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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dprk, Afghanistan, Imf, Economic, Honduras,

VZCZCXRO4223
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1258/01 2801201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071201Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5413
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1605
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0308
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0829
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2346
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1355
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0538
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 06 BERLIN 001258

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

VIENNA FOR CSBM, CSCE, PAA

"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE"

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO KN AF EFIN ELAB HO US EU
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: DPRK, AFGHANISTAN, IMF, ECONOMIC, HONDURAS,

DOLLAR, OBAMA, EU;Berlin

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (DPRK) U.S. Relations
3. (Afghanistan) Future U.S. Strategy
4. (Economic) IMF/World Bank Meeting in Istanbul
5. (Economic) U.S. Labor Market Policy
6. (Honduras) Power Struggle
7. (Economic) Weakness of The Dollar
8. (U.S.) Obama Administration
9. (EU) Future of Lisbon Treaty

1. Lead Stories Summary

Newspapers led with a variety of stories. Frankfurter Allgemeine
led
with a report on perceived disarray in U.S. leadership regarding
future strategy in Afghanistan, while Sueddeutsche reported that
Deutsche Bahn will increase its fares. Die Welt highlighted the gap

in the healthcare fund and the two Berlin dailies focused on a
decision by Berlin's Constitutional Court that allowed two petitions

for a referendum. Editorials focused on the coalition talks, the
future of the SPD, and the plan of Deutsche Bahn to increase fares.

ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute opened with a report on the
coalition talks, while ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau
opened with a story on the gap in the healthcare fund.

2. (DPRK) U.S. Relations

In a lengthy report, "North Korea Sets New Conditions in Nuclear
Conflict," Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote that "China was unable to
prompt North Korea to return to nuclear talks. During a trip to the

communist neighboring country, China's Minister President Wen Jiabao

was unable to achieve a breakthrough. Pyongyang rather set a new
condition for a return to the negotiating table. North Korea's
dictator Kim Jong-il told his Chinese visitor that progress in
bilateral North Korean relations must be achieved before North Korea

returns to the Six-Party talks. At the same time, there are
indications from SoQh Korea that North Korea is pushing the
reconstruction of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities."

Under the headline: "Time for Negotiations," Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(10/07) argued: "Since China is either unwilling or unable to exert

greater pressure on Kim Jong-il, President Obama must shoulder the
responsibility of implementing an effective policy towards North
Korea. But for much too long, Washington's foreign policy has
neglected this trouble spot on the Korean peninsula. The U.S.
government is strongly considering sending a special envoy to
Pyongyang. This would be a good first step. It would be illogical

for the U.S. to refuse to enter into talks when the North Korean,
recognition-craving dictator so desperately wants them. If a
military
option is unthinkable, then talks under set preconditions must take

place. In the long run, Obama should have the courage to implement
a
new strategy in North Korea. This includes genuinely listening to
the
North Koreans. For years, they have repeated at every opportunity
that they want better relations with the United States. If
Washington

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accepted this request garnished with tough disarmament demands, Kim

could be forced to negotiate. But currently, both sides are
watching
each other closely, and no one wants to make the first step, while
the
dictator continues to build the bomb."
3. (Afghanistan) Future U.S. Strategy

Several papers (10/07) picked up Secretary Gates' statement on the
commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, noting

that Gates said on CNN that advice should be given to the President

privately. Under the headline "America's leadership at odds over
strategy on Afghanistan," Frankfurter Allgemeine led with a report
saying that "the debate about the mission in Afghanistan is becoming

more critical in the U.S. and Britain." Sddeutsche headlined:
"U.S.:
no withdrawal from Afghanistan," and added that, "in the fierce
debate
over the approach on Afghanistan, the White House ruled out
withdrawing [from Afghanistan]." Tagesspiegel headlined "U.S. calls

on NATO partners in Afghanistan," quoting Gates as saying: "The
reality is that because of our inability and the inability, frankly,

of our allies to put enough troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban
have
the momentum right now, it seems."
Under the headline "Rebellion in the Pentagon," Berliner Zeitung
(10/07) analyzed "Barack Obama wanted to make the far-reaching
decision calmly and after careful consideration. That's impossible
as
civilian and military leaders in Washington debate the future
strategy
on Afghanistan in public.... There is even talk of a rebellion of
generals.... Obama is having difficulties with the military advice
of
his commander in Afghanistan.... Since the massive election fraud,

