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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Climate Obama, Russia,

VZCZCXRO7758
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1539/01 3381247
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041247Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5969
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 1800
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0519
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1038
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2543
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1563
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0728
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 001539

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 AG KGHG US RS ETRD
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN, CLIMATE OBAMA, RUSSIA,
WTO;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan) Reaction To President Obama's Address
3. (Climate) Copenhagen Summit
4. (U.S.) Obama Administration
5. (Russia) Putin Comments
6. (Economic) WTO Talks

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media leads with reports on Defense Minister zu Guttenberg's
remarks in the Bundestag that the Sept 4. air strike on two fuel
trucks near Kunduz "was not appropriate." Frankfurter Rundschau
leads
with a story on the upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen and
carried
a supplement that deals with the event. Handelsblatt focused on the

European Central Bank and signs that it is moving away from its
expansive monetary policy as a result of improvements in the
economy.
Editorials centered on the Bundestag debate over the airstrike near

Kunduz and the decision by the European Court on Human Rights that
increased custody rights of fathers for their children. ZDF-TV's
early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast
Tagesschau opened with Defense Minister zu Guttenberg's speech to
the
Bundestag on the Afghanistan air strikes.

2. (Afghanistan) Reaction To President Obama's Address

German editorials on Afghanistan focused on German Defense Minster
zu
Guttenberg's reassessment of the September 4 airstrikes against fuel

tankers near Kunduz that reportedly killed many civilians. Only a
few
editorials dealt with yesterday's renewal of the parliamentary
mandate
for the German mission in Afghanistan and the new U.S. strategy.

Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/04) opined: "The Bundestag renewed an
unchanged mandate for the mission in Afghanistan for one year. But

for how long will the limit of 4,500 soldiers last? ... It is not a

secret that the German army can hardly achieve its self-chosen
mission
in the north of the country with current troop levels.... It is
also
clear that President Obama is expecting more from the Germans.
Postponing the decision now is not convincing. What do we
gain-apart
from time? We must not use Obama's month-long debate about a
strategy
as an example. However, it would not be bad if the responsible
generals in Germany could say something in public."

Tagesspiegel (12/04) remarked in an editorial: "The German
government
wants to make a statement on a potential increase of the German
contingent only after the London conference on Afghanistan at the
end
of January. It is more than doubtful whether it will be able to
stick
to this. The attempt to simply discuss civilian assistance appears
to
be artificial."

BERLIN 00001539 002 OF 006

The Munich-based Abendzeitung (12/04) editorialized: "Do we
actually
care about what the Afghans want? They want to work, need hospitals

and schools, also for their girls. Soldiers build the
infrastructure
for these things and protect them. If they withdrew, the Taliban
would destroy them and with it the approach to create a civilization

the majority of the people in the world wants. We need more of it,

not just soldiers. This is the only chance that rich countries
have
to get out of Afghanistan. This costs a lot of money and takes
time,
but the alternative is the victory of the Taliban. And this must
not
happen."

Sddeutsche (12/04) highlighted in an editorial that "America should

seek support from the Muslim countries in the war in Afghanistan."

The paper explains: "The fact that the rulers in the Gulf region and

their Islam preachers had good relations with the Taliban leadership

and met with them regularly has been forgotten again. American
President Barack Obama has now announced his strategy to end the
chaos
in Afghanistan: 30,000 fresh soldiers will be deployed soon and the

Afghan security forces will be armed better. This is not
convincing.
Obama's decision to begin withdrawing troops in 2011 invites the
Taliban to wait out the American offensive in the caves of Tora
Bora.
Apart from opium, time is the only thing the country has. The
building up of an Afghan army is wishful thinking. The end of the
Soviet occupation in 1989 and the following disaster shows what kind

of troops they have: the soldiers laid down their weapons as soon as

the enemy was visible. Obama's idea of an army can work only if a
state is simultaneously set up with which the soldiers can identify.

This will not happen. Obama is, however, right about one thing:
his
army cannot do nation building in Afghanistan.... This would
require
the kind of legitimacy the U.S. does not have. Other countries are

more credible - Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey. Muslim involvement

would deprive the Taliban of their main argument; that infidel
occupiers trample on Islam with their military boots. Of course,
Muslim countries are involved in the reconstruction... and Turkey is

part of the NATO troops. However, they need to influence the
country's policy more."

