Cablegate: Media Reaction: G-20, Unga, China, Honduras, U.S.-Travel,

DE RUEHRL #1192/01 2681135
R 251135Z SEP 09






E.0. 12958: N/A

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Economic) G-20 Summit
3. (UNGA) Reaction to Obama Speech, Iran
4. (China) Climate Protection Proposals
5. (Honduras) Power Struggle
6. (U.S.) Travel Alert
7. (Germany) Bundestag Elections/Afghanistan

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media centered on the development of a new vaccine against
HIV/AIDS and on the debate in the UN General Assembly, while
Frankfurter Rundschau opened with the State Department's travel
alert for U.S. travelers to Germany. Editorials focused on the
meeting of the UN General Assembly, the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh
and the upcoming Bundestag elections. ZDF-TV's early evening
newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened
with the UN General Assembly's resolution on the abolition of
nuclear weapons.

2. (Economic) G-20 Summit

All papers carried factual news reports on the beginning of the G-20
summit meeting in Pittsburgh. Sueddeutsche opened a report with a
remark by Chancellor Merkel: "G-20 Summit is 'Decisive,'" while Die
Welt headlined: "G-20 Summit Threatened to become Insignificant,"
arguing that the feeling of urgency has gone and that there is no
pressure to approve regulations any more. Handelsblatt headlined
"British Insist on G-20 to be New Global Government," and reported:
"Britain's PM Gordon Brown several times said that he wanted to make
the G-20 a kind of global economic government. His close aide
Shriti Vadera was a key player in Brown's preparations for the
London [G-20] summit at the beginning of April. To everyone's
surprise she stepped down from her job as undersecretary for the
economy. It will now be her main task to implement a framework
agreement on "sustainable and balanced growth.' With this move,
Brown is now adding another controversial aspect to the tense
relations between he British and Americans the one side and German
on the other side."

ZDF-TV (9/24) commented: "A year ago, the world looked into an
abyss. The looming collapse of the global financial system made the
governments all over the world join forces and take action. But
this unanimity is over now. The reason is not only the U.S. and
British governments but also Chancellor Merkel and Finance Minister
Steinbr|ck's catalogue of demands they will present at the G-20
summit. Their list is oriented to the mood among the German voters
rather than the goal of effectively regulating financial markets.
The duo Merkel-Steinbr|ck is calling for effective control over
financial products and markets, but why is the government not doing
its homework by trying everything to protect customers from highly
risky investments? There is no doubt that an international
framework agreement must come. But by then, the German government
should do its homework first."

Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (9/24) broadcast the following
commentary: "Symbols instead of strategies, repentance instead of
rules. These will probably be the signals which the most powerful
leaders in the world are likely to send to the world after the
Pittsburgh G-20 summit. There is a great lack of agreement, even
within the EU, let alone in the rest of the world. That is why the
summit from Pittsburgh will leave the people feeling helpless rather
than hopeful. The tactical moves of the German government must also
be blamed for this.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (9/25) editorialized: "It was not the poor
bonus rules that caused the greatest banking disaster of all times.

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The reason was the blind trust of many elites in the forces of the
markets, a lack of regulations, and cheap money from the central
banks - but primarily the knowledge of the boards of the banks that
the state will help them in case of an emergency. To eliminate all
these deficiencies is complicated, for at issue are capital
requirements for banks, credit levers, and anti-cyclical reserves.
Such terms are hardly conveyable to the public. That is why many
G-20 leaders - and with them the media - prefer to turn to the issue
of banker bonuses. This is certainly popular but it will not
prevent the next crisis."

Financial Times Deutschland (9/25) argued: "Unlike what Chancellor
Merkel wants to make us believe, it is more than an obvious red
herring that Britain and the United States want to put the issue of
global imbalances on the agenda of the G-20 summit. This is a
genuine international problem and Germany is a big part of this
problem. German critics argue that a global economy which lives on
credit must collapse at some time in the future. But they do not
mention that it is countries that are dependent on exports such as
Germany or China which made possible the consumption craze of U.S.
consumers, and that they profited from it. In order to avoid future
crises, it is decisive to approve financial market regulations but
also global trade imbalances."