Washington is increasingly doubtful over whether Afghanistan's
problems can be resolved with more troops.... Influential advisors
are
therefore suggesting more modest goals: containing the Taliban,
airstrikes against al Qaida.... At the end of the day, Obama will
have
to decide whether he believes that the hope of achieving a more
stable
Afghanistan is still realistic." Frankfurter Rundschau carries the
same analytic article under the headline "Rebellion of the
generals."
[Note: Berliner Zeitung and Frankfurter Rundschau belong to the same

publishing house, Neven DuMont, and increasingly share reports.]


Under the headline "Failure on the home front," FT Deutschland
(10/07)
editorialized: "For the U.S. President, the most important front in

the war against the Taliban is not in Afghanistan, but at home.
Obama
is facing a strategic landmark: he must decide whether to meet the
demands of his commander McChrystal for more troops - or whether to

support those who favor a complete change of strategy; withdrawing
soldiers to focus on the targeted fight against al Qaida. The

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President's problem is that, regardless of what his decision will
be,
the war he inherited from his predecessor will become his war
entirely....The eroding support for the mission on the home front
has
parallels with the Iraq war. Bush also had to make the
strategically
difficult decision to deploy more troops in Iraq against the will of

the people, instead of withdrawing. As heated as the debate in the

U.S. currently is, Afghanistan might turn into a similar debacle,
just
like Obama's health care reform. In both cases, discussion has
broken
out.... Just as Obama did not for a long time make clear his plans
for
the health care reform, his details on Afghanistan also remain
vague....
The White House is failing to dominate the debate - also because
Obama
still seems to be undecided. The longer it takes to reach a
decision,
the lower the approval of the mission will be."

4. (Economic) IMF/World Bank Meeting in Istanbul

Several dailies (10/07) reported on the meeting of the IMF and the
World Bank in Istanbul. All papers focus on the riots that broke
out
during the meeting. "Riots Overshadowing Discussion Over IMF
Reform,"
headlined Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The sub-headline of the
report states: "The IMF wants greater power because of the Economic

Crisis, but Bundesbank President Weber is Opposed." The paper
reported: "In the meantime, the reform of the IMF has resulted in
little progress measured against previous expectations. The reform
of
voting rights is especially controversial. The threshold countries
in
particular are pressing for greater influence, but representatives
of
the industrialized countries, among them the Bundesbank, insist on
previous principles according to which the voting rights should
correspond to the capital shares and the financial burden of the
donor
countries. IMF critics blame in particular Germany, France and the
UK
for demonstrating an adamant attitude."

Handelsblatt (10/07) and Die Welt (10/07) carried front-page
pictures
of broken windows, the result of turmoil between police and
protesters
who clashed at the IMF/World Bank meeting in Istanbul. A caption
from
Die Welt reads: "For many protesters, the IMF is considered a symbol

of global capitalism, because for a long time, its support for
developing nations was linked to painful economic reforms."
Handelsblatt wrote: "While demonstrators accused the IMF of being
co-
responsible for the economic crisis, IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn

called for greater power for his organization to safeguard the
stability of financial markets. World Bank President Robert
Zoellick
called for a greater say of the poorer countries."

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5. (Economic) U.S. Labor Market Policy

Under the headline: "Obama's Flash in the Pan," Frankfurter
Allgemeine
(10/07) opined: "Barack Obama is racking his brains on how he can
help
the sluggish labor market. The economic stimulus package the
President
and Congress approved in February, has not yet achieved its desired

effect. A lasting reduction of the tax burden on corporations with
a
profound tax reform would certainly be more useful. But such a
restructuring should be linked to savings at other places in the
budget. But regrettably, neither Obama nor Congress will show the
political courage and will for the foreseeable future to implement
such moves. But they should not stick to plans which would at best
be
a flash in the pan and even increase the indebtedness of the state
at
the expense of future generations."

