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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Tsunami: An International

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 009188

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY (FRANK); BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU;
AF/PA; EUR/WE (DEBORAH MENNUTI)/P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA
(BERBENA); INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE
HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR AND PASS USTR/PA
(ANN LUZZATO); USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA; ROME/PA;
BRUSSELS/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - TSUNAMI: AN INTERNATIONAL
COALITION
PARIS - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2004

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

TSUNAMI: AN INTERNATIONAL COALITION

SIPDIS


(B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

LEAD STORIES AND HEADLINES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS ARE DEVOTED
TO THE CALL FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE
TSUNAMI IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. "LET'S GIVE" LEADS RIGHT-OF-CENTER

SIPDIS
LE PARISIEN, AND RIGHT-OF-CENTER ECONOMIC LES ECHOS PRAISES
THE "MANY INITIATIVES TO HELP THE VICTIMS IN ASIA." RIGHT-OF-
CENTER FRANCE SOIR, FOR ITS PART, HEADLINES: "BUSH, BLAIR AND
SCHRODER SHOW CONCERN FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE CATASTROPHE: AND
CHIRAC SAYS NOTHING."

COMMUNIST L'HUMANITE'S REPORT "WHAT KIND OF COALITION IS
NEEDED IN ASIA?" SUMMARIZES THE TONE OF THE EDITORIALS IN THE
MAJORITY OF TODAY'S PRESS: "THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT
DELIBERATELY DECIDED TO CIRCUMVENT THE UN BY PROPOSING AN
INTERNATIONAL COALITION DEVOTED TO HUMANITARIAN AID. AND THE
FACT THAT THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN BAM (IRAN) LAST
YEAR ARE STILL WAITING FOR THE ASSISTANCE THAT THEY WERE
PROMISED LEAVES US SKEPTICAL AS TO THE PURPOSE OF SUCH A
COALITION." (SEE PART C)

NEW YORK CORRESPONDENT JEAN-LOUIS TURLIN FOR RIGHT-OF-CENTER
LE FIGARO ANALYZES THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION TO HOLD AN
IMPROMPTU PRESS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY: "THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT
INTERRUPTED HIS VACATION IN TEXAS FOR A FEW MINUTES YESTERDAY
TO HOLD A VIDEO CONFERENCE WITH HIS ADVISORS TO PERSONALLY
RESPOND TO CRITICISM CONCERNING THE AMOUNT OF AID FROM WEALTHY
COUNTRIES IN GENERAL AND THE U.S. IN PARTICULAR. IT WAS
NECESSARY FOR GEORGE BUSH TO SHOW HIMSELF PUBLICLY IN ORDER TO
DISPEL THE UNHEALTHY IMPRESSION OF A LACK OF CONCERN THAT
CHARACTERIZED, NAMELY, THE PRE-SEPTEMBER 11 PERIOD."

PASCAL RICHE, THE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR LEFT-OF-CENTER
LIBERATION, PENS A LENGTHY OP-ED IN TODAY'S EDITION: "AMERICAN
PROGRESS," WHICH OUTLINES THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN MENTALITY.
"FRANCE LOVES TO HAMMER THAT AMERICAN SOCIETY IS ULTRA-
CONSERVATIVE, RELIGIOUS, CLOSED, OBSESSED WITH MORAL VALUES,
REACTIONARY. BUT IN FACT, AMERICAN SOCIETY IS INCREASINGLY
LIBERAL AND SECULAR."

ANOTHER OP-ED IN LIBERATION BY AUTHOR ANTOINE AUDOUARD PUTS
FORWARD THAT " `FRENCH-BASHING' REMAINS A POPULAR SPORT IN THE
U.S." "THE FRENCH WOULD BE WRONG TO THINK THAT THE CRISIS IS
BEHIND US. INDEED, `FRENCH-BASHING' IS NO LONGER CONTINGENT ON
THE POLITICAL SITUATION, IT HAS BECOME CULTURAL."

IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER FRANCE SOIR, THE PRESIDENT OF THE
INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF GEOPOLITICS, JACQUES SOPPELSA'S BY-
LINER ENTITLED "BUSH 2, NOW WHAT?" OUTLINES WHAT HE SEES AS
THE CHANGES THAT CAN BE EXPECTED IN AMERICAN FOREIGN AND
DOMESTIC POLICY DURING THE NEW TERM.

LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE CARRIES AN OP-ED ENTITLED "HOW TO DEAL
WITH TEHRAN" SIGNED BY SIX FORMER FOREIGN MINISTERS: MADELEINE
ALBRIGHT, LLOYD AXWORTHY, ROBIN COOK, HUBERT VEDRINE, LAMBERTO
DINI, NIELS HELVEG PETERSEN, ANA PALACIO AND JOZIAS VAN
AARTSENRIGHT, THAT ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN ENGLISH IN THE
TORONTO STAR. "THE IRANIANS HAVE MADE SPLITTING THE ATLANTIC
PARTNERSHIP THEIR MODUS OPERANDI, HOPING THAT DISAGREEMENTS
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE WILL BUY THEM THE TIME TO
PROGRESS DOWN THE NUCLEAR PATH TO THE POINT OF
IRREVERSIBILITY. IN ORDER TO COUNTERACT THIS STRATEGY,
EUROPEAN AND U.S. POLICYMAKERS MUST REPEATEDLY AND JOINTLY
ARTICULATE THAT THEY SEEK TO HOLD IRAN TO THE OBLIGATIONS IT
HAS ACCEPTED UNDER THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY TO
REFRAIN FROM BUILDING NUCLEAR ARMS."
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

