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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Fall of the Berlin Wall, Afghanistan,

VZCZCXRO4320
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1420/01 3141158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101158Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5718
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 1715
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0430
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0948
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2458
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1470
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0647
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 001420

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 GM US XG
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, AFGHANISTAN,
GENERAL MOTORS, EU POSITIONS;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall
3. OEF Offensive in Kunduz
4. GM/Opel
5. Top EU Jobs

1. Lead Stories

Primetime newscast and most papers opened with the festivities
celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall.
Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined: "Festivity of Freedom and
Unity-the world was watching Berlin." Business dailies led with
stories on the rapidly recovering German economy. Editorials
focused on the anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

2. 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall

German editorials focused almost exclusively today on the state of
the German reunification and on what November 9 meant to Germans.
However, Tagesspiegel noted in a front-page editorial that "the
repercussions of the fall of the Wall on the minds of so many people
throughout the world make clear that the desire for change and
freedom is ongoing."

Westdeutsche Zeitung remarked: "It is high time that we develop a
culture commemorating the happiest day of our recent history that
allows future generations to experience the struggle for freedom,
which did not end with the peaceful fall of the Wall. Let's hope
that this revolution, which began with the courage of Solidarnosc in
Poland and ended with the transformation of a world order is finally
appropriately recognized in history lessons. Maybe the biggest
mistake in the process that brought about German unity was that its
creators did not dare to make November 9 a national holiday.... It
would be good to feel encouraged by the revolution in 1989 and to
understand that our freedom is not a given.... In a time in which
our excitement for democracy and the European integration is fading
because of the difficulties arising from a globalized world and the
economic crisis, those Germans who risked everything for their
freedom should be a model."

On its front page, Frankfurter Allgemeine opined: "Two decades after
the fall of the Wall, Germans seem to be even more moved by what
Chancellor Merkel described as the happiest day in recent German
history. Many have tears in their eyes. There is no doubt that
November 9 turned into Germany's secret national holiday. It was
not made the official one because many politicians and intellectuals
believed the date also stands for a dark chapter in Germany's past.
The list of darkness spans from the November revolution after WWI
and the Hitler Ludendorff coup to the Night of the Broken Glass
pogrom of 1938.... For 20 years, November 9 has no longer just been
a day of national shame, but also one of national joy and, for East
Germans, a day of justified pride. No other day epitomizes the lows
and highs of Germany's past better than November 9."

Mass tabloid Bild editorialized: "The peaceful November revolution
was a great turning point in the history of mankind. We still have
tears of joy in our eyes. Thanks to all those politicians in east
and west who place the will of the people above their ideologies and
careers. Gorbachev risked much. Thanks to all politicians whose
heart was beating for freedom. They took to the streets with the
people and forged an alliance with them that united Germany and
Europe. The will of the people and the farsightedness of
politicians have made us happy. A good future can be build upon
this alliance of happiness."

Westdeutscher Rundfunk radio notes: "The mental differences between
the East and the West are still substantial. The economic
imbalance is not the only reason for it. We still have not gotten

BERLIN 00001420 002 OF 003


used to each other, and are suspicious of each other. Those on the
other side still appear to be strangers. This is difficult to
explain. However, this has also to do with the disappointed
expectations and the disillusionment that quickly arose after 1989.
Not just the East has changed, also the West's piece and quiet has
gone. However, despite these difficulties, this day can be
celebrated. The wind of freedom blew from the East, also to the
benefit of the West."

3. OEF Offensive in Kunduz

Berliner Zeitung editorialized: "We slowly get the feeling that the
German soldiers in Afghanistan no longer fight for our security but
are there to defend themselves. It is even worse: given that they
no longer manage to do this, American troops help out with small but
robust offensives against the Taliban, like in recent days in the
province of Kunduz. The German army did not want to participate and
would not have been allowed to do so under its current mandate.
This raises the questions: why is the Bundeswehr there? After the
ousting of the Taliban politicians supported the mission by saying
that it is about the political and economic reconstruction of the
country, noting that without military security there could be no
civilian development. While the reconstruction got stuck and
democracy became an illusion in recent years, the security situation
significantly deteriorated. As a result, the armed protection must
be increased, also where the Bundeswehr is deployed. The German
army lacks the equipment as well as the mandate to do this-and
certainly the support of the people. Before the soldiers plunge
into an endless civil war, politicians must decide what the Germans
can achieve in Afghanistan apart from fighting a war."

4. GM/Opel

Sueddeutsche headlined "Friendly Tones from Detroit," and
editorialized: "Those who believed that the haggling over the future
of the ailing Opel carmaker has come to an end must rethink. After
the stopped sale of Opel to Magna the fight is only getting started.
If it is correct what the analysts of Moody's found, GM is facing a
giant challenge. The restructuring of the German subsidiary could
cost as much as five billion euros. This is money that the U.S.
group that exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July will
hardly have. The recent visit of GM CEO Henderson is therefore
particularly one thing: a charm offensive. Apart from GM's plans,
this is also about the contribution the German government and other
countries are willing to make to the Opel factories. Those who
followed the Opel saga in recent months know what is coming next.
It will be about subsidies, jobs, keeping plants and national
interests. Although it sounds different at the moment, the German
government will find it difficult to refuse giving GM the same
assistance it promised Magna recently. However, the government is
warned. The company from across the ocean demonstrated only last
week that its position can change over night. For GM, its not about
Opel or jobs. GM cares particularly about itself. The government
should take this into account and examine carefully whether GM's
plans are sustainable."

5. Top EU Jobs

Sueddeutsche reported under the headline "Milliband's withdrawal,"
that "the British foreign secretary does not want a top EU job,"
adding: "In the race for the top EU jobs, one of the favorite
candidates has given up shortly before reaching the goal.... Former
British Prime Minster Blair, however, still desires to become the
first Council president.... Blair called several of his former
colleges in European capitals over the last weekend."

Handelsblatt headlined "Appointing top jobs in EU is being
postponed" and highlighted: "the decision-making over new top EU

BERLIN 00001420 003 OF 003


jobs is getting difficult. Eastern Europeans are now making
claims."

MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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