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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S., India-Pakistan, Syria-Iran, Cuba, Eu,

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FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
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INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 BERLIN 000223

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PAPD, EUR/PPA, EUR/CE, INR/EUC, INR/P,
SECDEF FOR USDP/ISA/DSAA, DIA FOR DC-4A

VIENNA FOR CSBM, CSCE, PAA

"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE"

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E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR US XO SY CU EU FK TK EMS UP
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S., INDIA-PAKISTAN, SYRIA-IRAN, CUBA, EU,
FALKLANDS, TURKEY, EU-GREECE, UKRAINE;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform
3. (India-Pakistan) Resumption of Talks
4. (Syria-Iran) Ahmadinejad-Assad Meeting
5. (Cuba) Death of a Dissident
6. (EU) Debate Over Leading Personnel
7. (Falkland Islands) Tensions over Drilling
8. (Turkey) Military Officials Arrested
9. (EU-Greece) Bail-out Package
10. (Ukraine) Yanukovich Inaugurated


1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media led with a number of different issues. While
Frankfurter Allgemeine and Tagesspiegel centered on the Bundestag
debate over the German social security system, Sueddeutsche Zeitung
led with the debate on health reform under the headline: "Obama
Fighting for his most Important Project." Die Welt and Berliner
Morgenpost dealt with Swiss plans for Germans who have invested
money in Switzerland to pay a withholding tax. Editorials focused
on the troubles between the CDU/CSU and the FDP and on the
collective bargaining agreement for the public sector, which was
also the main issue in ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and
ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau.

2. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/26) carried a front-page report under the
headline: "Obama is Fighting for his most Important Project" and
reported that President Obama is trying to get support for his
controversial healthcare reform project. He called upon the parties
to agree on a healthcare reform and asserted in a six-hour debate
with leading Republicans and Democrats that was broadcast live on TV
that 'there are common views.' The healthcare reform project is
Obama's most important domestic project and a failure would be a
serious blow for him. But even before the meeting leading
Republicans described an agreement as "almost impossible.... Right
from the start, the President was obviously not so much interested
in breaking up the Republican 'obstructionist front,' but the White
House considered the discussion round, which the Republicans
rightfully described as 'political theater' and 'photo-op,' as an
opportunity to warm up the very skeptical American people for the
reform."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/26) carried an editorial under the headline:
"The Washington System" and judged: "Evan Bayh has now turned into a
prosecutor against Washington, as a crown witness against the
current system. But worse than his frustration is the anger with
which the American people stare at the system in Washington. Only
eight of 100 voters said their representative in Congress deserves
his/her re-election. The United States, shaken by the worst
recession in three generations, is witnessing a political depression
right now. Barack Obama, too, is despairing of the system. His
reform plans have gone to the dogs in the catacombs of Congress. He
is seeking ways out and is trying with a 'healthcare summit' to warm
up both Democrats and Republicans for some version of 'Obama-care.'
But this palaver in the White House must be considered mere
political theater.... It was the prime purpose of this event to
present those Republican 'nay-sayers,' who usually paralyze the
complex wheels of legislation in the background in Congress. Obama
wants to present the Republicans as fighters behind barricades, and
politicians who blockade initiatives without having any concepts on
their own. And he is right. They are exactly that.... Yes, the
President made mistakes...and sometimes Obama looks like the most
prominent hostage of the system. But this is the only thing he can
be accused of. It was not he who created this situation. The crisis
goes deeper. America's Constitution created a governing system in

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which many wheels must interlock before it spits out a law. This
balance of power succeeded as long as the United States was governed
from the center. But today, there is a mentality to think only in
Republican or Democratic terms and the obligation to vote in line
with party policies - as if Congress were the House of Commons.
Populists in both parties have gained the upper hand; cable TV
stations and talk radio only reward rabble rousers, and every
compromise is linked to the shady touch of treason. The fringes
win, while the center loses."

