Episode 56: War in Ukraine: How are the United States and its NATO Allies Responding?

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

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.

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jrathke@aicgs.org

Julianne Smith

U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO

Ambassador Julianne Smith assumed her position as the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO in November 2021. Prior to her current position, she served as a Senior Advisor to Secretary Blinken at the Department of State.

Previously, she served as the Director of the Asia and Geopolitics Programs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

From 2014 – 2018, she served as the Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). From 2012-2013, she served as the Acting National Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States. Before her post at the White House, she served for three years as the Principal Director for European and NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. In January 2012, she was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Prior to her government service, Ambassador Smith held a variety of positions
at research institutions including the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the German Marshall Fund, the American Academy in Berlin, and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. She has written extensively on transatlantic relations and European security.

Ms. Smith is a recipient of the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship at the Bosch Academy in Berlin and the Fredin Memorial Scholarship for study at the Sorbonne in Paris. A native of Michigan, she received her B.A. from Xavier University and her M.A. from American University. She spent a year learning German at the University of Munich. In 2017, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


A Conversation with Ambassador Julianne Smith, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO

Russia’s war in Ukraine has entered a new phase, after the Ukrainian forces’ spirited and effective resistance forced Russia to redefine its focus, unleashing this week concentrated attacks in the east and south of Ukraine. Throughout the course of the conflict, the response of NATO and its member states has adapted, including the provision of increasingly sophisticated weaponry to support Ukraine’s efforts to resist and repel Russian aggression.

On this episode of The Zeitgeist Podcast, AICGS President Jeff Rathke welcomes Ambassador Julianne Smith, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, as they discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine and the NATO alliance’s evolving strategy to respond to the biggest security crisis in Europe in over fifty years. What is the current situation, and how does the United States assess Ukraine’s capacity to prevail? What made rapid NATO responses and fast delivery of military and humanitarian assistance possible? How ambitious is the scope of U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine? What to make of Russia’s veiled threats that it might use nuclear weapons?


Host

Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS

Guest

Julianne Smith, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO

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