Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iran, Afghanistan, Eu-Ireland, Olympics,


DE RUEHRL #1234/01 2751445
R 021445Z OCT 09






E.0. 12958: N/A

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Iran) P5+1 Talks
3. (Afghanistan) German Role
4. (EU) Irish Vote on Lisbon Treaty
5. (U.S.) Chicago's Olympic Bid
6. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media led with stories on German assistance for the victims of
the natural disasters in Eastern Asia, coalition talks in Berlin and
the coalition talks between the CDU and the SPD in the state of
Thuringia. Editorials focused on the state of the SPD and on the
coalition talks in Thuringia. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute
and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened with stories
on the disaster areas in Sumatra.

2. (Iran) P5+1 Talks

Die Welt (10/02) editorialized: "The Iranian nuclear program has been
known to the world for seven years... During this time, Tehran has
broken several agreements and brazenly lied. The world was repeatedly
confronted with new facts-and continuously reduced its demands. In
the beginning, Tehran was supposed to stop all enrichment activities
as a condition for negotiations. Prior to yesterday's consultations
in Geneva, it was said that one would be happy if the Iranians were
seriously interested in negotiations... One crushed rebellion and
several brusquely rejected offers later, Obama is in a position
where George W. Bush once was. He must realize that the mullahs only
understand the language of tough power politics. It will not work
without painful sanctions. Diplomats say let's rather have a trade
war than a war. Iran will try to show willingness to talk so that
it must not make serious concessions and prevent sanctions at the same.
Lets us no longer fall into this trap, which we have seen for seven
years. This time around we must see quick results; the process is
not the goal. The clock is ticking ever louder."
Under the headline "Highly risky game," Handelsblatt (10/02)
remarked in a front-page editorial: "The world is upside down in Geneva
while the Americans treat Iran's negotiators courteously, Europeans are
working towards tougher sanctions. Although Iran has secretly built
a second facility to enrich uranium, President Obama stays calm and
sticks to his policy of an extended hand.... The U.S. government wants
to rid Iran of any excuse to talk itself out of trouble. Against
this background, he offers a policy at an eye level, hoping that the
other side will repay him by making concessions. Obama is playing a
highly risky game. He wants to make a breakthrough in the Mideast
policy, which has been deadlocked for decades... However, the chances
are not very good.... Tehran does not yet show any interest in an
Iran insists on the right to enrich uranium, deceives [the world]
and is getting closer to nuclear bombs.... Ahmadinejad's offer to
enrich uranium abroad has the taste of delaying tactics. The Iranian
government knows that time is on its side. Other countries in the
Persian Gulf region, Russia and Germany have made this proposal in
vain before. Obama's soft approach has two advantages. The
theocratic regime's argument of the U.S. Satan no longer works and
it isolates itself internationally if it rejects the mediation
Obama, on the other hand, can point out that he has tried everything...
Iran would be wrong to interpret Obama's approach as an impression
of weakness."

3. (Afghanistan) German Role

Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/02) argued that "among the burdens of the
international Afghanistan mission is the renewed conflict among the
organizations working in the country. It is well-known that there
are frictions between UN mission chief Kai Ede and leading ISAF

The same is true for the hundreds of NGOs in the country. But now
there has apparently also been a clash among top UN officials. In
addition to personal antipathies, there is also a factual dissent.

The UN acts in a strictly legalistic way, while the Americans have
been criticizing President Karzai for a long time. It is hard to
say who is right, but in case of doubt, it is the one who supports the
view that it is better to leave it to the Afghans to settle their
problems on their own."

Under the headline: "UN Accepts Election Fraud," die tageszeitung
(10/02) argued: "With Peter Galbraith, the massive election
falsifications have found a prominent victim. Ban Ki-moon fired
Galbraith had called for a profound investigation of the
manipulations carried out by President Hamid Karzai. But his boss,
Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, only wanted cosmetic checks which would no
change Karzai's victory.... We can assume that Ban does not fire such
high- ranking U.S. diplomat without prior consultations with Washington

That is why Ban's decision also falls back on Obama, who accepted
the resignation. With this move, the United States and the UN have now
accepted the electoral fraud in Afghanistan. What is even worse is
that, in the future, NATO and ISAF, including the Bundeswehr, will
support an illegitimate government in Kabul. This undermines the
credibility of the international military mission in Afghanistan but
also in the sending states. The result is another nail in the
coffin of the democratization of Afghanistan which was promised with
such grandiloquent words."

Under the headline: "Speculation Over Soldiers," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (10/02) reported that the government in Berlin dismissed a
report according to which it is planning to increase the Bundeswehr
forces in Afghanistan to 7,000 soldiers. Deutschlandfunk had reported
that, in the framework of the extension of the Bundeswehr mandate for
the mission in Afghanistan, the ceiling could be lifted from 4,500 to
7,000 soldiers. The Defense Ministry called these figures "mere
speculation for which there is no basis." FDP defense policy
spokeswoman Birgit Homburger told Die Welt: "There is currently no
need for such an increase. Currently 4,225 soldiers take part in
the mission and the ceiling [of 4,500 soldiers] has not been exhausted.

SPD defense policy expert Rainer Arnold demanded coordinated moves
of all countries involved. He said that "all countries must do more of
everything." He called the figure of 7,000 soldiers "utopian" and
advocated sending more trainers for Afghan soldiers. The paper also
refers to a report on ARD-TV according to which the CDU/CSU plans to
considerably increase the number of trainers.