Regional daily N|rnberger Zeitung (9/25) judged: "Let us not fool
ourselves: politicians always lag behind developments. They can
only react to shortcomings while the financial sector is already
exploring new possibilities to bypass looming sanctions. It is an
advantage for the financial actors that politicians must always
agree on the smallest common denominator. Especially the British
and Americans - both economies are strongly dependent on a
flourishing financial sector - are again throwing spanners into the
works. In the end, the Pittsburgh summit will again produce
grandiloquent declarations which no banker needs to fear. That is
why the sad consequence of all this is that, following this crisis,
we are facing the next one."

3. (UNGA) Reaction to Obama Speech, Iran

S|ddeutsche (9/25) noted in an editorial commentary: "This is the
moment of truth in New York for Tehran, Washington and Moscow.
President Obama has made Russia's dream come true and stopped the
missile defense shield in Eastern Europe shortly prior to the UN
General Assembly, where the Iranian nuclear program was marginally
discussed. America and Russia deny that both events have anything
to do with each other, which now sounds fairly ridiculous, and can
only be explained by the years of rhetorical armament. Admitting
now that Moscow are doing each other a favor would be a loss of
face, or even a sellout of national interests. In fact, we can only
welcome it when Moscow is reaching out to Washington a little bit
and exerting more pressure on Tehran.... Moscow's political capital
in Tehran was fantastic compared with that of Washington. It is
time to convert this capital into results. Russia has complained
for years that the missile defense shield blocks good relations with
America. Moscow can now prove that this was not just an excuse.
America should examine this offer with due mistrust."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/25) opined: "We can assume that President
Obama's utopia of a world without nuclear weapons is pursuing the
goal of preventing the proliferation of such weapons.... The
Russians may play the game for some time to increase the pressure on
Iran. However, in the past, the Russian tactic was: one step
forward, one step backward."

Die Welt (9/25) editorialized on its front page: "With a dramatic
gesture, Barack Obama made an advance payment. Unlike his
predecessors, he paid the UN the highest respect in an attempt to
open a new chapter in the American policy on the UN and prove that

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the principle of dialogue is not a defensive one. By his moves, he
wanted to get other countries, which tend to be rogue states, to
also make a move. It remains to be seen whether this will happen.
Looking at the history of the UN, this is an illusive hope. As if
they wanted to prove this, Libya's dictator Qaddafi and Iranian
President Ahmadinejad delivered aggressive and delirious speeches,
indicating that they are not at all thinking to do justice to the
honor of the house. Both of them showed that they continue to be
wiling to use the UN as a stage to polemicize against the West and
to forge an anti-Semite and Anti-American alliance. They good thing
is that the world is watching when these men make fools out of

Berliner Zeitung (9/25) editorialized: "Apart from a few exceptions,
the leadership of the countries in the broader Middle East,
including in Iran, is a catastrophe. Most leaders are senile,
brutal, ignorant or dangerous. And some of them are all of that.
The performance of Libya's leader Qaddafi in UN General Assembly can
be described as bizarre, but not dangerous. However, Iranian
President Ahmadinejad not only denied the Holocaust but also
threatened Israel and indulged in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
More than seven decades ago, the Nazis made such thinking their
ideology and acted accordingly by murdering millions of Jews and
starting a world war. Ahmadinejad's speech is anti-Semitic and
dangerous, particularly for Iran and his own people.... The speech
will further isolate the country, preventing us from finding a
reasonable solution for the nuclear conflict and provoking new

Tageszeitung (9/25) commented: "The first days of the UN General
Assembly was at best an unnecessary media spectacle. At worst, it
has made resolving the world's most pressing problems more
difficult. Given the bad experience with the unilateral and
UN-hostile Bush administration, Obama's push for multilateral
efforts and the renouncement of America's leadership role were good,
but charisma alone does not suffice. Many UN members indeed desire
the U.S. to play a constructive leadership role, particularly in
conflicts like the Mideast, in which Washington has the tools to
find a solution, and also in global challenges like climate change,
in which the U.S is part of a problem."

4. (China) Climate Protection Proposals

Under the headline: "Beijing's Hot Balloon," Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(9/25) argued: "All of a sudden, China also wants to be a model in
climate protection. China's President Hu Jintao had hardly finished
in speech in New York, when he was effusively praised. But we
should deflate this hot air balloon before we begin a factual
discussion. Here are a few facts: first, China is globally the
biggest producer of greenhouse gases; second, China is opposed to
binding reduction goals and Hu did not change this in New York;
third, China's economy is rapidly growing and needs a lot of dirty
coal for its energy supplies. This cannot be changed overnight
because Hu discovered this issue so late. China as a model in
environmental protection? If this is the case some time in the
future, we would be delighted but currently it is too early to say
this. It is good that environmental protection has become an issue
in the Chinese leadership, but unfortunately, Hu did not mention
concrete figures. We could at least call upon Hu to mention the
year when China's emissions are to go down. But the fact that this
remains open is disappointing shortly before the World Climate
Conference in Copenhagen."

