Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan
DE RUEHIN #1411 3351034
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011034Z DEC 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2837
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9551
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0944
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001411
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/P, EAP/PD - THOMAS HAMM
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN
Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage December 1 on the city mayors' and county magistrates'
elections around the island, which are scheduled to be held on
December 5. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial
in the conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
discussed U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to wind down operations
in Iraq while possibly boosting troop levels in Afghanistan. The
article concluded by urging "every nation in the world to get in on
this fight" in Afghanistan by sending troops, contributing money or
providing other assistance. End summary.
"Afghanistan, Terrorism Is Everybody's Problem"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (12/1):
"The United States has been criticized over the years for acting as
if it were the world's policeman. The U.S. has had a mixed
experience with nation-building or rebuilding. ... Today, U.S.
President Barack Obama is winding down operations in Iraq while
quite possibly boosting troop levels in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is
now being called Obama's war, but unless the entire international
community realizes that this conflict is a global problem, it may be
very difficult to bring even a semblance of normalcy to this
troubled region. For those of us in Taiwan, accustomed to the
strict confines of an island nation, the idea of a porous border is
a little hard to fathom. There is no place where Pakistan ends and
Afghanistan begins, except on paper. For its part, Afghanistan has
not had a stable government of any kind for decades. To be fair to
the U.S., if any nation could be blamed for the current situation in
Afghanistan it's the former USSR. The Soviet Union invaded
Afghanistan in 1979, destroyed much of the nation's functioning
infrastructure and activated tribal militias, laying the framework
for today's crisis. The U.S. is not blameless, however, having
supplied the anti-Soviet rebels with weapons, and when the conflict
was over, unfortunately forgot about the people and those weapons.
"Nations all around the world are watching the U.S.' battle for
Afghanistan. Some continue to accuse the U.S. of imperialism.
Others criticize the methodology. But few aside from Great Britain
have actually done anything to contribute. ... The U.S. and a few
allies have been fighting there for over eight years. The American
public has no more energy for an expensive conflict, especially if
it seems endless. U.S. President Obama seems less inclined to
invoke the 'with-us-or-against-us' demand made by his predecessor,
but a consensus seems to be growing that the rest of the world needs
to step up to the plate. Obama's political team may have stopped
using the term 'war on terror,' but the reality is the U.S. military
is trying to defeat Islamic extremists that are overwhelmingly
responsible for inspiring the sorrow and carnage many nations of the
world have suffered over the past decade. China has been singled
out for criticism as it has business and commercial interests in
Afghanistan and the surrounding area, but is loath to actually join
the fight against extremism. For political reasons, it's unlikely
that China will be sending any troops anywhere soon, but every
nation in the world needs to get in on this fight. Those who can
send troops should do so. Others can contribute money or provide
other assistance. America isn't perfect, but what's the rest of the
world doing to help defeat extremism?"