3. (India-Pakistan) Resumption of Talks

Left-wing daily die tageszeitung (2/26) editorialized: "The Indian
government is outraged - not just about Pakistan as usual, but also
about the West. Leading politicians are not yet openly saying it,
but you can read it everywhere. New Delhi feels treated like only
the second most important NATO partner in the region - after
Pakistan. Above all, it feels like a bystander in the conflict over
Afghanistan. This is the case since the London conference on
Afghanistan at the latest, where NATO coordinated with Afghanistan
and Pakistan, not with New Delhi, its strategy of including the
'good' Taliban in the fight against the 'bad' Taliban. New Delhi
vehemently opposed such a differentiation of the Taliban. When
discussing Afghanistan, Indians always think of Kashmir, over which
they have fought three wars against Pakistan. For them, Kashmir is
the next conflict after Afghanistan. They are therefore despising
compromises with the Taliban: a Taliban friendly regime in Kabul
would always feel tempted to fight with Pakistan for the liberation
of the Muslim brothers in Kashmir. If NATO troops were to leave the
region soon, Indians would then stand alone in the fight against
war-experienced Pakistanis and Afghans.... Pakistan is boasting
about the western support in the fight against terrorism. Indeed,
it gets the most modern counterterrorism technology from the U.S.
New Delhi suspects that it must fear a Pakistan that is aligned with
the West more than ever before."

4. (Syria-Iran) Ahmadinejad-Assad Meeting

Frankfurter Allgemeine 2/26) headlined: "Assad and Ahmadinejad swear
oath of alliance," and noted: "Syrian President Assad and Iranian
President Ahmadinejad demonstratively assured themselves to boost
relations between their countries.... Both leaders signed an
agreement that abolishes the visa requirement for citizens of both
countries. Assad and Ahmadinejad criticized the United States for
trying to divide the alliance. On Wednesday, Secretary Clinton
called on Syria to distance itself from Iran. Assad commented on
Mrs. Clinton's statement: 'We must have misunderstood her because of
the bad translation and our limited intellect.'... In addition, the
Syrian president defended the Iranian nuclear program. Today, Iran
is stopped from using this technology, tomorrow it will hit the
Arabs, he said."

Die Welt (2/26) headlined: "Rendezvous of dictators - Iran and Syria
pretend to be friends." The paper stated in its intro: "This was a
demonstration towards Washington: only a few days after Secretary
Clinton tried to lure Syria out of the alliance with Iran, Syrian
president Assad met with the controversial Iranian President
Ahmadinejad. Together they indulged in gestures of friendship."

5. (Cuba) Death of a Dissident

Under the headline "Cuba shuns fundamental reforms," Berliner
Zeitung (2/26) commented: "However great the hopes for change were
when Castro II came to power, they are now as quickly dashed. At
least, a few cosmetic changes had been made concerning human rights.
The death penalty of dozens of prisoners was turned into prison
sentences. Political prisoners were continuously released, so that
there total number fell to around 200. However, the regime

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continued to use its old methods against its critics. Yoani
Sanchez, who expresses her criticism about the living conditions on
an internet blog, is monitored, persecuted and sometimes
intimidated. Her Kafkaesque stories on everyday's life are the
thorn in the side of the government because they reveal the
shortcomings of the Cuban system without expressing a clear
political conviction. The death of Zapatas and the following
arrests clearly show how nervous the government is and that, when it
comes to human rights, the new Castro only represents the old Cuba."


6. (EU) Debate Over Leading Personnel

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/26) editorialized: "Van Rompuy is
certainly no megastar, who could bring New York City's traffic to a
standstill and let the powerful men in Washington and Beijing get
the jitters. This would have been the qualities of Tony Blair.
However, van Rompuy does not deserve the insults he had to hear form
an English chuff in the European parliament. He is doing a fairly
good job in a very calm way.... Baroness Ashton shares with van
Rompuy the inability of winning a charisma contest.... However,
unlike the new president, she has not been able to counter the first
impression that she is the wrong woman for the job. The displeasure
about what she does, and what she does not do, is justified."

Sddeutsche (2/25) headlined: "Lack of power consciousness -
Europe's new foreign minister Catherine Ashton raises a few eyebrows
because she is giving up power without any need right at the
beginning of her tenure." The paper highlighted: "The informal
meeting of EU defense minister on the Spanish island of Mallorca
might not be the most important of its kind. However, the fact that
the high representative Ashton cancelled her participation at short
notice meet raised eyebrows among diplomats."