5. (Honduras) Power Struggle

According to die tageszeitung (9/25), "the economic elite is aware
of the fact that it is not the European Union and the United States
which are ruining the country (Honduras) by cutting their economic

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and military assistance. It is the elite itself that is the
problem. The Organization of American States (OAS) should use the
current situation for a new negotiating attempt. It has talked for
too long with the clowns in the [political] arena. It must now go
to the circus directors in the background. They know how to get rid
of someone like Micheletti."
6. (U.S.) Travel Alert

Regional daily Ostsee-Zeitung of Rostock (9/25) editorialized: "The
fact that Germany is in the crosshair of terrorists is not really
new. The thwarted attempts of the 'suitcase bombers' and the
Sauerland terrorist group have made clear that [the terror alert] is
not mere talk. But the danger lurks in the neighborhood. We must
take the risk seriously. Still, the U.S. travel alert for trips to
Germany is irresponsible. There are no real indications of a
special or new threat towards Americans. They are safer here than
they would be in many cities at home. That is why [such travel
alerts] do serious security analyses a disservice because the limits
between a genuine and an alleged terror danger will be blurred."

Under the headline: "Among Friends," Frankfurter Rundschau (9/25)
opined: "It would be careless to consider the travel alert a kind of
pearl on a chain of evidence according to which a terror threat is
imminent in Germany and that the United States, not the German
government, is warning its citizens against such a threat.. No,
such alerts are not unusual on the international stage. But unlike
the German government, which rarely issues such alerts, the State
Department wants to be on the safe side. For the U.S. laws would
allow possible victims to demand compensation from the government.
In the current travel alert for Germany, it is said that there is
the danger of being accosted by skinheads or rowdies or to get
involved in brawls in Germany. One may add that this danger is
currently very high at the Oktoberfest in Munich. We should not
minimize the terror threat but we should not overestimate it

7. (Germany) Bundestag Elections/Afghanistan

Deutschlandfunk radio (9/24) remarked on the foreign policy of the
grand coalition: "Concerning the foreign policy of the grand
coalition, Chancellor Merkel has made clear from the start that she
is the boss. Foreign Minister Steinmeier had to leave the red
carpet to her again and again, while he was doing the tough work in
the Foreign Ministry.... Germany remained a reliable partner in the
EU, NATO and UN and did its bit as a medium-sized power in
international crises. However, some things went wrong: Merkel's
opposition to presidential candidate Obama's speech at the
Brandenburg Gate and the request to take Guantanamo detainees has
not been forgotten in Washington.... In Afghanistan, the German
government played the role of the headmaster and told NATO partners
to take a 'comprehensive approach'... Although the German
contingent has grown, the security situation deteriorated and the
Bundeswehr is increasingly involved in fights for which it is
inappropriately armed. The German government has also failed to
train [Afghan] police forces."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/25) editorialized on its front page: "For
a short time, the topic of Afghanistan seemed to get the
significance in the election campaign that the mission of thousands
of German soldiers would deserve. However, German election
campaigners of most parties, particularly those of the coalition
government, have quickly turned away from the topic again because
Germany's partners candidly call the mission a war and because it is
unpopular. The Left Party is an exception, which popularly but
irresponsibly calls for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan....
The assessment of the most senior American commander in Afghanistan
made clear what the new German government will have to do....
General McChrystral demands more troops, more trainers, more aid

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workers - in short, more resources - to defeat the Taliban and
improve the situation of the Afghans.... A defeat would have grave
consequences for NATO and the security of it members. Fighting
separately and losing together - this is the disastrous outlook. We
cannot go on like this. The costs are too high. However, the
current engagement does not help us reach our goals."

Handelsblatt (9/25) editorialized on its front page: "Never before
was there such a rift between the uncertainty of the electoral
outcome and the clear necessity of what the future policy will look
like. The rivals and voters know that the next German government
faces an agenda that requires tougher decisions than that of the
last grand coalition. The dimension of the program will push aside
any party politics."


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