Thringische Landeszeitung (12/04) opined: "The Europeans would be
well-advised to subject this 'mission impossible' to a critical
evaluation. More military will not do any good if there is no
stability in the country and the (Afghan) people do not trust their

own government. Any strategy which disregards this aspect is doomed

BERLIN 00001539 003 OF 006

to fail." Thringer Allgemeine Zeitung seconded this view in an
editorial saying: "Tanks are not the way to restore trust with the

population."

SQchsische Zeitung (12/04) commented: "President Obama is taking a
great risk - not only militarily but also politically - because he
has
no guarantee that Germany and the other allies will follow him and
boost their contingents in Afghanistan as requested. Obama's goal to

turn around the war in Afghanistan within the next 18 months is not

based on a persuasive concept but on the principle of hope - not
enough to send additional troops into this risky mission with a
clean
conscience."

Freie Presse (12/04) commented: "With this daring mix of escalation

and withdrawal, Obama is playing his last trump card. While success

remains uncertain, one thing is 100 percent sure: the number of
U.S.
casualties will rise in the coming months. And from now on they
will
be Obama's dead." Volksstimme (12/04) remarked: "You want to bet

that Germany will up its contingent by 2,000 troops (at the London)

Afghanistan conference)? The German government has allegedly
already
taken this into consideration."

Mass tabloid Bild (12/04) editorialized: "It is smart that the new
defense minister has spoken so clearly... The U.S. allies, who
sharply
criticized the attack so early on, no longer appear to be
backstabbers.... And what will soldiers now think of their boss,
who is
not afraid of making decisions? They will appreciate him even more

because zu Guttenberg protects the tragic colonel who decided in the

deep of the night in favor of the security of his troops."

ARD-TV's Tagesthemen (12/03) commented on Defense Minister zu
Guttenberg's reassessment of the September 4 airstrikes: "This was a

remarkable performance. A minister who corrected himself and
apologized for a disastrously wrong assessment he had made three
weeks
earlier. He did so in front of parliament and not hedged in by
clauses in a press interview. This is unprecedented in the usually

diehard defense ministry. This earned him respect."

3. (Climate) Copenhagen Summit

The Bundestag approved the ambitious government goals for the
upcoming
climate summit in Copenhagen, with speakers saying it will be
necessary "at least to reach an agreement on the core points of a
future agreement." The details should be negotiated in the first
half
of 2010.


BERLIN 00001539 004 OF 006


In the Bundestag debate, Environment Minister Norbert RQttgen (CDU)

expressed his optimism about a positive outcome of the conference,
arguing: "I am pleased to see that the preparatory talks have
developed momentum and that all sides are willing to achieve a
success." He added that "there is no alternative" to success
because
the climate problems are too serious. Representatives of all
parties
represented in the Bundestag made similar statements
(Sueddeutsche).

Frankfurter Rundschau (12/04) carried a supplement that examines
environmental problems from all angles. One report dealt with U.S.

efforts to fight climate change and reported that "without waiting
for
Washington, half of the 50 U.S. states have made their own laws for

the use of renewable energies. The operators of power plants must
constantly increase their share in renewable energies since they are

otherwise threatened with hefty fines. The report states that
pessimists cite the varied history of wind and solar power in the
United States where bankruptcies always followed a boom, but the
founder and President of the Earth Policy Institute, Lester Brown
said: 'This time, there is no way back.'"

According to Handelsblatt (12/04), "China and the United States are

playing the decisive role at the climate summit in Copenhagen.
After
a long climate policy abstinence, the two most important countries
in
the world have finally committed themselves to pursuing their own
climate goals. But they lag far behind what would be necessary in
order to reach at least a limit to global warming of two degrees
centigrade. All indications are that China and the United States
will
sign an agreement only if the reduction goals are based on 2005, not

1990 as originally planned. This sounds harmless but resembles a
1000
meter race that is stopped after 500 meters to allow two well-rested

runners to join the race. Of course, Germany and the EU have,
compared to other industrialized nations, made enormous efforts and

that is why Germany in particular is leading in the development of
future technologies with respect to environmental protection. The
demand for such products will grow and domestic industries have the

best chances to profit from this development. But Germany and the
EU
cannot save the global climate on their own. But they can be a model

that is copied by other countries because they also want to make a
profit."

Frankfurter Rundschau (12/04) editorialized: "If leading climate
politicians such as Barack Obama, Wen Jiaobao, Merkel, and Co. and
their successors fail to meet the two-degree centigrade goal, they
will shoulder an unprecedented responsibility. It is true that
hectic
activities are not necessary but French President Sarkozy is right
when he says 'The future of our planet is at stake in Copenhagen.'

