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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Potus in Asia, Afghanistan, Swift, Russia,

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
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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
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RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BERLIN 001436

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"

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO JP CH AF GM XG US
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: POTUS IN ASIA, AFGHANISTAN, SWIFT, RUSSIA,
TURKISH-KURDISH CONFLICT;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. President Obama in Asia
3. Strategy on Afghanistan
4. US-EU SWIFT Agreement
5. President Medvedev's address to the nation
6. Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

1. Lead Stories

Primetime TV newscasts and a few newspapers opened with stories on
Defense Minister Guttenberg's visit to Afghanistan. Die Welt
headlined: "NATO: exit from Afghanistan begins as of 2010."
Sueddeutsche and FT Deutschland opened with criticism from "wise
economists" of the coalition agreement. Other papers led with
stories on energy policy, protests by students and the suicide of
Germany's soccer goal keeper Robert Enke. Editorials focused on
Afghanistan and Russian President Medvedev's annual address to the
nation.

2. President Obama in Asia

Die Welt headlined "Obama is visiting a self-confident Japan," and
remarked: "When Obama started his round trip through Asia in Japan
today, he untypically focused on old and tested approaches because
Tokyo is still the most reliable partner in the region.... With
Yukio Hatoyama in Japan, Obama meets a prime minister whose thinking
is very similar to that of Obama's. Both have an idealistic
understanding of politics, the intention to limit the excesses of
capitalism and to reach out internationally-Obama to the Middle East
and Hatoyama to Asian neighbors.... Hatoyama focuses on
communicating with his neighbors, particularly China; He dreams of
an East Asian community with one currency. The question only is
which role the U.S. can play in this. Although America wants to
help integrate Asia and Hatoyama stresses how important America's
participation is, China is not interested... Given an unpredictable
China, Japan needs the U.S. nuclear shield and therefore inevitably
continues to be a junior partner. Concerning relations with
Beijing, Obama is thinking of his own interests: when he travels to
China on Sunday, he wants better access for American goods to the
Chinese market, a more dollar-friendly currency policy and China's
cooperation in the dispute with Iran."

FT Deutschland headlined "Obama is discovering China" and
highlighted that "Obama is advancing rapprochement with China on his
Asian tour. Americans pursue political as well as economic
interests in the region. They want to win back lost power." In a
separate article headlined "U.S. fears for its influence in Asia,"
the paper wrote: "President Obama must also improve the image of his
country during his tour through Asia."

Frankfurter Allgemeine noted, in a report that quotes a White House
spokesman as saying that Obama is the first American President who
truly focuses on the Pacific, that "within the ten months of his
presidency, Obama visited Europe four times and made stopovers in
the Middle East-in Turkey and Iraq. He is now for the first time
traveling to East Asia.

3. Strategy on Afghanistan

Die Welt led with the headline: "NATO: exit from Afghanistan begins
as of 2010," noting that "NATO is planning to hand over certain
territories to Afghan security forces as early as next year." The
paper notes: "For the first time NATO is making clear what the
long-demanded exit strategy could look like and when it might
begin."

In a front-page editorial Die Welt wrote: "President Obama has
obviously returned recent draft proposals to the planning

BERLIN 00001436 002 OF 003


departments. Experts for fighting insurgency believe that 600,000
soldiers would be necessary to create peace in the country. We can
neither recruit that many soldiers nor could we fund them.
Therefore, the goals must be more modest. If we succeed in
permanently separating the Taliban from al Qaida terrorists,
responsibility could be handed over to the Afghans within a few
years. We must however prevent the impression that the recent
mission was a mistake and that the soldiers killed there died in
vain. Afghanistan is no longer a terror camp. This success must
remain."

Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined "Obama not yet determined to
increase troops-U.S. Ambassador in Kabul warns against taking
premature steps." In an editorial, the paper remarked: "U.S.
Ambassador to Kabul EIkenberry and Commander McChrystal were seen as
a dream team: everything would get better if they had the necessary
means. But it was only a dream because the two don't agree at
all.... This is more than unpleasant and increases Washington's and
NATO's dilemma. They call on President Karzai to root out
corruption, adding that they might otherwise withdraw. This is an
empty threat because NATO is not in Afghanistan to achieve 'good
governance,' it is there in its own interest."

