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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

Inflection Points

May 2, 2021

Here’s why China has gone on the offensive against Biden

By Frederick Kempe

The Chinese are more ready to push back against real and imagined slights, even as they escalate warnings and military activities around Taiwan. The question is how Biden will respond.

China Human Rights

Inflection Points

Apr 25, 2021

Without a trade strategy, Biden can’t win the contest with China

By Frederick Kempe

While President Xi Jinping’s China accelerates his efforts to negotiate multilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements around the world, both Republicans and Democrats in the United States have grown allergic to such arrangements.

China Economy & Business

Inflection Points

Apr 18, 2021

Why growing Chinese-Russian common cause poses Biden’s nightmare

By Frederick Kempe

This past week, Russia and China simultaneously escalated their separate military activities and threats to the sovereignty of Ukraine and Taiwan respectively. This unfolding great power drama couldn’t come at a worse time for the Biden administration. Yet that is probably the point for Putin and Xi, as they look to gain advantage before Biden can secure surer footing through policy reviews and by staffing up key leadership positions.

China Crisis Management

Inflection Points

Apr 11, 2021

Biden’s start reflects audacious domestic and global ambitions

By Frederick Kempe

Biden’s boldness in his first one hundred days can be measured most graphically by the numbers: the four trillion dollars and counting that he hopes to generate to finance an American pandemic rebound, a surge in US jobs and growth, and a mountain of national infrastructure investments.

China Economy & Business

Inflection Points

Mar 21, 2021

Boris Johnson transforms ‘Global Britain’ slogan into an inspiring strategic plan

By Frederick Kempe

Has British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally found his country the global role that has eluded it since it lost its empire? Or is the country's newly unveiled strategy an insufficient cover for the historic Brexit blunder that will forever stain his legacy?

Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Inflection Points

Mar 14, 2021

The China-Russia moonshot is one more reason for Biden to rethink his Putin strategy

By Frederick Kempe

Moscow sees its space future with China and not the United States, further underscoring its growing strategic alignment with Beijing. The Biden administration must reflect on how the latest Sino-Russian collaboration should be factored into its emerging approach to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Arms Control Russia

Inflection Points

Mar 7, 2021

Who will organize the world? That’s what’s at stake in the Biden-Xi contest.

By Frederick Kempe

If Biden’s vision is for the United States to create a band of reinvigorated democratic sisters and brothers, inspired by the country’s revitalization, Xi’s vision is for a world where each country’s political system, culture, and society are its own business. Will either view come out on top?

China International Norms

Inflection Points

Feb 28, 2021

Why the US can’t afford to fall behind in the global digital currency race

By Frederick Kempe

The Federal Reserve worries about being too hasty in introducing a digital dollar, given the stakes as the world’s reserve currency. The greater geopolitical danger, however, is how quickly the Fed is falling behind.

China Digital Currencies

Inflection Points

Feb 21, 2021

Biden’s ‘inflection point’ for democracies poses historic challenge for the US and allies

By Frederick Kempe

The Biden administration will need to develop a far more creative, intensive, and collaborative give-and-take approach to its Asian and European allies than perhaps ever before. Galvanizing international common cause has seldom been this important, but it also perhaps has never been this difficult.

China Crisis Management

Inflection Points

Feb 7, 2021

Why ‘The Longer Telegram’ triggered such a fierce, global China debate

By Frederick Kempe

The 26,000-word paper has served as a sort of Rorschach test for the expert community on China. The reactions have ranged between critiques from those who found the paper’s prescriptions too provocative, to praise from those who lauded its ground-breaking contributions.

China Politics & Diplomacy