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

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRL #1515/01 3351201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011201Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5921
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 1781
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0499
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1019
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2524
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1544
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0709
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS BERLIN 001515

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 IR EU KGHG HO GM SZ
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, EU, CLIMATE,
HONDURAS, U.S.-GERMANY, SWITZERLAND;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.) President Obama's Afghanistan Strategy
3. (Iran) Nuclear Program
4. (EU) Lisbon Treaty
5. (Climate) Copenhagen Summit
6. (Honduras) Elections
7. (U.S.-Germany) Swift Agreement
8. (Switzerland) Swiss Ban on New Minarets


1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's and ARD-TV's primetime newscasts opened with stories on the

trial of suspected Nazi war criminal Demjanjuk. Most newspapers led

with stories on the continuing international criticism of the Swiss

ban on building new minarets. Sddeutsche led with a story on the
German government's policy on tax cuts. Berliner Zeitung and FT
Deutschland led with reports on the European approval of the SWIFT
agreement with the United States. Several media highlighted the
entry
into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Editorials focused on the
aftermath
of the Swiss referendum and the trial against Demjanjuk.

2. (U.S.) President Obama's Afghanistan Strategy

There was hardly any coverage of President Obama's upcoming speech
in
the German media. Under the headline "Obama bids for more soldiers
in
Afghanistan," FT Deutschland (12/01) reported that the President
would
announce the "long-awaited strategy" on Afghanistan today. "It will

be Obama's task to sell the enormous mission with an unclear end
date
to an increasingly critical public. He is expected to do this by
incorporating military reinforcements into a general strategy," the

paper noted.

Under the headline "Brown upstages Obama," die tageszeitung (12/01)

reported that "a day prior to the U.S. President's announcement of
the
new strategy on the war in Afghanistan, British Prime Minister Brown

announces details.... He added that, apart from Britain and the
U.S.,
eight other NATO countries also pledged more troops.... In
addition,
Afghan President Karzai will attend the Afghanistan conference on
January 28 in London. He is expected to promise the training of an

additional 50,000 Afghan soldiers in 2010 and to send them to the
province of Helmand.... Brown welcomed McChrystal's report, but was

annoyed that Obama took so long to respond to it. He therefore did

not have any scruples about announcing the strategy earlier."

Germany media focused on the aftermath of the September 4 airstrikes

against fuel tankers near Kunduz. In a lengthy editorial, FT
Deutschland (12/01) remarked under the headline "Chance for

improvement" that "the matter is not over at all after the
resignation
of the former defense minister Jung. It will only be the case when
an
investigatory committee clarifies certain questions - particularly
the
role of the German chancellor... Merkel must accept the accusations

that she did not sufficiently care about the event in Afghanistan
and
failed to control her defense minister. In the first days after the

bombardment, Merkel did not say anything. Only four days later, she

said in a government declaration that criticism from abroad would be

inappropriate. She obviously did not try to get a comprehensive
impression on the events."

3. (Iran) Nuclear Program

Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/01) editorialized: "Western governments
in
general and the American government in particular must slowly admit

that their approaches to Iran are not well received. Or as the
French
defense minister bluntly put it: President Obama's policy of
reaching
out a hand has failed. The Iranian leadership does not even
seriously
consider negotiating over the part of its nuclear program that might

be used for military purposes. On the contrary, it uses the
resolution of the Vienna authority as a cheap excuse to expand the
program.... Regardless of whether Iran is technically capable of
doing
this or whether it is just hot air, serious negotiations are
something
different. Those protagonists who are trying to resolve the nuclear

conflict are slowly running out of ideas - also because they have
been
playing the Iranian gamble for time for far too long. This, at
least,
should be ended."

4. (EU) Lisbon Treaty

Several papers carry extensive coverage of the Lisbon Treaty
entering
into force on December 1. Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/01) carried
reports on the authorities the various EU institutions will now
have.
Under the headline: "Europe's New Instruments," and reported that
"European policies remain complicated but many things have now been

clearly structured."

