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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Katrina - Political Fallout

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 006082

SIPDIS


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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - KATRINA - POLITICAL FALLOUT
UN REFORMS
PARIS - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

KATRINA - POLITICAL FALLOUT
UN REFORMS

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

DUE TO A WALKOUT IN THE NEWSPAPER DELIVERY NETWORK, THIS
REPORT IS BASED ON INTERNET VERSIONS OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPERS.

FRONT PAGES ARE OVERWHELMINGLY DEVOTED TO DOMESTIC POLITICS AS
PM DE VILLEPIN CELEBRATES HIS FIRST ONE HUNDRED DAYS IN
OFFICE, WHILE A NUMBER OF OPINION PIECES DEBATE ABOUT THE
PRESIDENT'S HEALTH, THE MEDICAL BULLETINS BEING MADE PUBLIC
AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS IN CASE THE PRESIDENT IS
INCAPACITATED. IN LE FIGARO, DANIEL MASSON OPINES THAT FRANCE
"SHOULD FIND INSPIRATION IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND MOST
SPECIFICALLY THE 25TH AMENDMENT."

TODAY'S TWO MAJOR INTERNATIONAL STORIES ARE KATRINA, THE
POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM THE ADMINISTRATION'S MANAGEMENT OF THE
CRISIS AND THE "MACABRE" FINDINGS OF THE SEARCH AND RESCUE
MISSIONS, AND THE UN: THE OIL FOR FOOD SCANDAL AND THE REFORM
AGENDA. WHILE LE FIGARO TITLES ITS REPORT "ANNAN, RESPONSIBLE
BUT NOT GUILTY," LIBERATION CONCENTRATES ON THE REFORM AGENDA
AND TITLES ITS ARTICLE: "BUSH RELEASES HIS HAWK ON THE
ORGANIZATION." (SEE PART C)

LE MONDE DEVOTES ITS EDITORIAL TO EUROPE'S ECONOMIC TUG-OF-WAR
WITH CHINA IN A COLUMN TITLED: "CHINA ONE, EUROPE ZERO." LE
MONDE COMMENTS: "THE EUROPEAN-CHINESE AGREEMENTS ON TEXTILES
WHICH WERE TO SERVE AS A TEST FOR EU-CHINESE RELATIONS HAVE DE
FACTO BECOME A COUNTER EXAMPLE. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
INITIAL AGREEMENT WAS A FIASCO. AND NEW AGREEMENTS HAD TO BE
NEGOTIATED. THIS FIASCO ON TEXTILES IS WORRISOME. WITH CHINA
SUCH A STRONG AND CONSTANT PARTNER, THE EU'S ZIGZAGS ARE PROOF
OF ITS WEAKNESS. BEYOND THIS LOST BATTLE, WHAT IS OBVIOUS IS
THAT THE EUROPE OF THE `NO,' DIVIDED AND DEVOID OF A CENTRAL
POWER, IS NOTHING BUT A SOUND BOX FOR DISCORDANT LOBBIES.
JAPAN STANDS AS THE EXAMPLE OF A COUNTRY HAVING PLANNED IN
ADVANCE FOR CHINA'S WTO MEMBERSHIP."

NO EDITORIAL COMMENTARY IS AVAILABLE ON THE ELECTIONS IN
EGYPT, BUT LIBERATION COMMENTS: "THE ELECTIONS ARE FOR SHOW,
WITH A SURE VICTORY BY MUBARAK. THE STAKES ARE ELSEWHERE, IN
VOTER TURN OUT, WHICH SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN ON THE LOW SIDE." FOR
LE FIGARO, "THE EGYPTIAN ELECTIONS ARE RIGGED BECAUSE OF THE
ABSENCE OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

KATRINA - POLITICAL FALLOUT

"KATRINA, THE SHOCKWAVE"
RIGHT-OF-CENTER LES ECHOS'S EDITORIAL BOARD UNDER THE GROUP
NAME FAVILLA COMMENTS (09/08): "THE SHOCK THE AMERICANS HAVE
RECEIVED WITH KATRINA IS SIMILAR IN MAGNITUDE TO THE SHOCK OF
THE ATTACK AGAINST THE TWIN TOWERS. THEN, THE DELIBERATE
ATTACK DID NOT DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN RICH AND POOR, BLACK AND
WHITE, THUS REVEALING AND RE-ENFORCING FEELINGS OF UNITY AND
WIDELY SHARED NATIONAL PRIDE. CONVERSELY, HURRICANE KATRINA
HAS TRIGGERED POLITICAL REACTIONS THAT ARE IN CONTRAST WITH
THOSE OF 9/11. THE TRAGEDY IS UNDERMINING THE MYTH OF NATIONAL
UNITY AND EQUAL CHANCES FOR ALL, CASTING A HARSH LIGHT ON THE
TRUE IMPACT OF THIS IMBALANCE. PRESIDENT BUSH IS CRITICIZED
BOTH FOR POOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND FOR HIS PERSONAL ATTITUDE.
A MORE HYPOTHETICAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE TRAGEDY COULD BE THE
PROGRESS IN PUBLIC OPINION OF THE POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN
CLIMATE CHANGE AND GAS EMISSIONS. PRESIDENT BUSH IS NOT DOING
MUCH TO MOBILIZE AMERICANS OVER THIS ISSUE BUT THE HURRICANE
HAS RE-LAUNCHED THE DEBATE."

