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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Haiti Earthquake, Obama Presidency,

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191422Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6298
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
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RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0858
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 04 BERLIN 000064

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: PTER SENV ASEC KMDR AF US HA UP
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: HAITI EARTHQUAKE, OBAMA PRESIDENCY,
AFGHANISTAN, UKRAINE ELECTIONS;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. Haiti Earthquake
3. Obama Presidency -- One Year On
4. Afghanistan -- New Ministers, Attack on Government Quarter
5. Ukraine elections


1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening
newscast Tagesschau opened with reports from Haiti. Print media
centered on the Taliban attack on the government quarter in Kabul
(FAZ, Frankfurter Rundschau), while Tagesspiegel and die
tageszeitung led with the aid efforts for Haiti. Sueddeutsche led
with a report on a study indicating that civil servants are better
off economically than private sector employees. Editorials focused
on the events in Haiti and on a controversial donation to the FDP.


2. Haiti Earthquake

Headlines included: "U.S. takes over Haiti" (Tageszeitung), "Haiti
gives America a free choice" (FT Deutschland), "U.S. leads aid
mission in Haiti--American army takes over airport/Secretary Clinton
promises longterm support" (Sueddeutsche), "UN speaks of largest
catastrophe in its history" (Frankfurter Allgemeine 1/18), "Lootings
and violence increase--International community gives more
money/former Presidents Clinton and Bush coordinate assistance"
(Tagesspiegel).

Under the headline "America is taking over," the Frankfurter
Allgemeine (1/18) noted that "it is not quite clear what the
U.S.-Haitian agreement includes. It is apparently vaguely defined,
unlimited and will basically make Haiti a humanitarian U.S.
protectorate for many years to come. Washington's protectorate is
obviously causing envy in Paris and among Europeans."

Tagesspiegel opined: "The organization of assistances requires a
great level of professionalism. At Haiti's request, the U.S.
government is commanding the humanitarian mission. The U.S. must
therefore first get the chaos under control and contain the looting
and the violence. This means it must quickly deploy a sufficient
number of soldiers. Only then can doctors and supply teams work
efficiently. Such logistical priorities sometimes have a bitter
consequence: the deployment of troops has priority over the
treatment of severely injured people.... The world should be
grateful to the U.S. for bearing the responsibility in Haiti.
Complaints are out of the question."

In a front-page editorial entitled "Not without America,"
Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/18) praised U.S. efforts: "This is the
political truth: nothing would work without the energetic American
mission, despite the selfless engagement of other [countries'] aid
workers. Without Washington's long-term engagement, Haiti has no
future. Those Haitians who survived will understand that Secretary
Clinton's statement is a path out of the misery, not a threat."

Under the headline "Invasion of mercy," Sueddeutsche (1/18)
editorialized: "In this catastrophe, the U.S. is showing its best
side. Assistance and support for neighbors in need is one of the
original American virtues. It is an invasion of mercy with which
the U.S. shoulders the crisis in Haiti.... Nobody can currently
help more than the superpower. However, many will know afterwards
what one could have done better. The good deed of the moment could
turn into an evil curse in the long run."

Today's Sueddeutsche editorial added: "The government in Washington
did what it is best at: deploy troops, use structures of command,

BERLIN 00000064 002 OF 004


and mobilize money. As the inventor of the Marshall Plan, it showed
once more that power and mercy do not contradict themselves. As the
richest neighbor, the U.S. presents itself as a caring big brother,
which will certainly improve Obama's and the whole nation's
reputation throughout the world."

3. Obama Presidency -- One Year On

Sueddeutsche Zeitung editorialized: "There is only one thing for
Obama now: he must show what America calls leadership and make clear
what he wants. Getting the country's finances right must have the
highest priority. The great crisis has led to a national deficit of
unbelievable dimensions. Without a clear strategy, the U.S. will
face a crisis of its national finances, of the dollar -- and of its
political leadership role. A Congress that is malfunctioning and
navel-gazing will not provide this strategy. Obama must lead."

