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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

Sat, Feb 22, 2020

Global investors underestimate downside economic risks

Global investors are being overly complacent about downside economic risks, aggravated by but not limited to the growing impact of coronavirus. They are underestimating the forces that are changing the very nature of the world economy – a growing degree of “deglobalization” in the face of US-Chinese decoupling. At the same time, they are overestimating the power of monetary and fiscal stimulus to keep the global economic party going.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Economy & Business

Tue, Feb 18, 2020

Munich special edition: Is it time to worry about Germany?

It’s easy to understand why Germans defend the status quo, which has served them well over the past few decades. What’s unclear is how Germany will react with so many certainties shaken: the shape of the EU, relations with the U.S., the stability of German politics, and the durability of economic growth.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

European Union Germany

Sun, Feb 9, 2020

Trump and two “black swans”

Coronavirus and the shooting down of the Iranian passenger jet are “black swan” events that expose the flaws of authoritarian governments in dealing with unanticipated crises. They also provide President Trump unforeseen opportunities to advance the two most significant foreign policy issues of his administration – changing China’s unfair trading practices and pushing back against Iran’s malign behavior.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China Iran

Sat, Feb 1, 2020

The growing, global impact of Coronavirus

It’s already clear that the coronavirus impact, though too early to fully measure, will be significant on Chinese and global supply chains, markets and economies; on the legitimacy and the trust enjoyed by the Chinese Communist Party with its own people; and on Asian regional politics and US-Chinese relations, where trust already was in such short supply.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China

Sun, Jan 26, 2020

Davos dispatch: Has China won?

2020 could mark a significant year for the emerging, generational clash between democratic and authoritarian capitalism.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China

Sun, Jan 19, 2020

From Versailles to Davos: Confronting historic perils

What world leaders coming to Davos know is that history’s course is up for grabs again. Major power competition is heating up, inflamed by a systemic contest between democratic and state capitalism. The world is awash with uncertainty about how new technologies and rising environmental threats could remake our world. The international order of rules and institutions that the U.S. and its partners constructed after World War II is faltering and ill-equipped to navigate these challenges.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

International Norms International Organizations

Sat, Jan 11, 2020

Abu Dhabi dispatch: The Soleimani earthquake and coming aftershocks

The conventional wisdom – underpinned by visuals from Iran – is that the US drone strike reinforced hardliners and shifted the internal Iranian dynamics from protests against the regime to angry demonstrations against the United States. Far harder to measure is the longer-term impact of Soleimani’s absence on the country’s revolutionary effectiveness and structure.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Conflict Iran

Sun, Dec 22, 2019

Six reasons for an optimistic 2020

Tis the season to be gloomy, when the world’s prognosticators provide their competing lists of the coming year’s top risks. And there are plenty of candidates, from Iran to North Korea, and from American elections to global warming. But acting on the advice of Winston Churchill, here are six sources of optimism for 2020.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Climate Change & Climate Action Conflict

Sat, Dec 14, 2019

Boris Johnson’s next act: Saving the UK

Prime Minister Johnson – who famously craves both public attention and a place in history – won the former and a shot at the latter through a British election victory this week that was the most convincing conservative victory since Margaret Thatcher in 1987. To save the United Kingdom itself, however, he must reverse course, or at least amend direction, on much of what he has said and done to win in the first place.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

Europe & Eurasia European Union
NATO leaders pose for a group photo

Sat, Dec 7, 2019

NATO’s China challenge

China has emerged as the most formidable challenge that has ever faced NATO.

Inflection Points by Frederick Kempe

China National Security