Cablegate: Media Reaction: Financial Crisis, Economic, Eu-Russia,

R 121202Z NOV 08





E.0. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: Financial Crisis, Economic, EU-Russia,
U.S.-Afghanistan, U.S.-EU, Mideast, Obama, Congo, Burma

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Economic) Financial Crisis
3. (Economic) U.S. Car Industry Problems
4. (EU-Russia) Energy Policy, Partnership Agreement
5. (U.S.-Afghanistan) Future Policy
6. (U.S.-EU) Future Cooperation
7. (Mideast) Peace Process
8. (U.S.) Obama Presidency
9. (Africa) Congo Violence
10. (Burma) Punishment Of Dissidents

1. Lead Stories Summary

Editorials focused on the debate over Germany's future nuclear
storage site, the debate over the suspension of the vehicle tax for
new cars, and the controversy among the CDU/CSU and the SPD on a
proposed reform of the inheritance tax. ZDF-TV's early evening
newscast Heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened
with reports on the transport of nuclear waste to the storage site
at Gorleben.

2. (Economic) Financial Crisis

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted: "The strong growth of the
finance sector reflects the fact that the prosperity of many nations
increased over the past few years. But in this context an
uncontrolled growth has taken place. Now the time for politicians
has come who want to give global growth a new structure. It is now
necessary to create a framework of rules for a globalized finance

Financial Times Deutschland opined: "The financial crisis is not an
industrial accident caused by human failure but a systematic crisis
of the global economy. We will not resolve this problem by adopting
tougher rules and by taking revenge on individual actors. The
attempts to do this are part of the great mistakes of the modern
economic policy for which we will have to pay dearly."

3. (Economic) U.S. Car Industry Problems

According to Financial Times Deutschland, "Barack Obama entered the
election campaign with the main promise to break the old backroom
policies that have prevailed in Washington. If he does not want to
forfeit his reputation...he should not accept the deal that
President Bush suggested with the approval of a controversial
approval of trade agreement with Colombia in return for the support
the automobile bailout package. This is all the more true because
the bailout package for U.S. car industry does not focus on a
question that can be offset with an individual trade agreement.
Such far reaching decisions should not be made in backrooms. "

Sueddeutsche Zeitung argued: "President Bush was right: there are
too many car producing plants in the United States. They can be
preserved only by producing energy-efficient, fuel-saving cars for
prices that the consumer can afford. That is why the money package
from Washington should not be the beginning of a global competition
for subsidies but only a unique opportunity for self-help"

In the view of Handelsblatt, "the state must avoid passing the buck
to other generations, and it must set clear economic priorities.

First of all, state subsidies should not keep alive companies that
are no longer competitive. One yardstick must be whether such
companies will be able to repay state subsidies. Only one of the
three car manufacturers in the United States will be able to survive
in the long run. That is why it would be economically reasonable to
use these subsidies to initiate the liquidation of unprofitable
companies and cushion off the painful adjustment to these
developments for the workers."

4. (EU-Russia) Energy Policy, Partnership Agreement

Financial Times Deutschland argued: "In view of the geo-political
reality it is totally correct that the European Union is now giving
up its principle [to transfer the concept of liberalization and
anti-trust regulations to third countries]. Russia, the most
important natural gas supplier for the EU, has consistently refused
to accept common rules. The fact that [the EU] is now at least
trying to counter the monopolist from the East with its own
activities, shows that a more realistic view on Russia is gaining
the upper hand in the EU. In a naove way, the Europeans had hoped
that they could include principles of its energy charter in the
planned partnership agreement with Moscow. But obviously, it has
now bidden fare well to this illusion."

Frankfurter Allgemeine commented: "With the exception of Lithuania -
even Poland was persuaded--all EU member states are in favor of
continuing the negotiations. This is a gesture of reaching out, not
one that rewards Russia. It is in the interest of all EU countries
to put the relationship with Russia on a contractual basis."

S|ddeutsche commented: "The fact is that the conditions Brussels set
for Russia have not been meet - withdrawal to the borders before
August 7. Some 8,000 Russian soldiers are still in Abkhazia and
South Ossetia. But at the end of the day, something else really
matters. Europe wants more energy security, and it wants to speak
with one voice to Russia to avoid a split up into bilateral
conflicts of interests.... Everybody, including Russia, will
finally benefit from the partnership agreement."

