Episode 04: One of the Largest Deals Ever Made: Talking Trump, China, and Trade
President of AICGS
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.
Senior Fellow; 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 a Senior Fellow 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 for a strategic trade agreement between the United States and the European Union—later officially launched as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership—and developed new engagements in the continent’s emerging markets.
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 has been a member of the faculty at the Salzburg Global Seminar and a speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and the G20 Japan Think Tank Summit. 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.
Executive Director, The Aspen Institute Germany
Stormy-Annika Mildner is the executive director at the Aspen Institute Germany and a Geoeconomics Non-Resident Senior Fellow at AICGS. She was Sherpa of the Business 20 (B20), the official Engagement Partner of the German G20 Presidency and Head of the External Economic Policy Department at the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
On December 1, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met during the G-20 summit in Argentina and agreed, it seems, to put the economic disputes on ice. No raising of U.S. tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent, in return for a Chinese commitment to buy an unspecified amount of U.S. products; an agreement to start talks on China’s intellectual property, technology transfer, and cyber policies.
How can Washington address the challenges from the Chinese state-capitalist system? As Peter Rashish put it, a bilateral approach won’t be enough for the U.S. to induce Beijing to change. That will only happen if the White House works with the European Union, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and other like-minded countries to build an enduring common front.
In this episode of The Zeitgeist, Jeff Rathke and Peter Rashish talk with one of the foremost German experts on the transatlantic trade and economic relationship, Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner of the Federation of German Industries. They dive into the German and European views of the international trade issues that confront us, what the U.S. and European common interests are with regard to China, and what we can and should be doing together.
Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS
Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of External Economic Policy, Federation of German Industries
Peter Rashish, Senior Fellow and Director of the Geoeconomics Program, AICGS
Support for this episode is provided in part by the Steven Muller New Initiatives Fund.