Keith Krach is a leader. In the U.S., the multi-billionaire has earned a reputation as a significant transformational leader. In business and philanthropy as well as in education and politics, the 65-year-old has demonstrated his skills.
In the Trump administration, he led U.S. economic diplomacy. When appointed Undersecretary of State at the U.S. State Department, he achieved the rare feat of being unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Silicon Valley meets Washington, D.C.
He fulfilled his task as a diplomat with the same business spirit with which he had led companies such as Nasdaq highflyer Docusign as CEO. Krach is considered a hard worker, an innovative thinker and a gifted people manager. His greatest assets are his leadership skills: building trust and cultivating networks. That‘s how he became friends with many German CEOs and leaders – including Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges and Paul Achleitner, the retiring chairman of Deutsche Bank‘s supervisory board.
As a U.S. diplomat in Washington, Krach developed the „Trust Principle Doctrine“. At its core were the promotion of freedom, democracy and global economic security.
His policy was directed against the People‘s Republic of China. His fear: The communist regime could use its supremacy in IT as well as in 5G technology for political purposes. And therefore Krach traveled around the world to warn governments about China‘s information technology. Krach‘s biggest concern: The government in Beijing could use software – for example supplied by Huawei – for blackmail, espionage or blockade.
Huge dependence, major problems
Krach was a bit ahead of time in his assessment of the situation. But the fact that the US American‘s fears were fundamentally justified is currently becoming apparent elsewhere: The European Union‘s dependence on gas and oil supplies from Russia shows that authoritarian countries use economic dependencies to push through their policies.
His initiative earned Krach a nomination for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize – and praise from William Treanor, Dean of Georgetown Law School. Referring to Russia‘s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, he said: „What Krach has done as head of U.S. economic diplomacy and in building the Clean Network Alliance of Democracies is of utmost importance right now. His use of the principle of trust to counter technological authoritarianism, to protect global economic security, to uphold democracy in places like Taiwan, and to protect human rights is consistent with our core values.“
There is also applause from General Herbert Raymond McMaster, U.S. President Donald Trump‘s National Security Advisor from March 2017 to April 2018. McMaster said: „The Clean Network‘s victory over the Chinese Communist Party‘s master plan to control 5G communications was the first time a U.S. government-led initiative has proven that China‘s economic warfare can be defeated by exposing its greatest weakness: nobody trusts them.“
Taiwan is a beneficiary of U.S. policy
In less than a year, 60 countries representing two-thirds of global gross domestic product joined the Clean Network. The strategy to expand 5G through a Western network of trusted partners worked. The Wall Street Journal wrote after the end of the Trump administration, that „Krach‘s Clean Network is an undisputed success and perhaps the most lasting foreign policy legacy of the past four years.“
The main beneficiary of U.S. policy has been Taiwan. China denies the island nation‘s right to exist. If the Russian invasion of Ukraine succeeds, China could try something similar – which Krach also fears – in Taiwan.
Keith Krach was the highest-ranking U.S. State Department official to visit Taiwan in 41 years. That was a thorn in China‘s side: The government in Beijing sent 40 fighter planes and bombers into Taiwanese airspace to warn Krach. That was no use, however: Krach linked one of the world‘s leaders in semiconductor manufacturing, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), to the U.S. economy. The deal was called a „gamechanger“ because it protected the global semiconductor supply chain from authoritarian threats.
Even after the change of government in the U.S., Krach continued his mission. For example, he founded the nonpartisan Center for Tech Diplomacy at his alma mater, Purdue University in Indiana. The initiative‘s goal: to advance freedom worldwide through trusted technology.