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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Missile Defense, G20, Climate

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R 221300Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5267
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
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RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1300
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0486
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BERLIN 001174

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PAPD, EUR/PPA, EUR/CE, INR/EUC, INR/P,
SECDEF FOR USDP/ISA/DSAA, DIA FOR DC-4A

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"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE"

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E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO GM AF US RS IR IS XF
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: Afghanistan, Missile Defense, G20, Climate
Change, UN, Mideast Peace Process, Travel Promotion Act, German
Elections

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. Afghanistan
3. Climate Change
4. G20 Summit
5. Missile Defense
6. UN-U.S. Relations
7. Mideast Peace Process
8. Travel Promotion Act
9. German Elections

1. Lead Stories

Primetime newscasts and many newspapers opened with stories on the
upcoming Bundestag elections, focusing particularly on the CSU's
promises to cut taxes. S|ddeutsche led with a story headlined "West
threatened with defeat in Afghanistan." Editorials focused on the
CSU's promise to cut taxes and on a controversy over the German
electoral system.

2. Afghanistan

Frankfurter Allgemeine commented: "McChrystal's assessment is
dramatic, and due to its clarity there will not be great rejoicing
in the White House, the Congress and among NATO partners.
McChrystal's conclusion is unambiguous: we either have to increase
troop levels dramatically and adopt a new strategy to fight
insurgents, or the international engagement will fail. The
alternative is so crystal clear-the moment of truth has come for
politicians in America and other NATO countries. They must make a
great effort to counter the skepticism among their people and the
irresponsible advice to leave the country immediately. President
Obama has delivered many great speeches; now he must deliver on
Afghanistan and make clear why the engagement is necessary."

Under the headline "And another strategy," Sueddeutsche's commentary
highlighted that "the new commander in Afghanistan wants to change
everything." The paper skeptically concluded: "Above all, the right
idea to deal with the difficult Karzai government and the Taliban is
painfully missing. The mission on Afghanistan is tumbling from one
strategy to another. An impression of a crude tactic remains."

Regional Pforzheimer Zeitung editorialized: "The fact that so many
Germans reject the mission in Afghanistan might have several
reasons. However, one of them certainly is that the German
government is not resolutely standing by it. There is no reason to
feel ashamed of that. With the principal decision in favor of the
fight in Afghanistan, the government represents the interests of the
people more clearly than any other area. We can debate the
strategy and the size of the troops, but not the mission in
Afghanistan."

3. Climate Change

Sueddeutsche commented: "The interests of the large countries of
this world-from China to the United States-are too different to let
us hope for a climate agreement.... Europe is at risk of becoming a
continent of nice words. The EU took the lead in the fight for
climate protection, but the alacrity clearly waned in recent months.
The EU member states are starting too few common research
initiatives... Regardless of how tough climate change will hit
Europe, the world needs new and renewable energy resources that
produce less carbon dioxide. If the EU focuses more on research it
could not only fight climate change but also exit more successfully
from the economic crisis."

In a front-page commentary on the G20 and the UN, Tagesspiegel

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noted: "The climate and financial crises share the fact that both
are the result of a gigantic failure of the market. In the case of
climate change, the rationality of the markets failed to asses the
real price of economic activities.... Only politicians can
influence climate change in a way that its consequences do not lead
to disaster."

Under the headline "Yes we can-but not yet," Spiegel Online reported
from Washington that "the post-Kyoto agreement is the main focus of
the UN summit in New York, but the U.S. is stuck in a climate
debate. Environmental protection has many opponents-and they are
well-organized. Even his own party is stabbing President Obama in
his back."

4. G20 Summit

Die Welt commented: ""When in doubt, national interests will be the
priority of the new tenant of the White House. Obama will oppose
any measures at the G20 summit this week in Pittsburgh that could in
any form limit Wall Street's international dominance. Hopes for
creating a new financial world are waning. Particularly Obama must
be blamed, although he is not the only one responsible for it. What
about principles? They come second. The purpose is more important,
like in the case of tire imports from China, on which Obama just
imposed heavy punitive tariffs. This move ridicules all of his
fancy speeches on free trade.... Obama does not think much of
partners and principles as soon as they are unfavorable....
Europeans and their politicians would be well-advised to realize
where they stand. Obama is a very normal politician.... If Europe
wants to make sure that progress is made, it must take the
initiative itself. It is not be good enough to hope for America to
lead the way selflessly."

