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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Iran, Afghanistan, Climate, Eu,

VZCZCXRO1376
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1469/01 3221128
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181128Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5825
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 1736
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0453
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0969
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2479
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1495
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0668
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 001469

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 US AF KGHG EU
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-IRAN, AFGHANISTAN, CLIMATE, EU,
CORRUPTION;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.-China) Obama Visit
3. (Afghanistan) Debate Over Troop Withdrawal
4. (Environment) Climate Change
5. (EU) Future Top Jobs
6. (Transparency International) New Ranking


1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media opened with reports on the student protests, the
closed-
door meeting of the government at Meseberg Castle, and the trouble
Chancellor Merkel is having with the Association of Expellees.
Editorials focused on a decision by the Constitutional Court which
banned Neo-Nazi rallies if they attempt to praise or portray the
Nazi
regime positively. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute opened
with
a report on the students' protests, while ARD-TV's early evening
newscast Tagesschau opened with a story on the Cabinet's closed-door

meeting at Meseberg Castle.

2. (U.S.-China) Obama Visit

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/18) editorialized: "China is strong and
will become even stronger. Its action is inevitable to overcome the

economic crisis. The call of the American President on Beijing's
leaders to play a greater role in the world is therefore right....

Given the many problems, it is striking that Hu Jintao opposed
protectionist policies. This is [also] right and justified because

the virus of protectionism is spreading in America. However, it
also
reveals China's vulnerability. The country needs open markets to
generate high growth rates necessary to keep the social situation
under control. So who is dependent on whom?"

Sddeutsche (11/18) opined: "In China, Barack Obama was given a
lesson
on the limits of power. For the last 20 years, the U.S. enjoyed
almost unqualified freedom of action. This period is now coming to
an
end. Open rivalry has not yet broken out between U.S. and China....

The power struggle is no longer fought by military forces, but in a

more subtle way on oil fields, in climate conferences, and in an
ideological competition. This is the most important lesson of his
first trip to China: he was denied access to the people. Obama's
message did not reach them because he could not communicate freely
and
because he limited himself. Obama accepted self-censorship and thus

admitted that China is already too powerful for the American
President
to go unpunished if he gives lectures and makes demands."

Under the headline "Paralyzed giants," Berliner Zeitung (11/18)
editorialized: "During their summit, the two world leaders
demonstrated an image of impotence. Obama and Hu could not reach
any
successful agreements, either on exchange rates, trade manipulation,

climate protection, or in the nuclear conflicts with Iran and North

BERLIN 00001469 002 OF 005

Korea. Although both sides agree that the big problems of the world

cannot be resolved if they don't cooperate, it does not mean that
both
aim in the same direction. However powerful Obama and Hu might
appear, their leeway for action is small. As most world leaders,
they
have to serve their people at home and must demonstrate that they
can
defy their rival and achieve their maximum demands in the supposed
national interest."
3. (Afghanistan) Debate Over Troop Withdrawal

Die Welt (11/18) carried a lengthy report under the headline: "Gold

for the Taliban - New UK Strategy for Afghanistan: Enemies to be
Bribed - NATO Leader Demands Concrete Jobs." It wrote: "The new
field
manual presented by the chief strategist of the British armed forces

is London's answer to the legendary report of NATO's supreme
commander
in Afghanistan, General McChrystal.... In many respects, the
British
are following the military civilian strategy of the Americans...but
her
Majesty's strategists are emphasizing buying much more cooperation
from Taliban fighters with money, i.e. to bribe them.... The field

manual recommends to the British commanders to pay the men in the
embattled areas a higher salary than the Taliban offer. Indeed, the

Americans successfully implemented this strategy in Iraq and bought

allies. It is true that the British paper only recommends to use
such
payments I the framework of a long-term development plan but it is

questionable which effects such payments have on the social
reconstruction in Afghanistan."

Tagesspiegel (11/18) headlined: "Speedy Withdrawal," and wrote:
"With
a clear shift in foreign policy, Prime Minister Gordon Brown not
only
called for a timetable in his annual foreign policy basic speech in

Mansion House, but he also called for the beginning of a handover
[of
responsibility to the Afghan forces] next year. Thus far, this has

been demanded at the earliest in 2011. Brown also offered London as

the site for an Afghanistan conference. He wants to put on the
agenda
of such a meeting the debate over a political strategy which is to
redefine the military goals. In the beginning of an election year,

Brown is under pressure to name a date for the start of a British
troop withdrawal."

Under the headline: "Verbal Rearguard Action," Financial Times
Deutschland (11/18) wrote: "Only a while ago, the whole world talked

about NATO troop enforcements for Afghanistan, but now we are
reading
in newswire reports more about a partial withdrawal. But this is

BERLIN 00001469 003 OF 005


wishful thinking. Has the most powerful military alliance in the
world carried out a sudden change of strategies? Does this mean
that
General Stanley McChrystal's demand for an additional 40,000
soldiers
has been swept aside? None of those interpretations is right.
Indeed, NATO Secretary Fogh Rasmussen and the new German Defense
Minister zu Guttenberg only said that, in a few districts, the
responsibility for security should, if possible, be handed over to
the
Afghan army and the police force. Indeed, there are districts that

are rather peaceful, and these are areas which hardly have any
Pashtun
population. But the Taliban movement stems from Pashtun tribes in
Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why diplomats and military
officials consider the conclusion that one can withdraw from
Afghanistan as a whole to be fallacious. The commotion about the
new
debate is rather derived from unease about the Afghanistan war in
many
NATO nations and from the fact that many politicians want to give
assurances to their voters that the mission will not last forever.

