Episode 77: Zeitenwende Anniversary

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.

On February 27, 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made an historic speech to the German Bundestag, declaring a historic turning point (Zeitenwende) for Germany’s security and defense policy following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine days before. One year on, AGI President Jeff Rathke and AGI Non-Resident Senior Fellow Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger take stock of Germany’s support for Ukraine, the progress of re-investment in the armed forces, and Berlin’s partnership with its key allies in Europe and NATO. Has the German government delivered the promised fundamental change in in the country’s security posture toward Russia? What obstacles has Germany faced in its efforts to recapitalize the Bundeswehr? Is it fair to criticize Berlin for its reluctance to provide weapons systems to Ukraine? What does Scholz’s insistence on close coordination with the United States mean for the transatlantic relationship and NATO? Are German political parties both within the government coalition and in opposition on track to meet the challenges of the Zeitenwende?


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.