5. Missile Defense

Frankfurter Allgemeine editorialized on its front-page: "There is
no doubt that the decision not to deploy a missile defense shield in
Poland and the Czech Republic removed an obstacle that was dividing
Washington and Moscow... The first keynote speech of NATO Secretary
General Rasmussen on a new beginning of relations and the offer to
cooperate with Russia on missile defense, which was synchronized
with Obama's announcement, shows that a diplomatic knot was supposed
to be cut... The speech of a new beginning describes the situation
better than that of the reset button, which suggested that an
existing program had to be rebooted. .. Can America expect
something in return for its renunciation? For Moscow, the move is
only a sign that Obama's friendly words are followed by action. We
might see indications of whether Russia is prepared to take action
when Obama meets President Medvedev on the margins of the G20 and
when the negotiations on a post-START agreement take place. Obama's
announcement loosened the American-Russia knot, it did not cut it.
That won't be possible."

6. UN-U.S. Relations

Sueddeutsche carried a feature on the President Obama's presence at
the UN summit this week, highlighting that "when Barack Obama was
elected President Europeans hoped to be able to look for common
solutions with the U.S. in the framework of the United Nations.
However, they are now facing a solo run by Obama. The UN General
Assembly in New York will serve him as a stage on which he can
present himself to his people at home as a leader of the world. Ban
Ki-moon, the weak UN Secretary General has little resistance to
offer."

7. Mideast Peace Process


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Under the headline "Low Expectations-Israel will insist on
settlements during the Mideast summit," Sueddeutsche reported in its
intro: "Prior to this Tuesday's planned summit between President
Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President
Abbas, Palestinians and Israelis have lowered expectations. Both
sides suggested that they only want to explain to Obama their
opposing points of view."

Tagesspiegel commented: "Mission not achieved, goal reached. The
American Mideast envoy Mitchell failed to lead the Israelis and
Palestinians back to the negotiating table. However, the trilateral
meeting with Obama is still taking place in New York today. The
meeting will hardly produce more than nice photos from which only
Obama and Netanyahu will benefit, not Abbas. Even among Abbas'
people it is bitterly realized that the meeting is a victory for
Netanyahu because he did not comply with Obama's call for a building
freeze. Obama can show the world that he is still actively engaged
in the attempts to create peace in the Middle East. Abbas stands
accused of having yielded and being weak."

8. Travel Promotion Act

Under the headline: "The entry fee has to go," Saechsische Zeitung
editorialized: "This whole endeavor is outrageous, annoying and
simply unacceptable. And it is downright paradoxical to justify the
introduction of this fee by calling it an instrument for travel
promotion.... If you ask for an admission fee, you hinder rather
than promote tourism, particularly since excessive security
regulations are already deterring many EU citizens from implementing
their (U.S.) travel plans. Last but not least, the concept is
hurting the U.S. reputation at a time when the country is still
suffering from (its bad image) under the Bush Administration. It is
thus in the best U.S. interest to forego this fee. However, this
also means that the EU countries must speak up - clearly and with
one voice."

9. German Elections

Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio commented: "Angela Merkel is a
precision mechanic of power who always considers the likely outcome
before she takes action... One of these cases is to continue the
grand coalition after the German elections. She likes this idea
better than she publicly admits because as long as she is Chancellor
nobody will be a threat to her."

Die Welt commented: "This election campaign is most remarkable, not
just because the candidates have little to say and their
well-performed presentations do not conceal that they are boring and
lack content. The fact that the most important topic is not debated
makes this election campaign unique. The financial and economic
crisis with its consequences for public budgets and the prosperity
of the people is playing a minor role so far. Politicians are
refusing to debate this and voters are caught in the mire."


MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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