Under the headline: "What America Teaches Us," Sueddeutsche Zeitung

(10/07) judged: "Those who want to know what is going to happen in
the
global economy should study the U.S. labor market. Since the
beginning of the recession, more than 7.2 million jobs have been
lost
and despite the biggest economic stimulus program in U.S. history,
the
cutting of jobs will continue next year. This worrying development
is
first of all evidence of how weak the U.S. economy still is. No one

is certain of the best way to create new jobs. Only one thing is
clear: Good jobs require a good education. A reform of the U.S.
schooling system is a central point in President Obama's program and

it is, therefore, of strategic significance. But the crisis
underway
in the U.S. labor market also has a global perspective. The global

economy can only recover if global imbalances are reduced, i.e. if
surplus countries such as China and Germany concentrate more on the

growth of their internal markets. For Germany, this means economic

reforms which make investments in the country more attractive."

6. (Honduras) Power Struggle

Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/07) argued: "Despite the return of former

Honduran President Zelaya and despite the dwindling support for his

successor, Micheletti, there has been some movement in the political

trench warfare in Honduras. This gives reason to hope, as every
additional day will shorten the period until the presidential
elections in November. Six candidates, who represent the entire
political spectrum of the country, are running for president. The
solution to the constitutional conflict in Honduras could be very
simple. The current government subjects the election campaign and
the
elections to international supervision, and the elected president
will
enter office in January. Micheletti would be willing to accept this

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solution, but Zelaya and his wirepullers in Venezuela and Cuba will

still have to accept that their game is over. This could be the
task
for the OAS delegation, which is en route to Honduras."

7. (Economic) Weakness of The Dollar

"Rumors Without Substance," the headline in Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
reports that according to British dailies the Gulf states together
with China, Russia, Japan, and Brazil want to replace the dollar in

crude oil trade. The daily judged: "Such rumors are again
fashionable
because many economic experts are dreaming of a new financial market

order. The fact that the Gulf states in particular want to replace

the dollar with a new basket of oil currencies sounds like a
conspiracy burlesque. But such a plan would have no use for the
Gulf
states, because they sit on billions of dollars that serve as a
long-
term investment. If Saudis and Kuwaitis are really considering such

scenarios, the greenback would face additional pressure. But no
investor voluntarily damages himself by creating doubts about the
currency in which he has made his investments."

8. (U.S.) Obama Administration

Under the headline: "Enough of the Nice Words," Die Welt opined:
"The
cheers [of the right-wing in the United States] after Chicago's
failure [to get the 2016 Olympics] was pubertal, unfair, and
basically
un-American. But it was even worse that the triumph of the
President's enemies also stimulated a still unacknowledged fear of
his
admirers: Has Barack Obama, the people whisperer, lost his magic?
Is
he only a magician who speaks nice words, but who does not know what

he wants and does not achieve anything? There has been an
increasingly irritated undertone in the liberal and left-leaning
U.S.
press. There is an Obama, the eternal hesitator, and there is an
Obama, who wants to justice for everyone. The question is what does

Obama want, and what political capital is he willing to invest for
his
convictions? These are the questions which leave many of his
admirers
feeling helpless. If he considers a public option reasonable, why
has
he never said this with clear words? Why is he refraining from
using
his clear mandate in Congress to strive to implement his ideas, even

though some may fail? Why can Obama not be more pigheaded instead
of
balking at the consequences of his ideas? How could he idly stand
by
in August as people compared him with a mass murderer, toyed with
associations to lynch him and made shrill statements against his
healthcare reform plans? Some people say that the president must
become more mature and turn from a symbol of change to a leader of
change. But he must give those who believe in him a chance for

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success or at least clarity. We have heard enough nice words."

9. (EU) Future of Lisbon Treaty

Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/07) editorialized on the front page: "In

case the conservatives win the elections next spring, Tory leader
Cameron promised the people a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty-if it

has not come into force by then. It takes little imagination as to

what the outcome of such a referendum would be: The Lisbon Treaty
would be as dead as a doornail. Cameron can only secretly wish that

he does not have to keep his promise. If Britain scraps the treaty
it
has already ratified, it would snub the other member states; and a
Prime Minister Cameron would certainly not have an easy beginning
among the other state and government leaders. Cameron might rather

snub his EU skeptics.... The idea that Tony Blair, a man of
yesterday,
should be a suitable EU President is difficult to understand. Not
just the Tories want to prevent him."

MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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