That is why it is all the more grotesque to see how the climate

BERLIN 00001539 005 OF 006


powers
are reacting in the preparatory stages of the Copenhagen summit.
They
have wasted a lot of time and energy. The APEC summit three weeks
ago
created the impression that the climate summit could be cancelled
out
of a lack of interest of the world leaders. But this was a salutary

shock and more than 70 leaders have promised to attend the summit.

Measured against the things that are at stake, Obama and Co. cannot

afford to produce hot air in Copenhagen. If they do, then the only

thing that helps will be to pray."

Under the headline: "Hunger on a Hot Planet," die tageszeitung
(12/04)
opined: "At the Copenhagen summit, the developing countries will
demand additional funds to adapt to climate change. And they are
right. First, because the consequences of climate change have hit
them harder than, for instance, Germany. And second, the
industrialized countries are responsible for the problem. The
United
States alone produced 350 percent more greenhouse gases than China
between 1903 and 2000. That is why the industrialized countries
promised developing countries more funds at the Bali summit; they
want
to discuss their own commitments only if the North has paid. The
German government is now testing the reverse approach. The
developing
nations should reduce their emissions first, before they will get
money, but only from the millennium budget. But one millennium goal

is to halve the number of starving people, not to build higher dams.

The number of starving people, however, increased by 80 million over

the past few years, not least because of the climate crisis."

4. (U.S.) Obama Administration

Under the headline "Delayed New Beginning," Berliner Zeitung (12/04)

analyzed: "President Obama would have liked to present himself as a

peace maker during the December 10 awarding of the Nobel Peace
Prize....
Now, Obama is traveling to the ceremony, fairly inappropriately,
with
a decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan. The new U.S.-Russian

disarmament agreement could have been the desired positive signal.

But it will not be ready in time.... The plans were boldly
optimistic
anyway because the matter is as complex and difficult as two decades

ago.... So far, the rhetoric of a new beginning has changed only
little
of the substance of the U.S.-Russian relations. Both countries have

not defined the general line for the way they deal with each other.

Obama knows that he needs Russia if he wants to overcome the legacy
of
his predecessor in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. It is

BERLIN 00001539 006 OF 006


however still unclear whether he sees Medvedev as someone who can
help
or as an equal partner. On the other side, Moscow needs an
agreement with the U.S. because the progress of modernization is
advancing more slowly than the ambitious plans from the time before

the financial crisis foresaw. Both approaches do not yet express
any
strategic redefinition."

5. (Russia) Putin Comments

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/04) editorialized: "Vladimir Putin said he

would possibly run for the presidency in 2012. Dimitrij Medvedev
said
that he could also run. But those who consider this race a real
competition for the Russian presidency reduce a highly complex
interplay of interests and dependencies to a binary system. But it
is
not that easy. Of course, the almost familiar Putin TV show differs

from Medvedev's pompous visions with which he wants to make the
Russians happy. But the great, almost socialist gestures with which

the Russian president develops a shining future once Russia has
freed
itself from stagnation and dependence is attracting the Russians
much
less than Putin's appearance. Medvedev is getting completely
involved
in his modernization craze, even though he has only two years left
in
office."
6. (Economic) WTO Talks

In an editorial Handelsblatt (12/04) argued that "in a crisis,
charity
begins at home." The paper added: "For the recovery of the global
economy, the protection and the extension of free trade can
contribute
more to the global economic recovery than any other economic
stimulus
program. And the best thing about it is that the tearing down of
trade walls does not cost a penny. On the contrary, the reduction
of
agricultural subsides would even reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

Free trade also contributes to a more peaceful co-existence of all
peoples. And that is why it should be irresistible for all sides
involved...but reality looks different. Even if we judge the WTO
meeting in Geneva by the minimum expectations of its participants,
then the meeting was a failure. The trading nations again blamed
each
other for the failure and only professional optimists such as WTO
head
Pascal Lamy expect the Doha Round to conclude 2010. The WTO is
threatening to turn into a chatting club. In this crisis, many
nations act according to the slogan: charity begins at home.' But
this approach will make everyone a loser in global trade. British
economist David Ricardo proved 200 years ago that everyone profits
if
each nations concentrates on its economic strengths and buys the
rest
abroad. This is still true today."

MURPHY

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