Episode 72: Germany’s Foreign Policy Reorientation—A Zeitenwende Conversation with Roderich Kiesewetter MdB

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.



Roderich Kiesewetter

CDU member of the German Bundestag

Roderich Kiesewetter is since 2009 Member of the German Parliament (CDU) and former General Staff Officer of the Bundeswehr (Colonel GS, Federal Armed Forces). His professional career has involved various command and staff positions, including at the EU Council in Brussels, NATO HQ in Brussels and SHAPE, Mons, the German Federal Ministry of Defense, the position of battalion commander, and several operations abroad. From 2006 onwards he served as head of the Chief of Staff’s office (Executive Officer) at NATO Headquarters in Mons.

On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AGI President Jeff Rathke sits down with Roderich Kiesewetter, ranking member of the CDU/CSU faction in the Foreign Relations Committee of the German Bundestag, to discuss the ongoing changes to Germany’s foreign and security policy, nine months after German chancellor Olaf Sholz declared the Zeitenwende. What support has Germany provided Ukraine to resist against Russian aggression? How should Germany reconceptualize its role in a changing Europe? Are longstanding partnerships within Europe still working, such as the Franco-German or German-Polish relationships, or does Europe need different constellations? What are some of the necessary components for a comprehensive new German national security strategy? And what message should Germany send to China, especially regarding Taiwan?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Roderich Kiesewetter, CDU member of the German Bundestag

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