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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Middle East, Iran, Dprk,

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RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1483/01 3270713
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230713Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5853
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 1751
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0468
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0987
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2494
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1510
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0680
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 07 BERLIN 001483

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 XF IR KN US EU KGHG
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN, MIDDLE EAST, IRAN, DPRK,
U.S.-
ASIA, EU, ENVIRONMENT;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan) President Karzai's Inauguration
3. (Middle East) Israeli Settlement Policy
4. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict
5. (DPRK) Obama Warning
6. (U.S.-Asia) Obama Trip
7. (EU) EU Top Jobs
8. (Environment) Copenhagen Conference


1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media opened with reports on the special EU summit in Brussels

and the inauguration of Afghanistan's President Karzai. Editorials

focused on the same issues. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast Heute
opened with a report on President Karzai taking his oath of office,

while ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened with a story

on the beginning of the talks of EU leaders in Brussels

2. (Afghanistan) President Karzai's Inauguration

All papers (11/20) carried lengthy reports on President Karzai's
inauguration emphasizing that the president promised to fight
corruption and drug trafficking. Die Welt headlined; "Afghanistan's

President Promises to Fight Corruption," Sueddeutsche carried a
front-
page report under the headline: "Karzai Promises the West
Improvement." Frankfurter Allgemeine opened with a report on its
front
page, headlined: "Karzai: In Five Years We Are Better Off."

Many Papers also carried editorials on Karzai's promises.
Deutschlandfunk (11/19) broadcast the following commentary: "The
fact
that Foreign Minister Westerwelle traveled to Kabul to attend the
inauguration of Afghan President Karzai signals his support for a
politician who has been kept in office because of electoral fraud.

But NATO set out to bring democracy to Afghanistan. TQay's
presence
of a few ministers with Secretary Hillary Clinton at the helm is
sending the wrong signals. The western states did not want to bring

this form of democracy to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, Karzai is
needed
in order to implement at least a few steps towards a positive
development in Afghanistan. He must be taken at his word, and he
must
now do what he said and what he is being told. But the political
and
military opposition will now present him as a puppet of the western

world. He will thus lose the remaining support he still enjoys in
the
country. That is why the world must now pin its hopes on the
regional
representatives and do so much more than in the past."

Regional radio station Westdeutscher Rundfunk of Cologne (11/19)
commented: "The international community and Afghan President Karzai

are joined together like Siamese twins. Either they will have joint

BERLIN 00001483 002 OF 007

successes, or they will fail together. The only chance for both
sides
to succeed is that they clearly know that this is our last chance.
In
his inaugural speech, Karzai addressed the main things even though
in
vague terms. It looked as if Clinton, Westerwelle, and Miliband
proofread the speech and were thus its authors. Taliban,
corruption,
women's rights, everything was included. But Karzai will be
measured
against his deeds. He must now quickly prove to the Afghans that he

is serious about them."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/20) said in a front-page editorial
headlined "Oath of Disclosure" that "In view of the discrepancy
between the high stakes and the disappointing result, the
international community is losing patience with President Karzai and

his government. Never before has a president, after his election,
received so many rebukes from his allies in his congratulatory mail.

The governments in Washington, London, and Berlin know this and,
nevertheless, they are discussing exit strategies. The powers that
be
on either side of the Atlantic are aware that the previous policy is

no option; each of them wants to get out of Afghanistan because
their
peoples want them to get out. By reinforcing their troops, the
Americans and British think they can decide and end their campaign
with one final great battle.... But Afghanistan's stability is
closely
linked to that of Pakistan. And this is the main reason why the
West
cannot be indifferent to Afghanistan's fate in the future, even
though
there is nothing the West would rather be."

According to Die Welt (11/20), "the statements of many western
politicians demonstrate how disillusioned the NATO partners have
become about a politician who was once their man in Kabul and is now

considered a problem. That is why Karzai at least tried in his
inaugural speech to make concessions to the West. Following its
experience with Karzai over the past few years, the West is well
advised to remind him of these promises.... But the most important

thing is that the West gets out of this stage of a lack of
orientation. A mission that has no goal and no direction is doomed
to
failure."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (11/20) opined: "Karzai's speech does not mean
a
thing. The downtrodden country will not move ahead with words. The

president has been at the helm in Afghanistan for more than eight
years now. This is one truth. The other one is: The West, too,
made
mistakes because it pinned its hopes only on Karzai. But power in
Afghanistan rests not primarily with the president but with the
tribes
in the regions. An understanding, including with the Taliban, will
be

BERLIN 00001483 003 OF 007


possible only if regional approaches are strengthened and if the
president reduces his claim for power. Karzai's plan to organize a

Lorja Jirga, which he can moderate, is the right approach."

In the view of Handelsblatt (11/20), "the West developed a
carrot-and-
stick policy for President Karzai. The carrot is the warm words and
a
continuing flow of money. The stick is the threat of a troop
withdrawal and the open attempt to bypass Karzai and to directly
influence the provincial leaders. This looks familiar to us,
because
such methods were also frequently used in the past, the last time in

Iraq."