Die Welt (12/01) wondered under the headline: "Will The EU Now
Become
a Better one?' and answered the question saying: "Doubts and risks
remain. The fight is over. As of today, Europe functions according

new rules. As of today, the so-called Lisbon Treaty enters into
force. The text is cool, technical, and short - and only
specialists
will understand it. But for Europeans' everyday life, the new

treaty
has no consequences, while a lot will change in the engine room in
Brussels." "

"The End of the Beginning," headlined Tagesspiegel (12/01) and
reported: "A new phase of European unification will begin this
Thursday. After almost ten years of political fighting and new
beginnings, the Lisbon Treaty will now enter into force. In
contrast
to the European Constitution, which failed in 2005 and which was
simpler, more obvious, and more ambitious, the Lisbon Treaty is not
a
completely rounded piece of work but a compromise in which the scars

of corrections, deletions, and national reservations are visible."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/01) carried a front-page editorial
headlined: "The European Learning Process," and judged: "The path of

the European Union to the Lisbon Treaty that enters into force this

Tuesday can basically be described only as a sad story. But a
glorious chapter cannot grow on such a sad story. The Lisbon Treaty
is
better than its reputation and can really help the EU do its
business,
but the path to this result demonstrated that Europe has reached the

limits of its political capacity. It will be unable to go beyond
Lisbon simply because many politicians and many of its citizens do
not
want this. Evidence of this is the appointment of the two
politicians
who are to fill the two most important political portfolios. A
strong
leadership in the EU and, closely linked to it, a grown global
policy
significance of the EU cannot be imposed n the people by means of a

constitution or a political coup. Leadership in Europe develops and

consolidates when there is a growing insight that the EU states can

reach their political goals only together. This is a permanent
learning process, and a treaty or a constitution cannot shorten
it."

Under the headline: "Lisbon? Europe!" Die Welt (12/01) opined:
"Now,
on December 1, the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force with two
weak
leaders at the top, one unknown Belgian, and an even more unknown
British politician. This is characteristic, un-heroic, and not very

festive. The European Parliament will get more rights, majority
decisions will now be valid within the European Council and
everything
sounds as if the optimum institutional developments have now been
reached.... The Europe of citizens, however, remains exciting. This
is
an unprecedented, transnational event whose dimensions are very
attracting and create astonishment. Some day in the future, this
spirit will breathe new life in the institutions, too."

5. (Climate) Copenhagen Summit

Tagesspiegel (12/01) reported that "next week, the summit of
superlatives begins" in Copenhagen. The daily wrote that the

"climate
summit is likely to break the dimensions of all previous
conferences.
The agreement to be adopted in Copenhagen is complex, there are many

bones of contention, and a consensus has not been reached yet."

Under the headline: "Denmark is Softening its Climate Goals,"
Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/01) reported: "A few days before the
beginning of the Copenhagen UN climate summit, the fighting for a
final agreement is getting tougher. On Monday, speculation came up
on
an alleged Danish draft for a final document. This draft would
result
in a further weakening of the conference results of which no one
expects any binding commitments for carbon dioxide emissions."

6. (Honduras) Elections

According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/01), "Elections will be good
even if they are held by an illegitimate regime. But quite often
they
miss their target and do not create any legitimacy such as in the
case
of Honduras. Can the world accept this wrong labeling? As a matter

of fact, it cannot. Honduras is a bad example. It cost Latin
America
much blood and power to go to the polls instead of staging a coup.

Now a coup again preceded elections. The United States backed leader

Micheletti and will support future President Lobo. This is
realpolitik - and there is no sign of a new policy towards the
region.
In return, Washington is now accepting a new rift in relations with

Brazil. And the German FDP and its Friedrich Naumann Foundation
expressed understanding of Zelaya's ouster. If this Honduran
maneuver
sets a precedent, then the next president will soon be ousted in
Latin
America."

Under the headline: "Defeat for Democracy in Honduras," Berliner
Zeitung (12/01) editorialized: "For both sides, the turnout is of a

strategic interest because it says much about the legitimacy of the

elections. Only one thing is certain: Hondurans are fed up with the

eternal fight between two men for the president's office. The
Hondurans finally want to return to normalcy, which is depressing
enough in the poor house of Latin America. But this request for
normalcy cannot obscure the fact that these elections were illegal.

The election campaign took place under quasi-dictatorial
conditions....
But the normative power of the facts will result in the United
States,
and later the EU, recognizing the elections. Their argument: People

cannot be punished for the stupidity of politicians. As correct as

this argument is, by recognizing the elections, one will cement the

defeat of democracy in Latin America 20 years after the end of the
military dictatorships."