7. (Falkland Islands) Tensions over Drilling

Over the past dew days, several papers reported on the new tensions
between the UK and the Falklands. But only today's Die Welt (2/26)
mentioned the U.S. position and reported under the headline "Oil is
Fuelling the Falkland Conflict," and wondered: "Will history repeat
itself? No one is talking about a new armed conflict, but the
contradictions have reached a new sharpness, and the UK government
is, as a provisional measure, increasing its military presence in
the South Atlantic. This time it is economic interests that have
rekindled the conflict. Unlike in the conflict from 1982, the
government in London cannot rely on U.S. support While ex-President
Ronald Reagan sided with the British side and offered ex-PM Margaret
Thatcher precious logistical support in reconquering the Falkland
Islands, the White House is insisting today on a position of
neutrality and wants to push both sides to enter into bilateral
talks."

8. (Turkey) Military Officials Arrested

In a front-page editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/26) stated:
"The images of the crisis meeting between the president, the prime
minister and the chief of the general staff show how much power
relations have changed in Turkey.... The highest representative of
the military forces was clearly subordinate to the elected
representatives of the people. This message is new in Turkey - and
it is almost revolutionary because the military forces have seen
themselves for a long time as the authority that defends the state
as they see it and the political legacy of its founder Kemal Ataturk
against incapable, corrupt and ideologically unreliable politicians;
if necessary also with force. There were three military coups
between 1963 and 1980. However, those days seem to be gone.... The
restriction of the army is not yet at all a victory of democracy...
Turkey is a deeply divided country - and still some time away from a

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stable democracy."

9. (EU-Greece) Bail-out Package

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/26) argued in a lengthy editorial: "The
comfortable life for the Greeks has come to an end. But many Greeks
do not want to accept this, are outraged at German media, and assume
that the Germans are behind the tough EU course, while they hardly
mention their own lapses.... In the eyes of the majority of Germans
they made a great sacrifice by abolishing the D-mark, which created
an identity for all Germans. With the collective experience of two
currency reforms, the Germans consider the attempted violation of
the Maastricht Treaty - it bans one country from paying the debts of
another - a danger for the stability of the euro, while the soft
currency countries insinuate that the Germans only want to safeguard
their economic superiority in the EU with the euro. But the
constant violation of the Stability Pact is responsible for the
escalation of the debt crisis. Fortunately, the German government
insists on adhering to common rules.... By consolidating its
budget, Greece will regain credibility. Those who want to replace
the auction of Greek bonds by transfer payments from Brussels and
Frankfurt will invite others to speculate against the euro,
overestimate Germany's financial power, and risk a failure of the
Monetary Union. It is true that the German government is fighting
on its own in the euro group, but it is in a strong position.
Without German participation in the bail-out package for Greece,
each package would fail in the capital markets. If Chancellor
Merkel remains steadfast and allows only the IMF to help Greece, can
she save the euro."

Under the headline: "A Euro Oversight Group Must Be Set Up,"
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/26) opined: "In this exciting debate over
the Greek mismanagement, one decisive term is missing: consequences.
It is true that the Greeks have been called upon to change their
relaxed style of living. But what will happen if nothing happens?
What are the consequences Greece has to fear? Greece needs profound
reforms. But it is also visible that the European financial and
monetary bodies also require profound reforms. The European
statistical office Eurostat has no real authority, and this is
incomprehensible. But by far more dramatic are the shortcomings of
the EU finance ministers who introduced the euro. And the third
body that is responsible is the European Commission. Even if the
currency commissioner spoke out clearly on the issue, he would need
the approval of the Commission's president, who would say' no'
because of pressure from the national governments. The Greek fiasco
clearly demonstrated that member states cannot be disciplined by
other member states. If the Monetary Union is to survive, then it
must be urgently controlled by an oversight agency that is
independent of all EU bodies and member states."

10. (Ukraine) Yanukovich Inaugurated

Under the headline: "First Brussels, Then Moscow," Die Welt (2/26)
editorialized: "Victor Yanukovich was inaugurated into his office on
Thursday. He delivered a brief address in which he spoke of a
dramatic economic situation.... He also spoke of Ukraine as an
"European non-aligned state' and as a 'bridge between East and
West.' His first trip will bring him to Brussels, and only his
second one goes to Moscow. We are anxious to see to what extent, as
he indicated, he wants to include the EU in the restructuring
efforts of his gas pipelines. And there is still Julia Timochenko,
who wanted to lead her country into the EU. But we can hardly
expect a smooth co-habitation between the two but rather a mutual
blockade. This would be the last thing the country needs right now.
A bit more stability, efficiency, predictability, this was also
something the president addressed in his speech. And this would
really be progress."


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MURPHY

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