Episode 19: Sending the Right Signals: China, Foreign Policy, Politics

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AGI

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.



Michael G. Link

Member of the Bundestag

Michael G. Link is a Member of the Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party. He currently serves on the Committee on European Affairs and on the Budget Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs.

After completing military service in the 34th Tank Battalion of the German Federal Armed Forces, he studied Russian, French, political science, public law, and European political history at the University of Augsburg, the University of Lausanne, and Heidelberg University. He was elected to the Bundestag in 2005. In 2012, he became the Minister of State for European Affairs and First Deputy Foreign Minister at the Federal Foreign Office. He left both this role and his position as a member of parliament in 2013. Beginning in 2014, he served as director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Rights at the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a position he held until being re-elected to the Bundestag in 2017.

Few topics have dominated the German-American discourse lately more than China and the role of Huawei in 5G communications. Germans have become increasingly wary of Chinese interference, and are seeing a need to think and work across party lines to prevent Huawei from having the ability to provide sensitive information to Beijing. One solution is to consider working across the Atlantic to develop a joint alternative to Huawei’s 5G technology. Technology issues also cross over to foreign policy issues. How are European foreign policy initiatives developing? Should Germany be more active in shaping policies together with France and other key European partners?

On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AGI’s Jeff Rathke talks with Michael G. Link, Member of the Bundestag from the Liberal party and member of the Bundestag’s Committee on European Affairs.  In addition to sharing his take on China and European foreign policy, Mr. Link also addresses political dynamics in his party, particularly in the wake of the upheaval in Thuringia, and answers the question: where do things stand in the FDP now?

Episode 18: Hamburg as Barometer: What’s Happening in German Politics


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Michael G. Link, Member of the Bundestag (FDP)

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.