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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Mideast, Imf, Eu,

VZCZCXRO5351
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1263/01 2811154
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081154Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5428
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 1611
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0316
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0835
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2352
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1361
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0544
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 05 BERLIN 001263

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 AF XF EFIN EU IT
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN, MIDEAST, IMF, EU,
ITALY;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan) U.S. Strategic Deliberations
3. (Mideast) Goldstone Report
4. (Economic) IMF/World Bank Meeting
5. (EU) Future of Lisbon Treaty
6. (Italy) Implications of Court Ruling for Berlusconi


1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's primetime newscast Heute led with a story on the financial

constraints of the German health care system, and ARD-TV's primetime

Tagesschau opened with a story on the EU Commission's deficit
warning
to Germany and other EU member states. Newspapers led with diverse
stories, including the coalition talks, the overturning of Italian
Prime Minister Berlusconi's immunity law, the raid against Islamic
extremists in Berlin, and the acquittal of German aid workers in
Italy. Editorials focused on German health care policy and
Berlusconi.

2. (Afghanistan) U.S. Strategic Deliberations

Several German media (10/08) reported that President Obama is
searching for a "middle road" strategy in Afghanistan. Frankfurter

Allgemeine headlined: "Obama: no withdrawal and no doubling of the

troops." Sddeutsche headlined: "Slalom course in Afghanistan -
U.S.
President is looking for the middle ground between the calls of
military commanders for more troops and his war-weary party."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/08) editorialized: "President Obama is
facing fierce opposition in an increasing number of political
fields.
And this time the wind is blowing from different directions. Left-
wing members of Obama's own party and Republicans are encircling
him.
It does not come as a surprise that he is wavering. However, it
would
be dangerous if he were to become a weak indecisive leader. In his

policy on Afghanistan, the Obama government does not seem to know
what
it wants to do when and with how many soldiers. Destroying al
Qaida?
Preventing the return of the Taliban? Stabilizing Pakistan? Obama
is
aware of the disgruntlement of Americans, particularly among his own

voters.... The deep rift between the parties on such a critical
question of war and peace is regrettable and marks the general loss
of
a consensus."

Under the headline "Last act in Afghanistan," Sddeutsche (10/08)
opined that "Obama is agonizing over the future strategy." The
paper
wrote: "Can Afghanistan be won? Obama must answer this simple
question .... President Obama is again tempted to demand a quick
change
of strategy and, with it, raise hope in the West that the situation

will quickly improve. The patience of the Afghans is not the
problem,

BERLIN 00001263 002 OF 005


but it is that of the voters in the U.S., Germany, Canada and
elsewhere. This impatience has a simple cause: voters no longer
know
why the troops have been deployed to Afghanistan and what they are
supposed to achieve there.... Above all, Obama must deliver a
reasonable explanation for the mission in 2009. He must define a
goal
that makes sense and offers an exit plan. The strategy to deploy
fewer or more troops must then serve this purpose.... Obama will
have
to do the job himself, he cannot hope for support from his allies
because the mission has become an American one. No other Western
government leader has the power to call for a final joint effort.
Unfortunately, Obama is giving the impression that he is not up to
this Herculean challenge... Obama is loosing himself in details
while
trying to balance the views of his Vice President with those of the

commanders. This is a wasted opportunity to enthuse the public
during
this difficult stretch at the end of the mission. Can Afghanistan
be
won? Yes, because we have all pieces of the puzzle. More troops
will
be necessary to train more Afghan security forces in a short time.

More aid workers are necessary in order not to lose the moderate
[Afghans] More political imagination is necessary to forge a last

pact with the impossible as well as indispensable Hamid Karzai and
to
further weaken the wavering front of the Taliban."

3. (Mideast) Goldstone Report

In a lengthy front-page editorial, Die Zeit (10/08) opined: "The
U.S.
government commented that the Goldstone report was 'one-sided' and
'flawed with serious mistakes,' thus preventing the report from
having
any impact within the framework of the UN. After reading the report

we wonder why. In the report, Goldstone calls upon both Israel and

Hamas to investigate the crimes they committed during the Gaza War
and
to prosecute those who are guilty. But this appeal will
unfortunately
be wishful thinking. That is why Goldstone recommended transferring

the UNSC report to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
But
obviously, this would involve too much uncovering of the truth. The

"Causa Goldstone" could now be considered another chapter in the
political drama of the Middle East, but Barack Obama has promised
that, under his government, there would be no business as usual in
the
Middle East. In his address to the UNGA, Obama said there would be
no
security without respect for human rights and the legitimate claims
of
the Palestinians. But exactly this is addressed in the Goldstone
report. By hiding the report in the poison cabinet, the U.S.
administration is now forfeiting the political capital which Obama
has
created with his speeches in the Middle East.... For the first time


BERLIN 00001263 003 OF 005


since 9/11, a UN fact-finding commission has now unmistakably called

upon all states to stick to international law even in asymmetric
wars.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. has adopted this principle, but should it
not
be valid for Israel? Such strategically motivated hypocrisy comes
at
the right time for all the Ahmadinejads, al-Qadhafis, al Bashirs,
Mugabes, and Mubaraks, who are increasingly denouncing the idea of
international investigations and criminal courts. At issue are not

dictators and autocrats but civil rights activists, lawyers, doctors

and trade unionists in the abovementioned countries who are risking

their lives and who are pinning their hopes on the West for
promoting
and ensuring the idea of universal human rights - and who have to be

reminded again and again that the West is applying double standards,

i.e. that a U.S. life is worth more than an Afghan life, that an
Israeli life is worth more than a Palestinian one."