7. (U.S.-Germany) Swift Agreement

Under the headline: "[Put an] End to Data Fishing," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (12/01) opined: "The European Union has found an acceptable

solution to the dilemma of protecting data and hunting terrorists at

the same time. The agreement between the U.S. and the EU on U.S.
security agencies having access to European banking data is not
perfect, but it is better than having no rules at all. Now the
Europeans have gained time to find a lasting agreement with the
participation of the European Parliament (EP). Thus far, the United

States has gained access to every fourth banking transaction. This

was and still is a blatant violation of data protection rules. It
is
reasonable to have the EP decide on it. This offers the opportunity

for a new public debate and creates the basis for a lasting
agreement
with the U.S., which does not allow data protection and terrorists
to
escape."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/01) argued: "For more than eight years,
U.S. [security] agencies have inspected the financial transactions
of
European citizens without any agency here having had an influence on

the handling of the data. It is certainly progress that the EU
concluded an agreement with the U.S. that puts an end to this fact.

Maybe all concerns of data protection commissioners have not been
included in the agreement, but this does not mean that we should do

without a technology that helped to capture the Sauerland
terrorists.
This is something the EP should keep in mind because it will have
the
last word on it. Now the parliamentarians can show that they are
able
to cope with the responsibility that the Lisbon Treaty has
attributed
to them. Those who have a say in EU domestic policies should not
forget that Islamic terrorism is still a great danger."

Deutschlandfunk (11/30) commented: "What kind of understanding of
democracy does this act reveal? For years, the EU governments, with

the German government at the helm, have worked towards the
ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by referring to an increase in
democracy in the EU. But then the EU governments are taking
advantage
of the last possibility to prevent [the EP] from having a say and
have
rushed through a bill that guarantees U.S. terror investigators
access
to European banking transactions a few hours before the Lisbon
Treaty
enters into force. It is likely that the German and other EU
governments are afraid that the United States could have taken it
amiss if the talks had dragged along for a few weeks and if the EP
had
demanded greater concession and information rights. They are
certainly right, but this is what we need the EU for to prevent the

European countries from giving their approval to everything
Washington
wants. If governments bypass democratic institutions when
discussing
the exchange of banking data, they do not create greater security
but
only distrust."

Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio of Hamburg (11/30) broadcast the
following commentary: "The SWIFT agreement is still extremely
questionable. Evidence has not yet been presented that bank
transaction data serves the fight against terrorism. A simple
statement that investigators, for instance, in three cases were able

to prevent a terrorist attack because of an exchange of data would
be
enough for many people. Then everyone could form his/her own
opinion.
But such figures are not being mentioned. Why not? Because they do

not exist? This thought is coming up now."

8. (Switzerland) Swiss Ban on New Minarets

ARD-TV's Tagesthemen (11/30) newscast opined: "This is a fiasco for

Switzerland's reputation. Fifty-eight percent of the voters
seriously
damaged the notion that the Swiss nation is open-minded and
tolerant...
Integration problems were played up as a national threat. What a
shame for this freedom-loving country!"

Deutschlandfunk (11/30) radio remarked: "Many Europeans are
suspicious
about Islam-and most mosques confirm this view. Somewhere between
wholesale markets and carpet storerooms, Muslims gather on Fridays
and
preach in foreign languages. If mosques were situated in the middle
of
a city and were visible with minarets, everybody would know what is

going on there. Muslims would be acknowledged as a part of the
society, and Imams would have to expect non-Muslims to listen to
their
prayers."

Sddeutsche Zeitung (12/01) editorialized: "The Swiss vote matters
to
all of Europe because we must fear similar results if referendums
were
to be held in other countries, for instance in France and
Germany....
The truth is that the majority of the Swiss Muslims are liberal and

hardly religious. Most of them are immigrants or former refugees
from
Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia. All these countries can hope for
joining the EU some time in the future.... Then, at the latest, the
EU
will comprise nations with a majority of Muslim inhabitants. Europe

must not wait that long to redefine its relations with Islam."

Frankfurter Rundschau (12/01) commented: "There are similar
tendencies
in our country. Many people did not have a problem with ignoring
the

constitution in the dispute over a central mosque in Cologne. Every

third person categorically rejects Muslim prayer houses of any size,

both with and without minarets. Catholic and Protestant fears of
being marginalized are becoming more evident at the moment where
another religion begins to leave behind traces in the image of
cities
and towns. This does not reveal the problems the majority has with

the Muslim minority, but the problems non-Muslims have with
themselves. A building ban is a helpless and unimaginative
response."


MURPHY

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