Berliner Zeitung (11/20) opined: "The Afghanistan that the West
would
like to get and will probably get some day in the future will be an

undemocratic Afghanistan. It will be a country in which corruption

remains essential for the fabric of society; it will be a country in

which women have no rights, and in which gangs rule. But it will be
a
country in which security forces are so strong that they will be
able
to prevent the development of new terrorist training camps, thus
reducing the danger of attacks in the U.S. and Europe. This is what

it is all about eight years after the beginning of the adventure in

Afghanistan. It is not democracy, not the rule of law; it is only
security, our security."

3. (Middle East) Israeli Settlement Policy

Under the sub-headline: "Barack Obama's Middle East Diplomacy is
About
to Fail," Tagesspiegel (11/20) editorialized: "Measured against the

things that are obvious in the Middle East, Barack Obama's Middle
East
policy is surprisingly dilettantish, even though his [Mideast
policy]
began very favorably with George Mitchell's appointment, with his
speech in Cairo where Obama presented himself as an honest broker
and
with his move to wrestle the two-state concession from Benjamin
Netanyahu. But afterwards he lost his political instinct. Indeed,

Barack Obama is now faced with a pile of debris that is even bigger

than it was at the beginning of his term. In Israel, his reputation

is at an all-time low and in the Arab world his popularity has
suffered. But this is not all. The fuse is burning at the second
trouble spot in the region: Iran, which has now rejected the western

offer in the nuclear conflict. Has Obama a Plan B with respect to
his
relations with the Mullahs? Only two weeks ago, a giant arms
shipment
to the Hezbollah militia force in Lebanon was exposed. And even
this

BERLIN 00001483 004 OF 007


did not prompt Washington to change course. There are mounting
indications that Obama's policy of an extended hand is faced with a

debacle."

4. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict

Handelsblatt (11/20) headlined: "U.S. is getting impatient with
Iran,"
and added in its intro: "In the nuclear dispute, Iran must prepare
itself for new sanctions. After Tehran's rejection of the
compromise
deal, Barack Obama noted that he is losing his patience." Under the

headline "Back in the old trenches," Frankfurter Rundschau (11/20)
analyzed: "The cat has now been let out of the bag. The uranium
compromise between the Vienna authority and the Islamic Republic has

fallen through. The intermezzo of diplomatic rapprochement is
over....
The deal would have been good for both sides. Iran would have
gotten
civilian nuclear technology and the world community the assurance
that
Teheran does not produce a nuclear bomb in the predictable future as

it would lack fissile material. The nuclear dispute would have
been
resolved - at least for the time being. This is off. Following a
tough dispute among Tehran's conservatives, Ayatollah Khamenei
obviously ended the dispute with his unusually harsh attack on the
U.S. on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy.

All sides involved are now back in their old trenches. The Iranian

regime is again enjoying itself in the position of a lonesome
fighter
against everybody, while the West is getting ready for a new round
of
sanctions."

5. (DPRK) Obama Warning

Under the headline "Nice Words," Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/20)
commented: "Barack Obama concealed his warning with a lot of
sweetness, sending his special envoy Bosworth to Pyongyang. He will

apparently get the message there that Washington is no longer
prepared
to accept North Korea's tactics of the recent years. The problem is

that Bosworth's visit to Pyongyang is the result of these North
Korean
tactics. They were reportedly enraged and left the negotiating
table
at the six party talks. They now make their gracious return
dependent
on the talks with the Americans. If Obama were consistent, he would

send his envoy to China.... Bosworth could suggest that there would
be
something valuable for North Korea at a table in China. Some kind
of
a dtente could be the result. Let's not believe in a
denuclearization of North Korea. What would Pyongyang have left if
it
gave away its greatest asset?"

BERLIN 00001483 005 OF 007

6. (U.S.-Asia) Obama Trip

Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio of Hamburg (11/19) commented: "Barack
Obama bowed deeply - too deep to Japan's emperor. Obama's bow to
the
Tenno in Tokyo is the picture that will remain from his mammoth tour

to Japan, China, Singapore, and South Korea: Obama degrading
himself
and very small, almost a caricature of himself. This is a snapshot

that summarizes Obama's eight days in Asia and that depicts a
president who, in the strongholds of Asian politeness, wanted to do

everything right and use the right forms and who, for this reason,
did
not succeed in doing something right, but only played the tunes of
his
hosts. It was a weak performance in Asia, measured against the
performances of his predecessors. China as an economic power has
become more self-confident, tougher and even more uncompromising.
It
knows that Obama needs the bundles of dollars from Chinese safes to

finance its record debt policy with money that is used to finance
rescue and bailout programs for everyone. That is why Obama's
latitude in Beijing was restricted right from the start. Obama is
right to be really annoyed at China because it manipulates its
currency in order to make Chinese goods even cheaper than they are
and
to stymie any competition. But this currency scandal should at
least
have shown up in one phrase in the minutes, which it did not. It is

no coincidence that Obama's so-called news conferences were de facto

nothing but empty communiqus.... Obama, who likes to speak so
brilliantly, simply had nothing to say. And this speaks volumes
about
the trip of a deeply bowed president to Asia."