"AN AWAKENING"
GERARD NOEL IN REGIONAL LA LIBERTE DE L'EST (09/08): "FOR THE
PAST FEW DAYS IT IS AS IF AMERICA HAD WAKENED AND DISCOVERED
ITS POOR. THE IMAGES OF THIS BLACK POPULATION, BOTH LOST AND
ANGRY, RE-FOCUSES OUR ATTENTION ON ONE COUNTRY WITH TWO
PEOPLE, WHERE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CARES VERY LITTLE ABOUT
THE ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED. THE ANGER OF THE BLACK
POPULATION IS IMMENSE. THE U.S. IN THE GRIPS OF INTEGRATION IS
A STEP BACK IN TIME."

"THE WITCH HUNT"
PHILIPPE GELIE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (09/08):
"PRESIDENT BUSH IS SENDING HIS VICE PRESIDENT TO THE
DEVASTATED REGIONS OF LOUISIANA. IT IS A SIGN THAT HE
RECOGNIZES THE HUGE PROBLEMS TRIGGERED BY THE ADMINISTRATION'S
RESPONSE TO THE DISASTER. THIS TIME HE CANNOT DENY THE
MAGNITUDE OF THE FAILURE. ADMITTING A MISTAKE IS A RARE FEAT
FOR THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT IT ALLOWS BUSH AN OUT, AS HE STANDS
ABOVE THE CROWD OF SUSPECTS IN JUDGMENT. WILL THE PRESIDENT BE
ABLE TO COME OUT UNSCATHED FROM THIS LATEST FAILURE? CONTRARY
TO 9/11, THE HURRICANE HAS NOT SERVED TO UNITE THE COUNTRY,
BUT ALSO CONTRARY TO IRAQ, THE PROBLEM HE FACES IS ONE THAT HE
HAS THE ABILITY TO RESOLVE."

"SINKING AMERICA"
JACQUES AMALRIC IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (09/08): "ALMOST
EVERYTHING HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THE CAUSES OF THE DISASTER IN
THE GULF: THE INCOMPETENCE OF THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES,
PRESIDENT BUSH'S LACK OF SENSITIVITY, THE IMPACT OF RACIAL
INEQUALITIES. THE SAME LAME EXCUSE USED AFTER 9/11, `WE COULD
NOT HAVE PREDICTED THIS,' IS EVEN MORE OF A LIE THAN IT WAS
THEN: EXPERTS HAD WARNED ABOUT THE MUCH-NEEDED REPAIR FOR THE
LEVIES . DAYS AFTER THE HURRICANE, PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY WENT
TO VISIT THE SCENE, AND TO EVERYONE'S SURPRISE PAID TRIBUTE TO
MICHAEL BROWN, WHO IS AMONG THOSE WHO REFUSED TO LOOK AT THE
VULNERABILITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND APPROVED DRASTIC CUTS OF
FEDERAL AID THAT COULD HAVE HELPED PROTECT THE CITY. RUMOR HAS
IT THAT HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND OWES HIS
NOMINATION TO HIS CONTACTS. THE FACT IS THAT EVER SINCE
TERRORISM HAS BECOME THE NATION'S HIGHEST PRIORITY, FEMA IS
NOTHING MORE THAN AN APPENDIX TO THE HOMELAND SECURITY
AGENCY."

UN REFORMS

"BUSH RELEASES HIS HAWK ON THE ORGANIZATION"
PASCAL RICHE IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (09/08): "JOHN
BOLTON, THE HAWK, HAS USED HIS BEST RED-INK PEN TO CROSS OUT
EVERYTHING HE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THE UN REFORM PLAN. AND ASKED
FOR 750 AMENDMENTS. NEW NEGOTIATIONS HAD TO BE LAUNCHED. BUT
THE RISK TODAY IS THAT THE SEPTEMBER SUMMIT WILL END UP IN
FAILURE. WHILE THE SECRETARY GENERAL IS NOT PINNED BY THE
VOLKER REPORT, HIS CREDIBILITY HAS SUFFERED. AND CALLS FOR HIS
RESIGNATION WILL RESUME. FOR THE AMERICANS, THE `OIL FOR FOOD'
SCANDAL STANDS AS PROOF OF ALL THE ORGANIZATION'S ILLS. IF THE
AMERICANS DO NOT GET WHAT THEY WANT, THEY CAN USE THE SCANDAL
AS AN EXCELLENT PRETEXT TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THE UN AND
MAYBE EVEN THREATEN THE ORGANIZATION'S EXISTENCE. STILL THE
TIME IS ILL-CHOSEN TO REACTIVATE A NEW CRISIS: THE UN HAS JUST
OFFERED WASHINGTON ITS ASSISTANCE IN THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
CAUSED BY KATRINA." STAPLETON

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