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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Us-Argentine Diplomatic Spat; 12/19/07

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2362 3531424
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191424Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9938
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002362

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; US-ARGENTINE DIPLOMATIC SPAT; 12/19/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Today's local dailies carry opinion pieces on the implications of
the Antonini Wilson suitcase scandal and recent allegations that the
money was earmarked for Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's
election campaign.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "Expansion waves from Miami"

Ricardo Kirschbaum, leading "Clarin's" general editor, writes
(12/19) "The Mercosur summit ended much better than expected. The
expansion waves of the Antonini Wilson case... added a new condiment
to the regional summit that managed to hide other important
issues...

"... Hector Timerman, the future (Argentine) Ambassador to the White
House, said that the US-Argentine bilateral relationship 'is in very
bad shape,' while US Ambassador Anthony Wayne was called in by FM
Taiana. Eduardo van der Kooy writes in his column that the White
House could call its own ambassador on consultations in a strong
gesture of irritation at the (Argentine) government's behavior.

"The Argentine Government should bear in mind that its ties to the
US have a broad scope and a complex network. Therefore, even when
crudeness has pervaded the discourse, it is advisable to act coolly.
One example: Argentina needs nine billion dollars to pay off its
debt. Venezuela could contribute nearly five billion dollars, and
the rest? One should seek it in other markets, which are constrained
by the world collapse [of financial markets], or resort to using
savings, with the effects it may have.

"And something else - we all know the outcome of a foreign policy
that is exclusively based on the benefits rendered from domestic
politics."

- "A dangerous escalation"

Joaquin Morales Sola, political columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacion," opines (12/19) "The crisis in the US-Argentine bilateral
relationship saw a new escalation yesterday and it is heading for a
new and unknown 'peak.' Washington academics and businessmen said
that the Bush administration is extremely uncomfortable with the
Argentine authorities following the latest public remarks by
President Cristina Kirchner and her husband, the former president.

"This is another aspect of the increasing tension - the presidential
couple insisted on making their accusations against the USG...

"... Obviously enough, those statements and the decision of the
Argentine Government to limit Wayne's contacts to the Foreign
Ministry did not go down well either among Republicans or Democrats.
They said: 'This used to happen in the Soviet Union.'

"... Disagreement may happen among governments... The bottom line is
how one handles these in order to avoid permanently burning all
bridges."

- "Attorneys at President Bush's service"

Business-financial "BAE" carries an opinion piece by political
analyst Luis Tonelli, who opines (12/19) "... Obviously enough for
procedural law, the trial that is being carried out is about a
police issue,' as DAS Thomas Shannon said. However, it is hard to
believe that Washington did not calibrate the political repercussion
of his prosecutor's remarks (only based on the statements made by
the arrested Venezuelans) that 'the suitcase money was earmarked for
Cristina Fernandez's campaign.' Or that the USG could have been left
out of the 'garbage operation', when Antonini Wilson has not been
charged with any allegation and he is treated as 'a poor American
citizen who was threatened.'

"The brightest defender of the current US neo-imperialist posture,
Oxford Professor Neill Ferguson, pointed out in his book 'Colossus',
that the US has always been an empire, regardless of presenting
itself as a 'liberating power,' something that the author calls a
hypocritical 'imperial anti-imperialism' and, according to the
Argentine official stance, this could find new expression in the
so-called suitcase case."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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