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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Climate, Wto,

VZCZCXRO5212
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1521/01 3361139
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021139Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5935
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 1788
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0506
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1026
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2531
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1551
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0716
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 06 BERLIN 001521

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 AF IR RS KGHG ETRD ZP
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, RUSSIA, CLIMATE, WTO,
DUBAI;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan) President Obama's Address
3. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict
4. (Russia) Medvedev's Security Initiative
5. (Climate) Copenhagen Conference
6. (Economic) WTO
7. (Economic) Dubai's Financial Problems, Implications


1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media opened with reports on the ruling by the Constitutional

Court that banned shops from opening on Sundays. Sueddeutsche,
however, dealt with the future U.S. strategy in Afghanistan under
the
headline: "Obama Wants to Force End to the War." Editorials focused

on President Obama's speech on Afghanistan and on the Constitutional

Court's ruling to ban shopping on Sundays. ZDF-TV's early evening
newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau also
opened with stories on the shopping hours.

2. (Afghanistan) President Obama's Address

In a front-page editorial under the headline "Obama's decision,"
Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/02) wrote: "The price of failure would be

enormous, although some of it would only have to be paid at a later

date. Because Obama thinks this price would be too high, he will
send
tens of thousands of additional soldiers to Afghanistan. To fight
the
decisive battle over Afghanistan next year? The President has
obviously not made this first major security policy decision of his

presidency easily. He sought advice and then basically followed the

recommendations of his military commanders. Maybe he could have
made
a decision earlier, particularly because the situation in
Afghanistan
has not gotten better and sentiment in the U.S. finally turned to
the
worse, given the high death toll. Concerning the prospects of
military engagement, American skepticism has almost reached the
European level.... It is obvious that a strong physical presence is

necessary... There is no guarantee that the President's strategy
will
work. At least, Americans have now heard from his mouth why they
should not give up the matter after eight years. Neither should we,

despite all the events that make us pessimistic. We should clarify

what we think Afghanistan is worth to us. The announced increase of

troops will have consequences, some of which will be bad. However,
a
hasty withdrawal and the status quo would have had disastrous
consequences."

Berliner Zeitung (12/02) editorialized: "U.S. President Obama is
begging for more soldiers for the Afghanistan mission - and his
allies
coolly abandon him. French President Sarkozy does not want to send

BERLIN 00001521 002 OF 006

soldiers at all, British Prime Minister Brown only a few, and
Chancellor Merkel postpones the matter... The German government
knows
that it cannot stick to this position because it is clear that the
adventure in Afghanistan will be successfully ended only if the
military and civilian engagement is simultaneously increased."

Under the headline "Obama is hesitating in the fight," Spiegel
Online
(12/02) led with a story saying: "30,000 additional U.S. soldiers,
withdrawal as of 2011 and the focus on Pakistan. Obama's speech on

Afghanistan at the military academy in West Point offered some
details, but little vision. The U.S. President missed an
opportunity
to explain a war many Americans no longer understand."

Handelsblatt (12/02) reported under the headline: "Obama Makes the
War
His Own,": "By increasing U.S. forces...the President is now
assuming
full responsibility for the war in Afghanistan. In view of the
immense state indebtedness of the United States, the costs of the
war
are increasingly the focus of fierce debate. But Obama cannot
expect
quick support from Europe. Yesterday, Berlin and Paris expressly
rejected a quick decision."

Under the headline: "A Mandate to Fear," Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(12/02)
opined: "For months, the U.S. government has been brooding over the

question of how to break the trend in Afghanistan and on how to
stabilize the country in order to leave it. President Obama has
taken
a lot of time for his Afghanistan presentation, with which the ISAF

Alliance will probably get its last chance. In the meantime,
Germany
is faced with an extension of the Afghanistan mandate but the
government and the Bundestag are discussing the matter as if the
strategic approach from Washington did not exist. Obama is calling

upon allies to send more forces. But Germany is again postponing
the
decision to the end of January. There are reasons for this: the
government is still busy with itself and it wants to get the
approval
of the SPD. But one impression remains: patchwork is added to
patchwork. Fear of the public is promoting hesitancy."

In an editorial, regional daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung
(12/02) said: "President Obama is now planning a similar tour de
force
as the one in Iraq: only after an increase in forces and an immense

joint effort with domestic security forces in the anti-terror fight

will a withdrawal come within reach. In November, the number of
victims in terrorist attacks in Iraq declined to the lowest level
since the U.S. invasion in March of 2003. In Afghanistan, there is
no
easy way out. In Afghanistan one thing is true that SPD leader
Gabriel said yesterday with a view to the unpopular issue of an
increase in forces: It is not the task of politics to give in to
moods, but politicians must seek the best solution."

