizing, and enduring.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Coronavirus Crisis Management

Sat, Mar 21, 2020

How the U.S. can avoid COVID-19’s geopolitical perils

We’re only in the opening scenes of this epic COVID-19 drama, which will continue without intermission. The Chinese rebound could prove to be a welcome twist in the plot. Imagine the far-happier ending, however, if the United States and its global allies manage to join forces globally even as they isolate socially.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Coronavirus

Sat, Mar 14, 2020

Why Trump should trigger NATO’s Article 5 vs. COVID-19

If NATO could bend Article 5 to combat a non-state terrorist actor striking the United States, why not also to combat COVID-19. Given current transatlantic divisions, there is far greater need now than after 9/11 for a symbolic gesture of unity.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Coronavirus European Union