4. (Economic) IMF/World Bank Meeting

According to Berliner Zeitung, "the financial and economic crisis is

by no means over, even though politicians in Europe and America are

talking about the next economic upswing. Such was the case during
the
G-20 summit, when all participants agreed that the international
community must help the victims of the crisis. The question is who
is
going to decide on such [aid] measures. The G-20 had decided that
the
threshold countries should get a greater say in the deciding bodies
of
the IMF and the World Bank. But as in the past years, the Europeans

with the Germans at the helm are blocking such reasonable reforms.

Instead of tackling the real problems in poor countries, they are
haggling over their influence. This is also one way to demonstrate

that the signs of the times are yet to be recognized."

Under the headline: "Profiteers of the Economic Crisis," die
tageszeitung observed: "If there is one winner of the current global

economic crisis, then it is the IMF. Before the outbreak of the
crisis, the situation for the prophets of neo-liberalism from
Washington was dismal. Today, one year after Lehman Bros.
insolvency,
the situation is totally different. At the annual IMF/World Bank
meeting, the management of both institutions made clear that they
did
not want to forfeit this opportunity. They presented a concept with

which they would be able to safeguard their new abundance of power.
A
real reform of their neo-liberal ideology, however, is hardly
visible.
A new rhetoric is visible, but otherwise, whenever possible, the old

demand remains for 'free markets.'"

BERLIN 00001263 004 OF 005

5. (EU) Future of Lisbon Treaty

Die Welt (10/08) commented: "With its calm and relaxed policy, the
EU
is doing the absolutely right thing. [Czech President] Klaus will
take care of himself. However, he has sustainably damaged the
justified criticism of the EU. Apart from his senseless delaying of

tactics, this is the real damage done. A few years ago, the
Economist
complained that Silvio Berlusconi is the most embarrassing thing
that
could have happened to the idea of economic liberalism. Something
similar could be said about Klaus and his Euro-skepticism."

6. (Italy) Implications of Court Ruling for Berlusconi

Almost all papers (10/08) carried reports on the ruling of Italy's
Constitutional Court to suspend Italian Premier Berlusconi's
immunity.
"Court Suspends Berlusconi's Immunity," headlined Die Welt, which
reported: "Following headlines of alleged affairs and wild parties,

the conservative prime minister is now threatened by the resumption
of
several proceedings. At issue are accusations of corruption and
several tax violations. After two days of consultations, the ruling

did not come out of the blue. But Berlusconi was unimpressed by the

ruling and rejected calls for his resignation. Sueddeutsche
headlined: "Berlusconi Can Now Be Charged - Italy's Constitutional
Court Overturned Immunity Law- Premier Threatened with Several
Corruption Trials." The paper reported: "Italy's government leader

Silvio Berlusconi can now be prosecuted. This is the result of a
ruling by Italy's Constitutional Court from Wednesday evening.
Italy
awaited the ruling with bated breath because it could have political

consequences for Berlusconi. Government politicians mentioned the
possibility of new elections if the Court pronounced a negative
ruling. Berlusconi, however, who enjoys great support among
Italians,
ruled out such a possibility." Berliner Zeitung carried a
front-page
picture with a grim looking Berlusconi under the caption "No Longer

Immune."

Under the headline: "Citizen Berlusconi," Sueddeutsche (10/08)
argued:
"Berlusconi had feared nothing more than the overturning of these
laws, for it means that two proceedings against Berlusconi can now
be
resumed. At issue are charges of corruption and the influencing of

justice authorities. It is hardly imaginable that this situation
would not result in the resignation of the affected politician in
any
other European country. One thing is certain: Again, troubled
Berlusconi will now have to deal more with his personal affairs than

with governing his country. The government in Rome is again semi-
paralyzed and Italians are guessing what ruses and interpretations
Berlusconi and his supporters will now use to get out of the
trouble.

BERLIN 00001263 005 OF 005


And that he will try to get out of this troubled situation seems to
be
the only thing that is certain."

"Italy Getting More Normal," headlined Die Welt (10/08), and opined:

"The decision of the Constitutional Court to resume the proceedings

against leading Italian politicians will result in many things in
Italy but not one thing: political calm and risky future projects.
We
could now say that Italy will become a little bit more normal, even

more European, but at the same time, Italy is losing part of its
genuine historic memory, for instance the memory of self-confident
Borgian Pope Alexander VI, who was reprehensible as far as morality

was concerned, but who was an excellent and sly politician for the
concerns and interests of the country."

According to Handelsblatt (10/08), "Silvio Berlusconi's system of
immunity has now collapsed. Berlusconi's supporters will consider
the
ruling as another piece of evidence of Italy's judges leaning to the

left and are organizing a smear campaign against Berlusconi.
Nevertheless, the ruling is a bad defeat for the prime minister. He

has now lost his nimbus of being untouchable."

Regional daily Badische Zeitung of Freiburg (10/08) judged: "Now
there
can only be one consequence: resignation. Berlusconi's lawyers
argued
that a prime minister cannot take care of the well being of the
country if he is at the same time being prosecuted. This is an
accurate statement the conclusion of which should be: a prime
minister
who is unable to take care of the well being of the country because

justice authorities are prosecuting him, should not be prime
minister."

Regional daily General-Anzeiger of Bonn (10/08) editorialized: "Only

if Silvio Berlusconi disappears from the political stage of his
country, can Italy move again. The deep trench between the left and

the right-wing in the country could then be overcome; and Italy's
international reputation, which Berlusconi has seriously damaged,
would then reemerge."

Regional Nrnberger Nachrichten (10/08) noted: "The past is now
catching up with Berlusconi. With tailor-made laws, Berlusconi
evaded
prosecution by Italian justice authorities. But this was even too
much for Italy's highest court. Such godlike immunity is not even
condonable for the average Italian who is used to scandals."

MURPHY

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