7. (EU) EU Top Jobs

ARD-TV's Tagesthemen (11/19) opined: "The result of the negotiations

had a price: two people were nominated for the future EU top jobs,
who
have had no opportunity in the past to develop their profiles....
They
might become good people, but nobody yet knows them... There seems
to
be a clear will within Europe not to appoint too powerful people to

these positions. European leaders don't want to be upstaged by
'those
in Brussels.' Berlin, Paris, London and other national capitals
want
to continue to play a strong role. The appointments of the two EU

top jobs seem to guarantee this.... There were more distinguished
leaders."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/20) wrote in a front-page editorial:
"This
team of a conservative from a traditionally pro-European member
states

BERLIN 00001483 006 OF 007


and a Social Democrat from a traditionally skeptical member is
clearly
an old-school compromise, so the evening did not go on forever as
feared. Only the Eastern Europeans went home with empty hands....
Is
this now the EU that was strengthened by the Lisbon Treaty and that

will now give Europe more weight during international summits?
Both
politicians have achieved honorable things: Prime Minister van
Rompuy's great achievement is to have led the Belgian government
into
still waters. The way Catherine Ashton's pushed the Lisbon Treaty
through the cliffs of the Upper House was also no small achievement.

However, can these two faces personify the new beginning government

leaders promised when they defended the EU reform against all the
criticism and lethargy in nation states? The words 'European
constitution' were too big for the text of the Lisbon Treaty. The
words 'European president' also seem to be too big."

Berliner Zeitung's (11/20) editorial remarked under the headlined
"Two
nobodies for Europe" that the decision is "disappointing," adding:
"The community has picked leaders without personality, without
visions, and partly at least without experience. Future Council
President van Rompuy is an honorable Belgian man who skillfully kept

his country together. He is not a heavyweight in Europe and the
world. The heads of states and governments looked for an
administrator. The appointment of Catherine Ashton is even more
disappointing. The future chief diplomat has never before dealt
with
classic foreign diplomacy. The facts that she is a Social Democrat,

comes from Britain and is a woman were sufficient for her
nomination.
It did not play a role whether she is well plugged-in and knows the

right people in government. The EU wants to be strong at home and
abroad. Looking at van Rompuy and Mrs. Ashton suggests that this
will
not be the case."

Tagesspiegel (11/20) bemoaned in a front-page editorial: "Luxemburg

Prime Minister Juncker would have been the perfect choice for the
post
of the EU Council president. He is a powerful expert of the
European
mechanisms, who, above all, also represents a small country. The EU

has gambled away the opportunity the Lisbon Treaty had offered. It

would have been the time to appoint men and women to the posts of
the
EU with its 500 million people whose word would be heard throughout

the world and who could create new confidence between the Europeans

and the institutions in Brussels."

Under the headline "Two Under Secretaries for Europe," FT
Deutschland
(11/20) editorialized on the front page: "Herman who? Catherine
who?

BERLIN 00001483 007 OF 007


Most Europeans have never heard the names of the EU council
president
and the high representative before. Chancellor Merkel, President
Sarkozy and their European colleagues could have picked more
charismatic people for the new top jobs, which were created by the
Lisbon Treaty. They deliberately decided against it. They were
looking for under secretaries who can act in the background and are

not international showoffs. Belgian Prime Minister van Rompuy and
EU
Trade Commissioner Ashton met these job descriptions. The choice of

unknown candidates shows that the powerful government leaders do not

want to be outshone by European officials. During EU and G20
summits,
Merkel and Co. don't want to share the limelight with the EU Council

president and the high representative.... However, the decision
might
not necessarily be bad. The fact that the 27 EU leaders reached an

agreement within hours is a good signal. After the weeks of
disputes,
many had expected a night-long struggle without any results. The
Flemish leader van Rompuy has shown an impressive talent to meditate

compromises. This talent will be helpful in the efforts to
moderate
the disputes of the state and government leaders. Ashton's
nomination
also has indisputable advantages: as a permanent member of the UN
Security Council, Britain is one of Europe's heavyweights. Hardly
any
other country can contribute to increase Europe's might and
credibility in international diplomacy."

8. (Environment) Copenhagen Conference

In the view of Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/20) "the chancellor feels

her own commitment that, if there is anybody, who is able and
willing
to achieve a success in Copenhagen, then it is herself. It should
not
be decisive whether Barack Obama takes the trouble to travel to
Copenhagen or whether China is willing to make any kind of
concessions. The Europeans and some other nations will follow her
because her arguments are more farsighted than the ones of her
opponents. And, as long as she is convinced that her arguments are

true, she will stick to her goals - for the benefit of future
generations."

MURPHY

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