5. (U.S.-Afghanistan) Future Policy

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung assumed that the Afghanistan conflict
will soon help cool down the enthusiasm in Europe about Barack
Obama. "Even if he is likely to choose a different approach next
year, he will send more soldiers to Afghanistan and demand the same
from the Europeans," the daily wrote, and concluded: "Obama should
not raise demands and his partners should not come up with their
defensive reflex right at the start. But obviously, this reflex
functions even without Bush."

6. (U.S.-EU) Future Cooperation

S|ddeutsche commented: "The world needs new tools and a new
understanding of cooperation. Europe has both things on offer, and
Obama's America is ready for change. Europe's moment has come if
Europeans quickly agree on how they see their future with America."

Die Welt editorialized: "The conditions for reviving the
transatlantic relationship have not been so good for a long time.
Obama enjoys European bonus of trust and, with the triumvirate of
Merkel, Sarkozy and Brown, he will deal with the most pro-American
team in decades. Given this unique situation, both sides of the
Atlantic must take action."

7. (Mideast) Peace Process

Under the headline "Annapolis is dead," S|ddeutsche commented: "This
was a first-class funeral: During the recent Mideast meeting in
Egypt's Sharm el-Sheik, Secretary Rice called on Israelis,
Palestinians and all Mideast brokers to continue the 'Annapolis
peace process' under the next government. This sounded great but it
is not worth anything because President-elect Obama and other
representatives of the Mideast Quartet will ask themselves what it
is they could continue. Looking at it in a sober light, there is
not much [that can be continued.] The Israelis negotiated with a
Palestinian government that represented only half of the people.
The Palestinians negotiated with an Israeli government whose power
was limited because of its domestic problems. Neither the
Palestinians nor the Israeli government could therefore have
implemented any peace solution."

8. (U.S.) Obama Presidency

According to Tagesspiegel, "the United States has currently a de
facto dual presidency. George W. Bush has the formal power until
January 20, but Barack Obama is already grabbing for political
power. The headlines focus on him, and Bush is about to leave
office. On the pictures we saw from the first visit of the future
president to the White House, Obama seemed to lead the former one
and not vice versa. Obama's pace is unprecedented, and he wants to
use the impetus of the election to consolidate his image . But
expectation management is as important these days as the preparation
for taking over power. When it comes to Iraq, one no longer talks
about a total withdrawal from Iraq but on halving the U.S. forces in
the coming years. In Afghanistan, the talk no longer focuses on a
quick increase in forces but on the search for a new strategy. But
the overwhelming issue remains the economy. Obama is still up in
the air for ten more weeks, only then will he be the sole

9. (Africa) Congo Violence

In the view of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "the Africans are
unable to resolve the conflict in eastern Congo on their own. One
reason why African crisis management is so meager is that some
important actors simply lack the will to strive for a non-violent
solution. The meeting between Congolese President Kabila and
Rwanda's President Kagame lasted just five minutes. At the same
time, UN observers have recognized the first Angolans who are active
on the side of the [Congolese] army. It was right that the German
government and its European partners send a military mission to
Congo, arguing that the region would be decisive for creating a
'zone of stability' in Central Africa. But nothing remains of this
hope today. But the time of telephone diplomacy and debates over
whether the Africans should take care of this crisis by themselves
is over. There is still a chance to prevent new war crimes instead
of dealing with them years later in The Hague."

10. (Burma) Punishment Of Dissidents

Berliner Zeitung opined: "On Tuesday, Burma's generals obviously
returned to their former die-hard course and sentenced 23 Burmese to
long term imprisonments. Only a camp such as the one in Guantnamo,
where the United States keeps prisoners for many years without a
trial, can serve as a comparison. These questionable and inhuman
verdicts make clear one thing: democratization such as the generals
understand it, does not offer room for different opinions. With
George W. Bush's departure, the oppressed Burmese will lose one of
their most prominent advocates: Laura Bush. But there have never
been more than a few pithy words and more or less ineffective
sanctions. The Burmese have known for a long time that they cannot
expect help from abroad. And the barbaric verdicts from Tuesday can
now even break the last will of resistance in the country."


© Scoop Media

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