Search

 

Cablegate: Media Reaction: General Motors, Afghanistan, Germany,

VZCZCXRO1300
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1409/01 3101353
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061353Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5702
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 1709
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0421
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0939
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2449
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1464
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0641
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 001409

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 XF AF GM US
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: GENERAL MOTORS, AFGHANISTAN, GERMANY,
ABBAS;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. GM's U-turn
3. UN staff in Afghanistan relocated
4. German Foreign Policy
5. Fall of the Wall
6. Mideast Peace Process

1. Lead Stories

ZDF-TV's and ARD-TV's primetime newscasts opened with the protests
of Opel workers in Germany. Newspapers led with stories on the
situation of Opel, lower tax estimates, and the spread of H1N1.
Editorials focused on GM and the tax forecasts.

2. GM's U-turn

N-TV news channel argued: "The cleanest solution would be if
politicians stayed out of this and leave the restructuring of Opel
up to General Motors. If state subsidies are to be paid in the end,
the government must get something in return. This was the mistake
made in the negotiations with Magna. The German government had no
joker up its sleeve and made itself prone to blackmail."

Deutschlandfunk radio noted: "Berlin and the trade unions are acting
as if the sale to Magna would have guaranteed a great success....
Instead of insulting GM, politicians should think constructively: if
it was right to provide government assistance to Magna to secure
jobs, the same is true for General Motors. This has nothing to do
with blackmail. The decision of the new board demonstrates that a
new wind is blowing in Detroit... GM has not forgotten how to build
good cars, it has only been building the wrong ones for too long.
Changing this is an opportunity for Opel, particularly for its
branch in Ruesselsheim."

Norddeuttscher Rundfunk radio opined: "The enraged outcry only
reveals the helplessness of German politicians, who obviously have
not yet understood how the economy works. The old government and
regional governments only pursued symbolic policies with an eye
towards the elections."

Under the headline "Humiliated Chancellor," Sueddeutsche
editorialized: "The failed sale of Opel is one of the worst setbacks
in Chancellor Merkel's chancellery. Never before has she been
publically taken for a ride. Never was she so humiliated that she
had to withdraw her statements.... She now looks naQve, uninformed,
and deceived. It is not without irony that Merkel, who often stands
accused of waiting too long to make up her mind, is now criticized
for having made a decision in favor of Magna too early. Of course,
GM did not treat Merkel nicely. We could almost pity her, but only
Opel employees deserve our sympathy... Merkel has decided in favor
of a kind of invention that made free market advocates skeptical and
that was criticized by her own economic minister. Politicians must
win if they want to make the state such a big player. But Merkel
has lost, Obama has won."

Tagesspiegel's front-page editorial noted that the reasons for GM's
problems are "serious management mistakes, poor choices of car
models, ignorance towards climate change and an authoritarian
leadership of foreign plants. The latter explains the outrage with
which German employees responded to the U-turn in Detroit. To make
a new start with such a demoralized staff will be the greatest
challenge for GM. However, if the managers appointed by the U.S.
government learn from their mistakes, Opel has a good chance."

3. UN staff in Afghanistan relocated

Under the headline "The UN withdrawal encourages the Taliban,"
Berliner Zeitung editorialized: "The message of the withdrawal was

BERLIN 00001409 002 OF 003


devastating. Afghanistan does not need more military forces, but
more civilian assistance, support for democracy and development aid.
The UN is the key player in coordinating this assistance.... The
world organization is a synonym for civilian engagement of the
international community in Afghanistan. The Taliban will throw a
party. They will surely conclude that attacking the right place
drives out foreigners. This increases the risks for everybody
else."

4. German Foreign Policy

In a front-page editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine stated: "Apart
from the atmosphere, there have not been significant changes in
U.S.-German relations since the change of power in Washington.
Concerning what lessons should be drawn from the meltdown of the
international financial markets, how to counter climate change, how
to create peace in Afghanistan and how to get Iran to renounce its
nuclear ambitions, there have more often been differences than
agreements between Berlin and Washington. In other words, in
U.S.-German relations, there is no wall between the time of Bush and
the time of Obama."

