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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Bush to Mongolia Israel-

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 007948

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 - Bush to Mongolia Israel-
Political Change Iran U.S.- France: Social Models
PARIS - Tuesday, November 22, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

Bush to Mongolia
Israel- Political Change
Iran
U.S.- France: Social Models

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

Today's national rail strike is the lead front page and
editorial story. Commentators agree that the cause behind the
strike is "fear of privatization." But they also note that the
government's assurance that "privatization is not in the
works" does not help the rail company's development. A strike
by the Paris metro system has been announced for tomorrow.

International stories include Ariel Sharon's break with the
Likud, the reprieve Iran is getting from the West, and
President Bush's visit to Mongolia, "his ally." (See Part C)
The Mehlis report due on December 15 leads Le Figaro to write:
"The Syrian President on November 10 made clear that he would
not bend and that Syria is clearly being targeted. Observers
note he has two options: a compromise with the U.S. about Iraq
or confrontation."

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Angela Merkel's first day in office is extensively covered.
She is expected to meet with President Chirac tomorrow. La
Croix believes "Merkel is planning more drastic reforms for
Germany than France's." Alain Franco in La Croix comments:
"Merkel is somewhat of a mystery, but she is not a source of
concern. She has reassured her European entourage by adopting
a stance that favors the stability pact and respects the
commitment made to Turkey."

Macedonia's FM Ilinka Mitreva who is interviewed in Le Figaro,
adamantly defends the notion that Macedonia belongs in the EU,
"geographically, historically and culturally."

Financial La Tribune interviews WTO's Peter Mandelson: "I will
not make new proposals on agriculture. The stalemate is not
due to agricultural issues, but to the fact that the market is
not sufficiently open in the service sector. Those who cast
doubt on the sincerity of the American proposals do so because
the Americans have not offered to cut their agricultural
spending, only to lower the ceiling of expenditures."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

Bush to Mongolia

"Bush Visits His Ally: Mongolia"
Philippe Gelie in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/22): "The more
surreal aspect of President Bush's visit to Mongolia is
probably the fact that this was the easiest portion of his
Asian trip. President Bush is never complacent with
dictatorships; he is often contested by `older' democracies.
But when it comes to new democracies Bush is at his best.
Especially when they send their soldiers to fight alongside
the GIs. For Washington, Mongolia is an important
steppingstone in the region. On the aftermath of a Chinese
visit that was marked by tension, the White House is back to
its regional strategy game of Monopoly. But with Congress and
the Pentagon concerned about China's new rise in power,
Beijing would have to be blind not to see America's
containment maneuvering to secure strategic alliances in
Central Asia. Washington has more than one weapon available:
the other is economic. What remains to be seen is whether
Washington will opt for dtente or is preparing for a cold
war."

Israel- Political Change

"Sharon Wants a Political `Big Bang'"
Jean-Christophe Ploquin in Catholic La Croix (11/22): "The
Lion, at seventy-seven, is still roaring. This strategist, who
has imposed new rules in the game with the Palestinians, and
given himself new margins of maneuver with the Israelis, could
well succeed in a partial pullout in the West Bank while
safeguarding the essential part of the settlements."
"Sharon Opts For a Break"
Patrick Saint-Paul in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/22):
"Sharon's wager is risky. Bearing the fruits of a successful
pullout from Gaza, all polls signaled him as a winner. But the
surprise win of the Labor party's Amir Peretz has changed the
game. Without a coalition government, Sharon must change
course. With his centrist approach he wants to offer a more
liberal economic policy and work in `favor of peace' with the
Palestinians."

Iran
Renaud Girard in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/22):
"Washington wants to give Putin enough time to convince Iran
to accept a compromise. An agreement between the White House
and Moscow was apparently reached in Pusan. But this is
Washington's last chance offer to Tehran."

"Barbs and Traps in Tehran"
Marie-Claude Decamps in left-of-center Le Monde (11/22): "In
short, whatever the new Iranian President does or says is a
source of contention and mistrust inside Iran. So much so that
the Ayatollah Khameini was forced to intervene recently in
favor of his protg asking the Iranians `to give the
government time and to stop the criticism.' A subtle sign
according to some that the problems caused by Ahmadinejad are
a source of dissent not only among the conservatives but also
a source of annoyance for the spiritual leader, taken by
surprise by Ahmadinejad's initiatives."

U.S.- France: Social Models

"The Image of the U.S. in France."
Alfred Grosser in Catholic La Croix (11/22): "In France we
willingly talk about Europe and European values, opposing them
to the U.S. We forget that they come from the Declaration of
Independence. It is true that George Bush and his
administration violate many principles. One among them is more
e
American than European: lying as political sin. President Bush
has indeed led his country in a war based on lies. Detainees
are held without trials. Torture is used either directly or by
proxy. But where in France are the Foreign Ministers whose
faces are the color of a Colin Powell or a Condoleezza Rice?
How much do our newly arrived migrants from North Africa weigh
in on our politics compared with the Hispanic Americans of
California? Oil may corrupt, but what about our robbing
Africa's wealth? The U.S. media at times does beat its own
`mea culpa,' but never France's. The negative similarities
between France and the U.S. are at times glaring: contempt for
minorities, an arrogant press. Yes, America is hypocritical
when it preaches what it does not practice. But does France
have the right to proclaim itself as a model of virtue in the
face of its supposed American fiend?"

"Virtuous Examples"
Yves de Kerdrel in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/22): "In the
U.S. there are multiple examples of `black power' in its
capitalistic society. Many other minorities are also rising.
In this regard, France is far behind. It is undeniable that
the American cocktail of affirmative action, policies of
quotas and selective immigration presents more advantages than
disadvantages. Diversity creates wealth." STAPLETON

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