Episode 51: Why Does Russia Want to Roll Back Europe’s Political and Security Architecture?

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.



John Kornblum

AGI Trustee

John Kornblum is a senior counselor at the international law firm Noerr LLP and a former U.S. ambassador to Germany. He is a member of the AGI Board of Trustees.

On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AGI President Jeff Rathke and AGI Trustee Ambassador John Kornblum discuss the growing threat to European security and the post-Cold War security architecture resulting from Russia’s troop buildup on the Ukrainian border and Kremlin’s demand to turn back the European security clock to 1997. Ambassador Kornblum as a U.S. official worked on the Helsinki Final Act and held multiple crucial positions in America’s European policy, including as U.S. Ambassador to Germany (1997 – 2001) and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (1996-1997).

Following the end of the Cold War, was the task for the United States and its allies to create a new relationship with Russia, or to manage the tensions and rivalries across Europe? Does the current crisis stem from flaws in the post-Cold War security architecture, designed by the United States and its allies and agreed to by Russia? Should Ukraine be forced to accept neutrality in order to create a new equilibrium in Europe? Is Germany committed to imposing significant cost in the event of a Russia military invasion in Ukraine? And is the United States still essential to European stability?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


John Kornblum, AGI Trustee

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