Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is vice president and executive director of the Berlin office at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) where he oversees the organization’s activities in Germany. Prior to joining GMF, he served as an advisor to Joachim Gauck, the president of Germany. From 2013-17, he oversaw policy planning and speechwriting for the president.

Before joining the President’s staff in Berlin, Kleine-Brockhoff spent 12 years in Washington, DC, including a prior six-year stint at GMF where he led work about the implications of the European financial crisis. A member of GMF’s senior management team since 2007, Kleine-Brockhoff was responsible for strategic projects and, until 2011, oversaw GMF policy programs and globalization projects.

Before arriving at GMF, Kleine-Brockhoff served as the Washington bureau chief of DIE ZEIT, Germany’s intellectual weekly.

On September 23, 2019, he launched his book, "The World Needs the West – A Fresh Start for a Liberal Order."

Media Mentions

Putting yourself into such a dependency with your eyes open - that was not a side effect, that was the desired goal. The interdependence was politically desired: more gas from Russia was better than less gas; Russian investment in our storage facilities was good, not bad.
Translated from German
The critique comes from all sides: from inside the coalition, from the expert community, from public opinion left to right, from a significant swath of public opinion, and from most, but not all our allies.
This is all about investment in hardware, because we've been under-serving and under-equipping and underfunding everything that flies, swims and moves. I would say the 20% [benchmark] is probably a minimum.
Europe didn’t go wrong, Germany and France did. France and Germany tend to speak for the rest of Europe. But these miss-assessments were made in Paris and Berlin, not elsewhere. Eastern Europe didn’t go wrong, northern Europe didn’t go wrong. Not only is the post-Cold War order crumbling in front of our eyes, so are the strategies deployed by Germany and France.
Never in my life have I seen an about-face quite like that in German politics. This represents the moment Germany has become comfortable with being a military power in Europe and Europe has become comfortable with Germany as a military power.
Germany is perceived - in this major Putin crisis - as the weakest link in the chain of NATO countries.
Translated from German
There is a mixture of amazement, disappointment and anger in Washington about the German government. Germany is seen as the weakest link in the chain of NATO allies and the ones who are just trying to do as little as possible.
There has to be a visible sign of commitment to the alliance. That’s what other allies are doing: The Spanish, the Baltic countries, the Poles, the Brits — everyone has offered something to strengthen deterrence on the eastern flank.
When you sit in the US the question is 'Is Germany a reliable ally?' The question over in Europe is 'Is America going to be a reliable ally?'
Such statements promote the suspicion against Germany that it is best to do nothing at all and to keep possible sanctions as small as possible. And enthroned above it all is a silent chancellor. This pays into an account that the new federal government has reopened, where doubts about Germany are managed.
Translated from German
Anyone who doesn't have any hard power to bring to bear won't be taken seriously by an autocrat. Europe plays no role for Putin. He wants to divide Europe, and part of the attempt to divide it is not to talk to Europe at all.
Translated from German
This is going to be the real battlefield for this administration. Ms. Baerbock has demonstrated she is not going to be a pushover. But the whole building is full of Social Democrats. You could say she is walled in.
But with so many fires burning on the international stage and some structural geopolitical shifts underway, circumstances — and his more hawkish coalition partners — might force [Olaf Scholz]’s hand.
The German position will get tougher on China for structural reasons. Mr. Scholz is no hawk. But he is not Merkel either and he will face pressure from the other parties in his government.
It’s so unprecedented that it’s not even clear who talks with whom on whose invitation about what, because the Constitution does not have guardrails for a situation like that... [Merkel] was the steady hand at the helm, the steady presence.
Merkel acted as mediator when there have been a lot of centrifugal forces weakening Europe. It’s less clear how the next chancellor will position himself or herself and Germany.