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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.


Inflection Points Today

Apr 18, 2024

China and ‘the decade of living dangerously’

By Frederick Kempe

Despite recent US-China meetings, nothing has changed in terms of Chinese strategic intentions toward Taiwan, Ambassador Kevin Rudd recently argued.

China Politics & Diplomacy

Inflection Points Today

Apr 15, 2024

Iran and the de-escalation myth

By Frederick Kempe

It won’t be de-escalation that will save lives after Iran’s unprecedented weekend attack, but a more determined and unmistakable deterrence.

Conflict Iran

Inflection Points Today

Apr 12, 2024

IMF managing director: ‘Think of the unthinkable’

By Frederick Kempe

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva shared why there are plenty of things to worry about in the global economy.

Economy & Business International Financial Institutions

Inflection Points Today

Apr 10, 2024

Why attention must refocus on Iran

By Frederick Kempe

The most effective way to address Iran’s regional ambitions is to return as quickly as possible to the path of normalization between Israel and modernizing Arab states.

Crisis Management Defense Policy

Inflection Points Today

Apr 8, 2024

The Biden administration is sounding the alarm about Chinese support for Russia

By Frederick Kempe

US officials hope publicly pushing back on China’s support for Russia’s invasion will cause Beijing to reconsider its aid to Moscow.

China Economic Sanctions

Inflection Points Today

Apr 4, 2024

Fighting history’s ‘blind tides’

By Frederick Kempe

On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, heed the wise words of President Harry S. Truman. The risks of inaction are greater than those of action.

Europe & Eurasia NATO

Inflection Points Today

Mar 29, 2024

Today’s biggest news is a blank space

By Frederick Kempe

I spent a quarter of a century working for the Wall Street Journal, much of it reporting from the front lines of freedom, writes Fred Kempe. Everything I learned tells me this: Forgetting Evan would be as short-sighted as abandoning Ukraine.

Disinformation Europe & Eurasia

Inflection Points Today

Mar 20, 2024

Break up TikTok, arm Ukraine

By Frederick Kempe

The United States and its allies need to address both Russia’s military threats and Chinese influence operations.

China Cybersecurity

Inflection Points Today

Feb 27, 2024

The ‘Voice of Poland’ appeals to Americans on Ukraine: ‘Now is the moment to act’

By Frederick Kempe

Having grown up in a Poland under Soviet communist rule, Sikorski sees the battle as one against a new array of autocrats.

Conflict Defense Industry

Inflection Points Today

Feb 5, 2024

The Ukraine imperative for global security

By Frederick Kempe

Real success in Ukraine can only come if US leaders across ideological lines remind Americans of history’s enduring lesson: dithering before despots can only produce disaster.

Conflict Eastern Europe