BERLIN 00001521 003 OF 006

In an editorial, Neue Osnabrcker Zeitung (12/02) observed:
"President
Obama will massively increase the U.S. armed forces contingent in
Afghanistan. At the same time, the supreme commander of the U.S.
armed forces is expecting more European forces in Afghanistan. This

approach is expensive but it is the only correct one. The sad days
of
terrorism - 9/11 for the U.S., 3/11 for Spain, and 7/7 for the UK -

have been burnt into the collective mind. In order to prevent such

cowardly attacks and to help the Afghans live in peace, an
intensified
engagement must finally serve the training of police and armed
forces
and the reconstruction of this downtrodden country."

Foreign policy editor Christian FrQhlich wrote in an editorial in
Thringer Allgemeine Zeitung (12/02): "Obama is sending his last
reserves to Afghanistan. With more than 120,000 troops in Iraq and
a
future deployment in excess of 100,000 at the Hindu Kush, even a
superpower like the U.S. is pushing the limits of what is militarily

feasible. The enormous personal burdens resulting from the
eight-year
offensive have brought home to American the dark side of what it
means
to be a soldier. To send more than an additional 35,000 troops was

simply not possible without putting the concept of a voluntary army
in
question. By the same token, it would have been hardly an option to

reintroduce the draft considering the growing domestic resistance to

the Afghanistan mission. As a result, Barack Obama is putting all
his
remaining eggs in one basket. The Afghanistan conference at the end

of January will show whether the international alliance will go
along
with this."

Regional daily Ostsee-Zeitung of Rostock (12/02) argued: "The allies

in Germany, the UK, and France cannot help but increase their forces

in Afghanistan, too. It is true that Chancellor Merkel is still
hesitating but she cannot allow the U.S. president to resolve the
problem on his own. The course for the fight against the Taliban,
al-
Qaida, and criminals is set in Washington. Unease is spreading;
this
is understandable because previous troop increases have not
increased
security. For the time being, the call for an increase in civilian
reconstruction efforts has gone unheard.... Obama's strategy is
risky,
success uncertain, and its failure would be fatal. The Nobel peace

laureate has put his political fate into the hands of generals."

Regional daily Der Neue Tag of Weiden (12/02) had this to say:
"Democrat Obama is now using the same means in Afghanistan with
which

BERLIN 00001521 004 OF 006


Republican Bush succeeded in stabilizing the situation in Iraq to
such
an extent that U.S. forces could withdraw without losing face....
But
the U.S. president does not have too much time left. The Americans

are war-weary and in almost two years, the pre-election campaign
will
begin. And then one thing is all the more true: Afghanistan is
Obama's war."

3. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict

Under the headline: "Tehran's Dream - Iran's Announcement that It
Wants to Build Half a Million Uranium Centrifuges is a Defiant
Reaction," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/02) judged: "France has 59
nuclear
power plants which generate three-quarters of the electricity that
France needs. But it has only one enrichment plant for nuclear
fuel.
Iran does not have a single functioning nuclear power plant but
wants
to build ten enrichment plants. The construction of so many
enrichment
plants would turn Iran into an unprecedented nuclear state. But
Tehran's announcement cannot be implemented; it is simply a defiant

reaction to the sharp rebuke it received from the IAEA. And it was

very painful because China and Russia backed it. If the decision
were
seriously meant, it would reveal a loss of reality reminiscent of
the
self-overestimation of the former Shah. But even if there is no
material basis, this blustering is isolating Iran even more.
Obviously, the ruling circles in Tehran are unable to agree on a
common position. President Ahmadinejad is now taking the bull by
the
horns and talking about a dream empire with half a million
centrifuges
that are supposed to deliver sufficient uranium for the production
of
20,000 Megawatts in electricity in the coming years. As a matter of

fact, Tehran's goals remain unchanged despite all verbal invectives.

Iran's nuclear potential is to be developed to the threshold of
weapons gradability by bypassing sanctions and, if necessary, even
under restrictions."

