Episode 52: A Turning Point in Germany’s Policy toward Russia?

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.



Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger

Non-Resident Senior Fellow

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger is non-Resident Senior Fellow at AICGS.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine to redraw the post-Cold-War order in Europe. Russia’s aggression has drawn global condemnation and prompted Western governments to impose more severe economic sanctions shortly after those already announced in the aftermath of Russia’s recognition of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a halt to certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and many in Germany are contemplating the country’s approach to managing relationship with Russia in light of Putin’s determination to upend Europe’s security architecture by force.

On this episode of The Zeitgeist, recorded on February 23, AGI President Jeff Rathke and AGI non-Resident Senior Fellow Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger discuss the Russia-Ukraine crisis and its potential impacts on Germany and German foreign policy. How is Germany’s approach to the Russia-Ukraine crisis developing? How is the German view on Russia changing as a result of the situation in Ukraine? What is the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Germany’s response to the crisis? Will the Russian aggression lead to a fundamental shift in the SPD’s view on Russia? Is German foreign policy at an inflection point?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, AGI Non-Resident Senior Fellow

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