Under the headline "Plan of amateurs," Sueddeutsche editorialized
that "Obama's new strategy on Afghanistan is talked down and
therefore loses its power." The paper added: "All players must now
demonstrate agreement and unity and express willingness to exert
massive pressure. Obama and his team are closely watched because
their decisions point the way to the future of the last step of the
mission. This is about demonstrating political and military power,
and supremacy. This is the only way to raise hope among Afghans and
allies."

4. US-EU SWIFT Agreement

Berliner Zeitung and Frankfurter Rundschau carried a joint
editorial: "It looks like Europeans were outsmarted in the
negotiations with Washington. This alone is bad enough. However,
it is audacious that the EU leadership wants to finalize the
agreement one day before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force. After
that, the approval of the EU parliament would be required. The
CDU/CSU-FDP government does the right thing to block the project.
It must under no circumstances give in. Such a sensitive document
should not be agreed upon with out the participation of
parliamentarians. So far, the EU could not even credibly make clear
that the U.S. terror investigators will treat the European banking
data carefully. The leadership of the community is afraid of a
debate because it fears its own citizens."

FT Deutschland (11/12) editorialized: "Shortly after the
nerve-racking time following the attacks on September 11, 2001, it
might have been understandable why the EU surrendered to the U.S.
security madness. It no longer is. Until today, security
authorities have not come up with any proof that such widespread
interference with data protection rights is in a reasonable balance
with the purpose. It is therefore all the more shameful that the
Swedish EU presidency and the EU commission want to give the U.S.
even more power. The U.S.-EU agreement reads as if the Department
for Homeland Security dictated the terms... The most horrific thing
is that the U.S. would be allowed to pass on the data to third
countries. Those who know that Washington cooperates with dubious
governments in the fight against terrorism must really be
concerned.... National governments are the only forces that can
still stop this nonsense. If the FDP takes its identity as a civil
rights and data protection party seriously, it must make sure that
the German government applies the emergency brakes."

5. President Medvedev's address to the nation

BERLIN 00001436 003 OF 003

Sueddeutsche editorialized: "Medvedev's analysis of the economic
structures of the country is so critical that the head of the
government must get the jitters. However, Putin must not be
concerned about remaining in power. His popularity is still higher
than that of Medvedev. The president must leave behind the shadow
of his predecessor.... The key question therefore is: when will he
be able to implement his ideas. The problems Russia has are
enormous."

Frankfurter Allgemeine opined: "Russia must modernize all it
has-this was the tone of Medvedev's speech.... These are great
words. But Medvedev, who is the president at Putin's mercy, has not
yet shown that he has the power to take action to back up his
accurate words."

Die Welt opined: "More candidly than any of his post-Soviet
predecessors, Russian President Medvedev has made clear to his
fellow citizens that Russia is not fit at the moment. If the
country wants to return to the top of the world, which a majority of
the Russians indeed strive for, it must immediately be
modernized.... However, like his predecessors, Medvedev portrays
democracy and stability as contradictions and, if in doubt, he
favors stability. With that, the modernization project faces the
fate of many other campaigns before: it could disappear in the
quagmire of bureaucracy."

FT Deutschland remarked in an editorial: "The new national beginning
the president wants to initiate contradicts the real situation of
the country. While Americans could at least dream of a different
country throughout an election campaign, many Russians don't even
dare to dream of such a thing. The difference between words and
reality is not unique to Russia. However, in Russia's case the
discrepancy between Medvedev's stated dynamism and democratic
transparency on the one side and reality on the other side is
particularly grotesque.... Medvedev's description of the ailing
economy is correct. However, the announcement to lead Russia back
to superpower status therefore sounds hollow... Apart from
rhetorical changes, nothing has changed in Russia since Medvedev
succeeded Putin a year and a half ago. Wherever Russia is going at
the moment, it is not forward."

6. Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

Under the headline "Erdogan wants to do his bit for posterity,"
Tagesspiegel reports: "The Turkish Prime Minister presents to
parliament a controversial plan to end the conflict with the Kurds.
This Friday, Erdogan will deliver one of the most important speeches
of his life, presenting a 15-point plan for a peaceful resolution of
the Kurdish conflict. The prime minister knows that the Turkish
public is increasingly against this project because the impression
has been created that the government courts PKK rebels. For
Erdogan, it is the most important project of his term: If he can
achieve a resolution to the Kurdish conflict, he will have done his
bit for posterity."

MURPHY

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