Episode 70: Germany and Systemic Competition with China and Russia—A Conversation with Johannes Vogel

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.



Johannes Vogel

Deputy Chairman, FDP

Johannes Vogel is Deputy Chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the FDP’s Chief Whip in the German Bundestag.

On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AGI President Jeff Rathke sits down with Johannes Vogel, Deputy Chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the FDP’s Chief Whip in the German Bundestag, to discuss Germany’s policy toward China and Russia. Has Germany’s outlook of its relationship with China changed fundamentally, while Xi Jinping has secured an unprecedented third term as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government appears determined to expand China’s political and economic influence globally? As Chancellor Olaf Scholz prepares to embark on his first trip to Beijing, what are the most important issues for German policy? How can Germany address the risk of asymmetric economic dependency and national security while preserving its international economic engagement and maintaining its free market principles? And is the change in Berlin’s Russia policy in response to Putin’s invasion in Ukraine here to stay?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Johannes Vogel, Deputy Chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP)

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