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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Potus in Asia, Afghanistan, Armistice Day,

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RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1429/01 3161153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121153Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5744
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 1718
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0433
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0951
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2461
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1473
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0650
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 001429

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 CH JA FR EU GM
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: POTUS IN ASIA, AFGHANISTAN, ARMISTICE DAY,
MUSLIMS IN GERMANY;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. President Obama in Asia
3. Strategy on Afghanistan
4. Armistice Day
5. Muslims in Germany

1. Lead Stories

Primetime TV newscasts and many newspapers opened with the suicide
of one of Germany's best soccer goal keepers, Robert Enke.
Frankfurter Allgemeine led with the Franco-German friendship and the
commemoration of the end of World War One. Berliner Zeitung
reported that SPD Bundestag caucus leader Steinmeier has distanced
himself from the policy of delaying the retirement age until 67.
Editorials focused on the death of Robert Enke and Franco-German
relations.

2. President Obama in Asia

Several German papers carried lengthy reports on the President's
trip
to Asia, highlighting that Asia is seeking more independence from
America as China is becoming a new superpower.

Under the headline "Critical fans," Sueddeutsche reported that
"Japan's new government is breaking away from America and is looking
for new alliances in Asia.... Japan owes its decades of economic
prosperity to its proximity to the U.S., but it now sees its future
in Asia, particularly economically. Tokyo is currently looking for
its future place in the world. Obama is still coming as a senior
partner, but also as a debtor. Japan's and China's central banks
hold 45 percent of America's foreign debt."

Under the headline "Old Superpower meets new superpower,"
Handelsblatt reported: "U.S. President Barack Obama will meet a
stronger China during his trip to Asia. He is demanding from
Beijing to bear more responsibility in the world-and must resolve
many issues. Ten months after his inauguration, Obama is beginning
his geo-strategically most important visit.... Unlike his
predecessors, Obama is trying to integrate Beijing as a global
partner. However, unlike George Bush, Obama is also representing a
weaker superpower."

Tagesspiegel headlined "Obama believes in Asia," and wrote in its
intro: "President Obama is beginning the first Asian trip of an
American President who has lived in Asia as a child.... His
courtesy calls through the world's most dynamic region is a rescue
operation, not so much a visit by a friend. Asia has emerged out of
half a decade of American supremacy. Following the financial crisis
that started in America, the rising continent is looking for more
independence."

3. Strategy on Afghanistan

Under the headline "Last chance in Afghanistan," Handelsblatt
editorialized: "The question of how many soldiers President Obama
would deploy is not the right one now. The question rather is
whether there still is a clearly defined mission in Afghanistan. If
the answer is yes: can the goals still be reached after eight years
of innumerous mistakes, fruitless strategies and errors? The
political significance of what Obama has to declare in the coming
weeks cannot be overestimated. Only if the strategy is convincing,
will everybody else stay on board. Whatever the result will be, it
will be the last chance in Afghanistan."

Frankfurter Allgemeine opined on the German Defense Minister zu
Guttenberg's call for an exit strategy in Afghanistan: "The word
exit strategy implies that a clear and imminent date for withdrawal

BERLIN 00001429 002 OF 003


could be set. U.S. President Obama will probable send tens of
thousands of additional soldiers to Afghanistan. They won't go home
the day after tomorrow. And Obama will ask the NATO countries for
support. What will zu Guttenberg say?"

4. Armistice Day

All German media carried lengthy reports on the French festivities
commemorating the end of World War One, focusing particularly on the
close Franco-German relationship.

Deutschlandfunk commented: "Armistice Day in France was commemorated
for the first time without a survivor of the Great War and with the
German head of the government. This is a turning point.... Without
Germany, France cannot advance its European agenda, and the German
government cannot effectively act without the partner in Paris....
For the Europe of 27 members, it is a necessary, although not
sufficient, condition that the German-Franco motor is working. The
motor and the chassis must therefore be adjusted to the new
conditions... Besides being friendly to each other, France and
Germany do not work and think alike. Prussian pragmatism meets
Gallic hierarchical thinking, which Merkel and Sarkozy literally
personify.... However, concerning the content, Merkel and Sarkozy
are much closer than many media realize.... They have been
reaching agreements on all important crisis decisions, and together
they are allowing the deficit to explode by violating all Maastricht
criteria. A German-Franco minister would only be of symbolic
significance. If the French want him, why not? It can't cause much
damage. However, real progress counts.... The French seem to be
ready for much, the Germans are hesitating. We need visions and
courage today more than symbols."

Frankfurter Allgemeine led with the headline "Merkel and Sarkozy
strengthen Franco-German friendship. A German chancellor
participated for the first time in the commemorations on the end of
WWI." On its front page, Frankfurter Allgemeine editorialized: "It
is indisputable that Sarkozy has realized that significance of
Franco-German cooperation after half of his term. The British
economic crisis and the likely change of power towards more
Euro-skepticism accelerated Sarkozy's change of mind. It is now up
to the German chancellor to make proposals and not allow the French
president to push her with his flood of ideas."

Sueddeutsche carried a front-page photo of Chancellor Merkel and
President Sarkozy under the Arc de Triumph. The caption is
headlined "Gestures of reconciliation. A German government leader
took part in the commemoration of the end of WWI for the first
time." Under the headline "Triumph of friendship," Sueddeutsche
editorialized: "Millions of French and German soldiers had to die
before this became possible. If you had told this to the men in the
trenches of Verdun, they would have seen it as a delusion. However,
a chapter of history is now coming to an end. The German-Franco
friendship has finally taken over November 11... The Arc de Troimphe
reminds us of many attempts to form Europe. It looks like a
triumphal arc of the Roman Empire, which was a multiethnic state.
It stands for Napoleon's attempt to subject Europe to French rule.
It saw the attempt of Nazi Germany to force Europe under the rule of
one race. Apart from the French and German anthem, the European
hymn was now played under the arc. It applies to all Europeans and
goes beyond the German-Franco friendship."

5. Muslims in Germany

All German media carried prominent reports on the verdict, welcoming
the maximum sentence for the murder of an Egyptian woman.

ARD-TV's Tagesthemen commented: "With the maximum sentence... the
chances are good that we will be spared the anger of the Mullahs and

BERLIN 00001429 003 OF 003


the experience of the cartoon dispute.... This trial reminds us of
a sad truth that got lost during the jubilation of the fall of the
Wall celebrations. With [German] unity, xenophobic violence
increased significantly... Even the death of the Egyptian al
Sherbini would not have made much news if there had not been the
fear of an outcry in the Arab world. We are loosing a bit of
freedom with every 'nationally liberated zone.' The court has
administered justice. Freedom and human rights, however, are not
defended in courts alone, but also on every playground."

Die Welt editorialized: "The maximum sentence did not come as a
surprise because there were no mitigating circumstances. We cannot
image a worse crime than killing a mother in front of her child.....
Alex W. is an example for how integration can fail, although the
culture of the immigrant was not that different to the German
culture.... Only one hundred Muslims gathered outside of the court.
This demonstrates that the propaganda, which wanted to make Alex W.
an executer of an allegedly xenophobic sentiment in Germany, has not
caught fire. The Muslim citizens of Germany do not believe this
nonsense."

Tagesspiegel opined on the commotion the case originally caused in
the Arab world: "The outrage was partly unfair and fueled by
misinformation. However, without it, Marwa al Sherbini, the first
victim of the German headscarf hysteria, would have been only a
number in the body count of hate crimes, as so many other killed
people."

MURPHY

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