Episode 68: U.S.-German Economic Relations and a Changing Global Landscape

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.



Karl Haeusgen


Karl Haeusgen has been President of the VDMA since October 2020. He studied business administration in Switzerland at the University of St. Gallen. After his studies he worked for MAHO AG, then in Asia for the textile machinery manufacturer Barmag AG. Subsequently, he was responsible for HAWE Hydraulik's foreign sales and other areas within the company.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In 1996, Haeusgen became Managing Director of HAWE Hydraulik GmbH & Co. KG and, after the company's transformation into an SE in 2008, Spokesman of the Board of Management. Today he is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of HAWE Hydraulik SE, Munich.

​​​​​​​Haeusgen has been involved in the VDMA for many years. From 2008 to 2014 he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the VDMA Bavaria. In 2013 he was elected Vice President of the VDMA. In October 2020 Karl Haeusgen was elected as VDMA President by the VDMA General Assembly.

Peter S. Rashish

Vice President; Director, Geoeconomics Program

Peter S. Rashish, who counts over 25 years of experience counseling corporations, think tanks, foundations, and international organizations on transatlantic trade and economic strategy, is Vice President and Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AICGS. He also writes The Wider Atlantic blog.

Mr. Rashish has served as Vice President for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he spearheaded the Chamber’s advocacy ahead of the launch of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Previously, Mr. Rashish was a Senior Advisor for Europe at McLarty Associates, and has held positions as Executive Vice President of the European Institute, on the Paris-based staff of the International Energy Agency, and as a consultant to the World Bank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Mr. Rashish has testified on the euro zone and U.S.-European economic relations before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and has advised three U.S. presidential campaigns. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jean Monnet Institute in Paris and a Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre in Brussels. His commentaries have been published in The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest, and he has appeared on PBS, CNBC, CNN, and NPR.

He earned a BA from Harvard College and an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University. He speaks French, German, Italian, and Spanish.



On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AGI President Jeff Rathke and Peter Rashish, Director of the AGI Geoeconomics Program, discuss the state of German-American economic relations and the countries’ shared global challenges with Karl Haeusgen, president of the VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association). Has the trade and economic relationship between Germany and the United States changed amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing strategic competition with China? With the rise of concepts like “friendshoring,” what should transatlantic policy makers focus on as they navigate the nexus of economic and national security policy? How should Germany approach the energy transition with industrial and social impacts in mind? And is the rules-based international trading system or even globalization itself still adequate?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Karl Haeusgen, President, VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association)
Peter Rashish, AGI Senior Fellow; Director, Geoeconomics Program

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