Former White House adviser Karen Donfried on U.S. ties with Europe
On a visit to London last December, Ukraine’s new economy minister, Aivaras Abromavicius, joined a growing chorus of pro-reform commentators when he asked if Ukraine should frame its urgent request for aid as a modern-day Marshall Plan. The question is now posed to Karen Donfried, the first female president of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) — the permanent memorial to the postwar US initiative to aid Europe — as she begins a tour of her early 1900s brick townhouse in Washington DC.
Donfried, 51, took on the new role last April after a stint in charge of European affairs at the White House National Security Council. She now finds herself tasked with the GMF mission of promoting transatlantic ties amid growing tensions about how to respond to the Ukraine conflict.
It’s true that Ukraine faces daunting economic challenges, not to mention the challenge of war,” she says, “but I think the Ukraine situation is different [to that] in Europe after the second world war . . . today you have international financial institutions created to deal with these crises.”