Under the headline "Goodbye Guido," Spiegel Online editorialized:
"The new foreign minister's courtesy call at the White House and the
State Department was in fact a farewell." Gabor Steingart argued
that Guido Westerwelle is no longer playing the role he used to play
in recent years: "The truth is that Westerwelle's courtesy call in
Washington was a farewell. The quiet man standing next to Secretary
Clinton no longer had anything in common with the loud Westerwelle
he once was. Even the color of his ties has miraculously changed
from yellow to blue. In the past, it was thought that a yellow tie
was adhered to his chest. Journalists were speechless. He has not
made a single mistake. Even the young man from the Embassy, who
watched the visit with the sincerity of a career diplomat, could not
detect a single flaw. Perfect, he said."

5. Fall of the Wall

Under the headline "Triumph of an open society," weekly Die Zeit
wrote that "the fall of the wall is the most magnificent and
happiest moment of German democratic history.... Without 1989,
Germany would have gotten stuck halfway along the long path to the
West. That year was the most important idealistic resource of
Germany's republican democracy and ended the highly dramatic interim
period from 1945 to 1989, which is so difficult to explain nowadays.
With it, the 20th century was suddenly over."

FT Deutschland remarked in a special edition on the fall of the
Wall: "The fall of the Wall and German unity are often described as
a miracle and the lucky coincidence of history. This is certainly
right. However, the last 20 years were, above all, a huge economic
experiment. Within the shortest time, a whole country was
dismantled, a completely new system was introduced and the country
was rebuilt."

Business daily Handelsblatt carried a feature on the revival of the
East German economy highlighting: "Twenty years after the
reunification, the discussion is still going on as to whether the
East German economy could have been restructured more quickly and
successfully. However, looking at it realistically, the results are
better than could have been expected."

Under the headline "With relish for democracy," Sueddeutsche wrote
"while civil rights activists creatively fought for more freedom in
East Germany in autumn 1989, they actually toppled the regime."

In an op-ed for Frankfurter Allgemeine, NATO Secretary General
Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote that the end of German separation after

BERLIN 00001409 003 OF 003


the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago was also the end of
European division. He noted that "a united Germany as part of NATO
was a naQve dream for a long time, but this dream has come true."
He called on Germany to help redefine NATO's strategy. "Germany
must play a proper role in this process. This country has always
seen NATO as an opportunity for positive change. Today, twenty
years after the fall of the wall, Germany is called upon again to
open a new chapter in the history of the Atlantic alliance together
with its allies."

In an op-ed for Frankfurter Allgemeine under the headline "Center of
an integrated world," former U.S. Ambassador to Germany John
Kornblum wrote that Germany's central position will make the country
the linchpin of new global networks that connect Asia, Europe and
both Americas. "With a growing awareness of being at the center of a
newly integrated world, the ghosts of the past will be pushed back
gradually."

6. Mideast Peace Process

Frankfurter Allgemeine editorialized: "Rumor had it again and again
that Abbas would withdraw as a candidate. Given that he has reached
retirement age long ago, one can easily understand him. In
addition, the successor of the charismatic Arafat has been worn out
by the skirmishes under Israeli
occupation and open confrontation with Hamas radicals. It would not
be a surprise if he did not run again. His political success is
rather insignificant. However, Israel is also to blame for this,
because it never helped the moderate Abbas gain popularity by making
bold concessions. Some
Palestinians believe Abbas just wants to be asked again, which could
be true as nobody is able to say today who could succeed him."

Sueddeutsche headlined "Abbas does not want to run again," and
reported: "Putting his foot down is not Abbas' strength. But now he
has spoken clearly. After five years in office, Arafat's successor
wants to give up.... He has never been able to leave the shadow of
his predecessor.... Abbas, who
has been consistently pursuing negotiations instead of violence, is
seen by a part of the Palestinians as a poodle of the Israelis and
the Americans."


MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>