TSUNAMI: AN INTERNATIONAL COALITION

SIPDIS

"WELL-MANAGED CHARITY"
STEPHANE MARCHAND'S EDITORIAL IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO
(12/30): "INTERNATIONAL AID TO THE VICTIMS OF THE TSUNAMI IN
ASIA REPRESENTS, AMONG OTHER THINGS A DIPLOMATIC GESTURE, A
POLITICAL AFFIRMATION. A COUNTRY THAT GIVES PROVES ITS
GENEROSITY IN THE EYES OF INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION AND
ASSERTS IT STANDING IN THE WORLD. I GIVE THEREFORE I COUNT.
BUT BEWARE OF THE CONTRARY. A NATION, POWERFUL THOUGH IT MAY
BE, THAT IS PERCEIVED AS INDIFFERENT OR STINGY WILL BE HARSHLY
JUDGED. THE U.S. HAS JUST HAD A BITTER TASTE OF THIS FACT.
WHEN IT BECAME KNOWN THAT THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY ON THE
PLANET HAD PROMISED 15 MILLION DOLLARS IN AID TO THE VICTIMS
OF THE TSUNAMI, THERE WAS A GENERAL UPROAR. 15 MILLION DOLLARS
IS A RIDICULOUS FIGURE GIVEN THE SCOPE OF THE CATASTROPHE. 15
MILLION DOLLARS OF LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT IS BOUGHT IN DOG AND
CAT FOOD IN THE U.S. EVERYDAY. IT IS TEN TIMES LESS THAN THE
DAILY COST OF THE WAR IN IRAQ. IT IS HALF THE PRICE OF A F16.
THE U.S. QUICKLY DECIDED TO UP THE ANTE, BUT A SERIOUS MISTAKE
IN TERMS OF COMMUNICATION HAD ALREADY BEEN MADE, WHICH IS
ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS WHEN 5 BILLION TELEVISION VIEWERS ARE
WATCHING. AMERICA'S IMAGE OF A SUPERPOWER AT TIMES CRUSHING
AND AT TIMES BENEVOLENT IS AT STAKE. OF ALL OF THE
INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS, THE U.S. IS THE ONE THAT CONTRIBUTES
THE LEAST TO POOR COUNTRIES. AMERICA IS PAYING A HIGH
POLITICAL PRICE FOR THIS PITIFUL REPUTATION. ASIA, AND
FOREMOST JAPAN AND CHINA, HAVE BECOME THE KEYSTONE OF
AMERICA'S ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL SECURITY. AND THAT IS
PRICELESS."

"THE PEOPLE AND THE MISERS"
JEAN-PAUL PIEROT IN COMMUNIST L'HUMANITE (12/30): "THE
OUTBURSTS OF GENEROSITY FROM ORDINARY CITIZENS AND NGOS HAS
SERVED TO UNDERSCORE THE STINGINESS OF THE RICHEST COUNTRIES
IN THE WORLD. AFTER THE SCOLDING THAT BUSH GOT FOR PROMISING
ONLY 15 MILLION DOLLARS IN AID TO THE VICTIMS OF THIS
CATASTROPHE, HE DECIDED TO ADD A MISERABLE 20 MILLION MORE. IS
IT REALLY NECESSARY TO NOTE ONCE AGAIN THAT THE COST OF THE
WAR IN IRAQ EXCEEDS 200 BILLION DOLLARS? AND ONCE AGAIN THE
WHITE HOUSE IS PROVING ITS UNILATERALIST TENDENCY BY PROPOSING
TO CREATE AN INTERNATIONAL COALITION (A COPY OF THE ONE
CREATED FOR THE WAR IN IRAQ) THAT IT ALONE, WITHOUT THE UN,
WOULD MANAGE TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE."

"GLOBALIZED SOLIDARITY"
THE UNSIGNED EDITORIAL IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE (12/30):
"THE FACT THAT THE WORLD HAS COME TOGETHER IS DUE, IN PART, TO
THE SPEED OF INFORMATION EXCHANGE TODAY WHICH LENDS A NEW
DIMENSION TO SOLIDARITY. THIS ALSO IS GLOBALIZATION. BUT THIS
MOBILIZATION POSES A CERTAIN NUMBER OF PROBLEMS. THE FIRST HAS
TO DO WITH THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROMISES AND ACTIONS.
WHILE THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS WILL DO
THEIR PART AND STAND BY THEIR COMMITMENTS, HISTORY HAS SHOWN
THAT GOVERNMENTS AND INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
TEND NOT TO BE SO RIGOROUS. OF THE BILLION DOLLARS THAT WERE
ALLOTTED TO HELP THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN BAM IN 2003,
ONLY 17 MILLION DOLLARS HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN RECEIVED. A CERTAIN
DEGREE OF COORDINATION IS NECESSARY TO MANAGE RELIEF EFFORTS.
AND ONLY THE UN HAS THE CAPACITY TO IMPLEMENT THIS TYPE OF
PLANNING."

"LACK OF FORESIGHT"
THE EDITORIAL IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION BY GERARD DUPUY
(12/30): "WITH 100,000 BODIES AND MILLIONS OF LIVES SHATTERED
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST ADMIT TO ITS LACK OF
FORESIGHT AND BUSH IS FIRST ON THE LIST. IN TERMS OF
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, HISTORY IS HEADING IN THE WRONG
DIRECTION. GENEROSITY IS COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE IF IT DOES NOT
ALSO INCLUDE A MEASURE OF FORESIGHT. AND SIGNIFICANT SUMS,
THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FEW MILLION EUROS OR DOLLARS
THAT HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED TO THE VICTIMS OF THE TSUNAMI SO FAR.
WILL BE NEEDED TO PROVIDE POOR COUNTRIES WITH EARTHQUAKE
DETECTORS AND DECENT COMMUNICATION NETWORKS." WOLFF

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