Regional daily Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (10/02) opined:
"Speculation about an increase of Bundeswehr forces to 7,000
soldiers makes clear one thing: Neither Germany nor NATO nor the Unite
States currently has a strategy on how to progress in Afghanistan.
While ISAF commander McChrystal wants to increase the forces, U.S.
Defense Secretary Gates has doubts about an increase; and President
Obama is still waiting for inspiration. That is why there is no reason
for Germany to jump to conclusions and this in view of the fact that
skepticism among Germans is increasing rather than decreasing. It
is foreseeable that the pressure on the CDU/CSU/FDP coalition to send
more forces will grow. But it is also clear that Obama wants to
reduce the number of forces even during his term."

4. (EU) Irish Vote on Lisbon Treaty

Sddeutsche (10/02) headlined "Worries in Brussels," noting that
"even a yes by the Irish does not suffice for EU reform" because the
Czech president Klaus may be able to delay ratification until April

hoping that possible new British Prime Minister Cameron might reverse
British ratification of the treaty. The paper highlights: "A no would
means that the European unity is at risk." Handelsblatt (10/02) noted i
a feature article: "For the second time, the future of the EU lies in
the hand of the Irish. A no to the Lisbon Treaty would be a catastroph
- also for the Celtic tiger.
However, also a yes would not be a deal done... More trouble would
follow if Czech President Klaus were to succeed in delaying the
ratification of the Lisbon Treaty until next spring."

5. (U.S.) Chicago's Olympic Bid

Several papers carried reports on the upcoming vote of the
International Olympic Committee on the host of the 2016 Olympics.
The papers present the bids of the various cities and wrote that
President Obama has traveled to Copenhagen to support Chicago's bid.
Under the headline: "You're On!," Tagesspiegel (10/02) opined: "How
many balls can an outstanding juggler keep in the air? In the
political arena, President Obama hardly misses an opportunity to
test his skills. In the United States, many people are now waiting for
the first ball to fall. Between the debate on healthcare reform,
Afghanistan strategy, and climate change, President Obama flew to
Copenhagen to get support for Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

However, if he returns empty-handed, people will interpret this as
his personal defeat. For the time being, the Obamas are relying on
their international rock star status. In addition, there is the
seductive force of the dollar: in Chicago, the IOC can expect a high
profit from TV rights. But this is a fact about which the Obamas and
the U.S. media remain silent. Irrespective of whether we have jugglers
superstars or presidents --in general they do not want to have other
Gods besides them."

Under the headline: "Critics Scoff At Obama's Trip," Spiegel online

(10/02) wrote: "In Copenhagen, President Obama and his wife will
deliver a presentation, explain Chicago's bid and conduct
confidential talks with IOC officials like during a party congress. In
view of such a double tour de force, the goal can only be the gold
medal, like the Dream Team of professional U.S. basket ball players
during the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, for whom any other result
would have been an insult. In addition, Obama will hardly like to fall
back behind Tony Blair who, as British PM, in 2005 successfully brought
the 2012 Olympics to London. And all this in view of the fact that
Obama's team has prepared their mission for the Olympics like a
military general staff. For weeks, his staff has been working on
influencing representatives from IOC countries, and they also did
this at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh."

Under the headline: "Obama's Courtship," Frankfurter Allgemeine
(10/02) reported: "The U.S. President as petitioner with the IOC,
this has never happened before. But [presidents] are doing a lot to ge
the permission to organize the Olympics. This Friday, the most
important man in the world will leave behind the Afghanistan mission
and healthcare reform for a few hours to appear at the IOC session
in Copenhagen. The potentate in the pose of a petitioner. But this is
not all. In order to gain the support of the IOC and the votes for

Chicago, he is accepting something that each state leader, who is
particular about his charisma, avoids as much as he can. Obama is
now risking to be seen as an unpopular loser in the end. The question
of whether his charisma will suffice to mollify the IOC is open. Obama
will have to work hard to get the IOC votes."

Die Welt (10/02) carried a lengthy report under the headline:
"Obamas Are Smiling For Olympia," and reported: "Involuntarily, the IOC
is demonstrating in Copenhagen how things have gotten out of control.

For years, the IOC members have been concerned that the Games do not
turn into an over-dimensional event that can no longer be organized.
But the awarding of the Olympics to one city is already going off
course. Since billions of dollars are moved for infrastructure and
organization, applicants used to fly in their state leaders in
addition to prominent supporters. Shortly before the showdown,
Barack Obama has come for a few hours to Copenhagen. For the
duration of his stay, life in the Danish capital is threatening to come
to a standstill; even subways could be stopped for a brief period of
time. And even before his arrival, Barack 'yes-we-can' Obama is
everything But IOC members see the offensives of charm and the
charisma of the most powerful man in the world and his colleagues
with skepticism, even though they feel flattered...."

6. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform

Under the headline: "Obama's Sick Reform," die tageszeitung (10/02)
editorialized: "Dr. Obama, where is your truth serum? What the
Americans need in the debate over healthcare reform is no longer a
tranquilizer: Barack Obama can remove fears and the feeling of
unease over the project called healthcare reform only by presenting
clear facts. He can go to as many town hall meetings and talk shows as
possible to try to get support for his project but, at the same
time, he must describe the ways on how to bring about a reform of the
U.S. healthcare system. If millions of people get something they did
not have before, then millions of other people are afraid of losing
something. The majority of people who are not covered are African
Americans and Hispanics. Many whites are wondering why they should
pay for them. The healthcare issue which the President has set in
motion again has turned into an issue that includes racist
But Obama must also clearly address this."


© Scoop Media

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