4. (Russia) Medvedev's Security Initiative

Berliner Zeitung (12/02) analyzed: "Russian President Medvedev has a

favorite foreign political project: a new security pact for the area

between Vancouver and Vladivostok. He was hardly in office when he

proposed this pact during a visit to Berlin. Since then, stormy
times
have passed.... Even now it is clear that Russia and the West
define
the term 'attack' in different ways. The West thinks in terms of
security against non-state threats or of security created by
democratic institutions. Russia understands security rather as a
conventional military threat. As a result, the draft treaty does
not
clarify anything. Germany, at least, cannot simply reject the

BERLIN 00001521 005 OF 006


proposal, since former Foreign Minister Steinmeier encouraged
Medvedev, and we would like the president to enjoy a success.
However, one cannot accept the treaty as it is. It is far too
obvious
that Russia does not want so much to create a new alliance as to
weaken an old one, namely NATO.... It is remarkable that the draft

allows every country to be neutral, but not to choose partners
freely.
This is unacceptable."

Under the headline "Medvedev's Project," Frankfurter Allgemeine
(12/02) commented: "Medvedev first proposed his idea of a new
European
security setup in June 2008 in Berlin. It has taken a long time for

Russia to present a draft treaty. This has domestic reasons: the
powerful man in Russia, Prime Minister Putin, did not like the
project. There were even doubts whether the project, which was so
badly received by the West, should be pursued any further.... The
draft
does not contain any surprises. It is obvious that it is aiming
against NATO's enlargement. There is no talk of human rights.
However, this was also the case with the Conference on Security and

Cooperation in Europe, the successor of the Organization for
Security
and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). In tough diplomatic struggles,
the
Soviet Union made important concessions. Let's see whether history

can be repeated."

5. (Climate) Copenhagen Conference

Under the headline "China Is Playing Tricks with Respect to Carbon
Dioxide [Emissions] Trading," Financial Times Deutschland (12/02)
reported: "Shortly before the Copenhagen climate summit, China is
under pressure as a profiteer of global emissions trading.
According
to FT Deutschland, the responsible UN agency rejected dozens of
Chinese wind park projects. The background is the suspicion that
the
government in Beijing misuses emissions trading to attract foreign
investments to the country. China is by far the greatest profiteer
of
the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Beijing is now
suspected of having intentionally scaled down state subsidies for
domestic wind energy projects to qualify for CDM funds."

In an editorial, FT Deutschland (12/02) noted: "If the UN
secretariat
rejects projects such as the Chinese wind park, then this is a sign

that the CDM works. But the question is whether it is sufficient to

argue that China cut its national subsidy program. The UN
secretariat
cannot tell a government which industries it has to subsidize.
Nevertheless, it is not in the sense of the inventors of CDM that
governments use this mechanism to scale down their own efforts to
protect the climate. That is why it is right that CDM is turning
into
an issue in Copenhagen and beyond. It should be the goal of
amendments to promote less strictly checked projects which make a
genuine contribution to development and climate protection."

6. (Economic) WTO

BERLIN 00001521 006 OF 006

Handelsblatt carried a report on the WTO talks in Geneva under the
headline: "America Pilloried at the WTO Talks," and reported: "At
the
WTO ministerial in Geneva, the United States has come under fire.
The
threshold and developing countries are accusing the United States of

delaying a conclusion of the Doha Round. Egypt's Trade Minister
Rachid Mohamed said: 'We are wasting our time. The United States is

unwilling to move.' Outgoing EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton

warned that the talks would not progress enough to conclude the Doha

Round.... A successful conclusion could result in an additional
push
for the global economy worth up to 700 billion dollars. The poor
countries in particular hope for such a conclusion, because they, in

contrast to the large nations, cannot rely on economic stimulus
programs. In return for a quick conclusion of the Doha Round, the
Americans demand greater market access for industrial goods
primarily
in countries such as China, India, and Brazil. U.S. Trade
Representative Ron Kirk said: 'We are willing to enter into the
final
round of talks but we expect other countries to open their markets
more than they did before.' Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso
Amorim,
however, made the unclear U.S. position in trade policy responsible

for the standstill. He said: 'The Americans do not say what exactly

they want from us.' At the same time, he made clear that it is
unacceptable to call upon the developing countries to make
unilateral
concessions."

7. (Economic) Dubai's Financial Problems, Implications

"Dubai's Ruler Must Realize that He Overestimated his Capabilities,"

is the headline in Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The daily judged: "At the

latest this Friday, the National Holiday in the UAE, everyone in
Dubai
should have realized that the golden times are over....but there is
only
one person who does not want to accept this; the absolutist ruler
sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktum. The ruler does not seem to
be
impressed by the crisis of his country. Even if he does not want to

accept this, he has overreached himself. This insight requires the

capability of self-criticism. But the speech that he wants to
deliver on the National Holiday reveals that he is unable to do so.

Instead he wants to go on as before: to nationalize success and to
privatize debts."

MURPHY

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