Frederick Kempe

  • Dutch Prime Minister: Europe Should Embrace Trump’s Multilateral Criticisms as Opportunity for Reform

    While many European leaders have pushed back against US President Donald J. Trump’s criticism of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), and even the European Union itself, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants his colleagues to look at Trump’s rhetoric as an opportunity. “We have to make use of Trump’s criticism of these organizations to start to improve them. It is a much more constructive [approach],” he advised.


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  • Fighting the Wrong War

    If ever there was a “wrong war at the wrong time,” the transatlantic trade conflict that’s boiling this summer defines it. 

    President Trump’s own National Security Strategy describes the primary US challenge to be major power competition with authoritarian China and Russia, yet the world’s leading democracies instead could be locked in a series of morale-sapping, growth-slowing and politically polarizing skirmishes.


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  • Special Edition: Saving Democracy

    This week’s mini-drama over President Trump’s Fourth of July speech, with all its military accompaniment, shouldn’t distract anyone from the far more significant story of global democratic decline on this 243rd anniversary of American Independence.
     
    Dangers are accelerating to the democratic ideals that the American Revolution inspired. If no unanticipated shock disrupts current trajectories – say a democratic uprising in China, a Russian regime change or, still significant, a Venezuelan dictator’s decline – autocratic powers will surpass democracies in their economic size and influence within the coming decade. 

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  • Special G20 Edition: Historic Test for a World Adrift

    The G20 this weekend faces its biggest collective challenge since the group of world leaders first met in November 2008 in the jaws of the financial crisis. A toxic trifecta of growing political instability, escalating trade tensions and slowing global growth would be challenge enough, but the perils don’t stop there.

    Beyond that, the 19 leaders of the world’s largest economies and the European Union gather as history’s tectonic plates shift underneath them. How the G20 plays out in its group setting – and perhaps more importantly in the sideline meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping – will shed light on whether today’s leaders are up to the challenge of navigating those unsettling, interlocking shifts.


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  • Putin Muscles into Africa

    Russian leader Vladimir Putin recently bought himself into an African country for a relative pittance, working through Yevgeny Prigozhin, his favorite contractor for such special projects, which have ranged from tipping US elections to saving Syria’s dictator.
     
    With that partner, he won an insider’s influence over the strategically placed Central African Republic (CAR) and priority access to its oil, diamonds, gold and uranium resources. At least that’s how one US government official, with years of experience tracking such matters, explains this bargain basement price of geopolitical cunning.

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  • Trump's Risky Trade Game

    The effectiveness of President Donald Trump’s unprecedented weaponization of tariffs in addressing non-trade issues is facing its most significant tests yet in Mexico and China.
     
    In the case of Mexico, he had threatened new 5% tariffs on Mexican goods – which were to be imposed as early as Monday. The aim was to force the Mexican government to stem the flood of undocumented migrants across US borders.

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  • Special Edition: Xi and Putin's Budding Bromance

    It’s time to start worrying more about what could become the most profound geopolitical shift of the post-Cold War years. China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are deepening their two countries’ strategic alignment even as long-time democratic allies across the Atlantic grow more distant.

    Some are going so far as to call it an autocratic alliance. Though it hasn’t been (and likely won’t be) sanctified by treaty, the Trump administration’s escalated pressures on Beijing and continued sanctions on Russia have helped drive the two sides more closely together than at any point since the 1950s.


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  • Europe’s Choice, History’s Challenge

    The best Europe in history is facing some of its greatest challenges ever. They will test the sustainability, effectiveness and relevance of the European Union and its related institutions that helped end centuries of conflict.

    Despite all the focus on this week’s European parliamentary elections – the most closely watched and most widely reported in their four-decade run – this vote shouldn’t distract anyone from the more existential questions facing Europe. 


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  • Trump as Juggler-in-Chief

    The Trump administration is engaged in a global juggling act involving so many strategically significant balls that it would confound the capabilities of the most skilled circus performer.


    President Trump’s allies praise him for his willingness to take on issues long neglected by US policy makers: confronting China’s unfair trade practices, taking on Iran’s malign regional behavior, working to replace Venezuela’s dictator with democracy, and deploying carrots and sticks to denuclearize North Korea, to name just a few.


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  • Ending US-China Illusions

    This is the week that financial markets should abandon any remaining illusion that U.S.-China trade talks would be a time-constrained, tradable event that ultimately would result in a deal reassuring investors. Near dead is the notion that both sides would inevitably compromise because they so badly need an agreement for their own political and economic purposes. 

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