NATO will speak of a withdrawal only if they can sell Afghanistan as
a
kind of success, but this is something no one dares to do in the
foreseeable future."

Regional daily Mnchener Merkur (11/18) judged: "It is high time to

break the taboo over terms such as pullout and withdrawal and to
call
things by their names. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, who, a few

weeks ago, defiantly said NATO troops would stay as long as
necessary,
has now begun to seek an emergency exit. And British Foreign
Secretary David Miliband followed the well-tested proverb that it is

necessary to ally with those who cannot be defeated. He wants to
integrate the Taliban into the Afghan government. Still, victories

look different. The allies will not run away, and one reason is
that
handing over security responsibilities presupposes having police and

armed forces that can guarantee security. But thus far, there is no

sign of that happening."

4. (Environment) Climate Change

Spiegel Online (11/17) carried a lengthy negative editorial on
President Obama's climate policy. Under the headline "Obama Has
Failed the World on Climate Change, Spiegel's Christian SchwQgerl
editorialized: "President Barack Obama came to office promising hope

and change. But on climate change, he has followed in the footsteps
of
his predecessor, George W. Bush. Now, should the climate summit in
Copenhagen fail, the blame will lie squarely with Obama.... Over
the
weekend, Obama announced that there would be no agreement on binding

rules in Copenhagen. It was the admission of a massive failure --
and
the prelude to a truly dramatic phase of international climate

BERLIN 00001469 004 OF 005


policy.... Obama has neglected the single most important issue for
an
American president who likes to imagine himself as a world citizen,

namely, his country's addiction to fossil fuels and the risks of
unchecked climate change. Health-care reform and other domestic
issues
were more important to him than global environmental threats....
The
U.S. is quite happy to see itself as the leader of the Western
world.
But when it comes to climate change, America has once again failed
miserably -- for the umpteenth time. If the rest of the world were
to
follow the US example in their approach to fossil fuels, the oceans

would not only heat up, but would probably soon begin to boil.
American per capita CO2 emissions are about twice as high as those
in
comparable industrialized nations and many times greater than those
of
the developing world.... Obama's priorities are wrong. Copenhagen
is
not just any old summit -- it is the long-awaited climax of many
years
of negotiations whose failure was only averted at the last minute at

the Bali summit two years ago.... Obama was quite happy to make the

trip to Copenhagen in October to support his hometown Chicago's bid
to
host the Olympic Games. But he is currently leaving open the
question
of whether he will come to the Danish capital in December for the UN

Climate Change Conference. In doing so, he has given other world
leaders the signal that they do not need to attend. If the
Copenhagen
summit, which energy strategists and environmentalists have been
preparing for two years, is a failure, then it will mainly be
Obama's
fault.... Obama has proven himself to be unable to put an end to
the
lies that modern American society is based on. He is unable to
overcome the entrenched lobbyists of the oil and coal industries and

make the reality clear to his compatriots: They are the worst energy

wasters on the planet -- and are thus, indirectly, a major threat to

world peace in the 21st century.... The Nobel Committee should
postpone
the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize from December 10 to
December 20. Only if Obama has achieved a convincing deal at the
Copenhagen conference will there be a real reason to honor him."

Tageszeitung (11/18) commented: "In China, President Obama has
reached
the limits of his superpower. He is returning without the hoped for

promise on climate protection. The many words cannot obscure the
fact
that Hu and Obama remained vague on Copenhagen and did not promise
any
specific reduction limits of greenhouse gases."

5. (EU) Future Top Jobs


BERLIN 00001469 005 OF 005


"European Parliament Involved in Poker Game About Future Jobs,"
headlined Financial Times Deutschland (11/18) and reported: "The
President of the European Parliament, Jerzey Busek is pressing the
27
EU member states not to postpone a decision on vacant top EU
positions. He told FTD shortly before Thursday's special EU summit:

'We have been discussing for more than nine years draft agreements.

Now the time has come to decide and to begin with our work. Europe
is
faced with enormous challenges - climate change, the economic
crisis,
and energy security.' With this appeal the EP president is
criticizing the tough talk regarding who would become European
Council
president and European foreign minister. But thus far, a solution
has
not been in the offing in the talks between the Swedish EU
presidency
and the various capitals. EU Minister President Cecilia MalmstrQm
said on Tuesday: 'There is total confusion, and there has been no
agreement.' She did not rule out an extension of the summit or even
a
postponement."

6. (Transparency International) New Ranking

In a story under the headline: "Europe has Become More Corrupt," Die

Welt (11/18) wrote: "When it comes to fighting corruption and
bribery,
Germany is still a modestly average European country. On the
corruption index of Transparency International, Germany is 14th, the

same position it had last year. Corruption rarely happens in
Denmark,
New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden. However, the situation is
devastating in Somalia, Afghanistan, Burma, Sudan, and Iraq. The
index is based on interviews with managers and experts who were
asked
of how corrupt the public service in their countries is. Since the

interviews last year, the susceptibility of many European countries

for corruption has considerably increased. Especially Greece,
Spain,
and Latvia have lost. i.e. those countries which have been hard hit
by
the financial crisis. But it is not clear whether the financial
crisis promotes corruption or whether the financial crisis has imply

resulted in brining to the fore such corruption cases."

MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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