Cablegate: Media Reaction; the Us Pentagon's View of Iran and Chavez;
DE RUEHBU #2056/01 2901334
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171334Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9496
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002056
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; THE US PENTAGON'S VIEW OF IRAN AND CHAVEZ;
ARGENTINE PRO-WEST FOREIGN POLICY; ARGENTINE PARIS CLUB DEBT;
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's key international stories include the US Pentagon's view of
Iran and Chvez as threats to the region; Argentina's alleged
'pro-West' foreign policy; and Argentine Paris Club debt
2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS
- "According to the US Pentagon, Iran and Chvez pose threats to the
Ana Barsn, leading "Clarn's" Washington-based correspondent, writes
(10/17) "During a first encounter with Washington media, Stephen
Johnson, Latin American policy analyst at the US Pentagon, showed
concern over Venezuela's arms purchases, which, in his view, could
set off an arms race among its neighbors, and also about Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's trips to the region.
"Johnson aligned himself with the US Department of State when he
said that the US should not have a confrontational policy but that
it should reinforce ties to the other countries of the region.
However, his rhetoric was stronger than the one generally used by
his counterpart in US diplomacy, Tom Shannon.
"In response to a question from 'Clarn,' Johnson termed the Iranian
president's recent trip to Venezuela and Bolivia as 'an attempt to
establish alliances that could well change the balance of
influences' in the region. This is something we should take
seriously.' 'We cannot say that we will use (military) force to
fight this, unless we are first open to taking steps to improving
our cooperation with our neighbors, and this is the approach we are
using right now.'
"... During a press conference at the Inter-American Dialogue...,
Johnson said: 'If Mr. (Hugo) Chvez is able to ensure the release
(of hostages) by resorting to the FARC's good will..., this would be
"Nonetheless, Johnson criticized the way the Venezuelan president is
purchasing weapons. He acknowledged that every country has the right
to its own defense, but, in his view, Venezuela has surpassed all
limits in this regard."
- "Discreetly 'pro-West'"
Daily-of-record "La Nacisn" carries an op-ed piece by historian
Carlos Escud, head of the Center of International Studies at CEMA
University and CONICET main researcher, who opines (10/17) "...
There have been deep discrepancies between Kirchner's strategy and
that of Chvez and Evo Morales...
In November 2006, after Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral issued
a warrant for the capture of eight former Iranian government
officials, picketer D'Ela ... said that the Argentine judicial
ruling was part of a Zionist-US conspiracy against the Islamic
"After that, the picketer was out of the government. There was no
doubt about Kirchner's real orientation.
"... Kirchner also prevented D'Ela from becoming an opponent, and
lowered the prevailing malaise among the Government's militant
sectors, which envisioned that the Argentine Government was getting
closer to the US and distancing itself from Venezuela.
"And this was precisely what was happening. Caracas' rapprochement
to Tehran and evidence that the Persian regime was involved in the
attack against AMIA led Kirchner to draw a line. He maintained his
financial and dynamic alliance with Chvez, although he distanced
himself from (Chvez's) adventures in the Middle East. Additionally,
this limit was in line with that of the White House in its own ties
to Caracas. Finally, Kirchner's address to the UN in September 2007,
in which he criticized Iran regarding the AMIA case probe, confirmed
that his foreign policy is discreetly pro-West."
- "Crucial negotiation"
Conservative "La Prensa" editorializes (10/17) "Negotiations to
cancel Argentina's debt to the Paris Club will put an end to the
stagnation of recent months and create a promising horizon, although
it would be too risky to anticipate outcomes before reaching a
definitive deal. The Paris Club debt is pending from the time the
country defaulted on its public debt...
"The Argentine Government has enough financial resources to honor
this commitment, although until now, it has rejected the possibility
because, according to the Paris Club by-laws, any payment would call
for a deal with the IMF, which could include macroeconomic
conditionalities. In order to overcome obstacles, the Government
offered to selectively pay some countries without an IMF deal, but
creditors rejected the many options the Argentine Government
"These conditions have changed following the appointment of the new
IMF director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is promoting a more
flexible stance, whereby the payment could be made with some form of
Argentine commitment and without a formal IMF deal. This option
would favor every side, particularly our country, because it would
be a milestone towards putting our financial situation on a sound
track and could also try to attract investment from corporations
based in industrialized countries, which currently cannot obtain
guarantees from their governments to invest in the country...
"However, international financial players still hesitate because of
the absence of structural reform and the lack of control over
"A firm political decision would be indispensable in Paris Club debt
negotiations in order to obtain a more flexible position from
creditors, which would improve Argentina's position in the
international financial market while attracting investment."
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