In a front-page editorial, Tagesspiegel (1/18) wrote: "Those who
rise high can fall deep. It was only 12 months ago that America
enthusiastically inaugurated its President.... How powerful this
has changed can be seen in Massachusetts, where the Senate race is
suddenly undecided. For decades, the Senate seat has been in the
hands of Democrats.... If the Democrats were defeated there, it
would -- symbolically speaking -- hit the country like a
bombshell.... Overall, Obama is a better manager than [former
President Bill] Clinton and shows a better sense of moderation than
[former President George W.] Bush. Assistance to Haiti has been
provided remarkably quickly and effectively -- particularly in
comparison with Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina. The [averted]
plane attack revealed that Obama focused on Yemen and took action a
long time ago. He has coped with the financial crisis and is now
getting the government's money back from banks. In case he achieves
health reform and gets the national debt under control, he will have
historic achievements. Obama's loss of reputation has to do with
America's difficult approach to its political system and the deeply
rooted skepticism towards 'those in Washington.' Many people have
an idealized idea of what politicians can do, and are complaining at
the same time about the ugliness of the fight between the parties.
They are longing for a messiah and have difficulties acknowledging
the achievements of the mechanic."

Die Welt opined: "America is stuck in a mist of a depression. One
year after the jubilant election of Barack Obama, a formerly hopeful
nation is pessimistic about its future.... Germans share this view.
Some are concerned about the American decline, others -- and
probably the majority -- are pleased with it without asking what
should take America's place. However, both groups share the view
that America's decline cannot be stopped. It will come -- one can
hear -- as certain as China's rise. But hold on! .... There is no
doubt that America is in a crisis. However, as in 1979, it will
come out of its malaise... It is too early to write off America."


4. Afghanistan -- New Ministers, Attack on Government Quarter

Under the headline: "Karzai's Cabinet of Willing Executioners,"
Berliner Zeitung opined: "The 224 members of the Afghan parliament
voted on each of the minister candidates and the Afghans watched the
procedure on TV and witnessed democracy in practice. In the first
attempt, the parliament rejected the majority of the candidates,
Karzai had presented. But those were confirmed who were important
for cooperation with the West. Now again 10 candidates were
rejected but the most important ones were confirmed. Particularly
the aides of war lords and influential tribal politicians helped
Karzai manipulate the elections. This is not a real new beginning,
and no one hoped this to be. At issue now is only "Afghanization."
The West wants to drastically reduce its engagement in the country
today rather than tomorrow, and the government must try to find a

BERLIN 00000064 003 OF 004


sure footing. One precondition would be that Karzai governs in a
way the Afghans support him again. But when looking at the Cabinet
that he is patching up right now, then the chances to succeed are
only small."

All papers carry extensive reports on the Taliban attack on the
government quarter in Kabul. Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined: "For
Hours, fighting I the Government Quarter in Kabul," while
Sueddeutsche Zeitung sub-titled: "Taliban launch attack on
presidential palace and foreign ministry during swearing-in
ceremony." Financial Times Deutschland carried a lengthy report
under the headline; "Taliban Attack Government in Kabul," and
reported: "The well coordinated action of the Islamists shows t how
helplessly the Karzai government is acting against the threat
emanation from the Taliban. According to Taliban information, only
20 fighters were involved in the offensive. They managed to plunge
the capital into chaos within minutes." Under the headline:
"Capital As Battle Zone," Tagesspiegel reported: "Only ten days
before the International Afghanistan conference in London, the war
ridden country experienced a new nightmare. Despite massive
security controls 20 to 30 Taliban, among them ten suicide
attackers, succeeded in infiltrating the center of the capital which
is teeming with soldiers."

Under the headline: "Terror is Nurturing Anger," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung opined: "Again the Taliban demonstrated that they, with
comparably small expenses, can have a great effect. The Taliban
know that they cannot do anything against the superiority of
international forces and Afghan security units in Kabul. That is why
the attack only reminds everyone that every society can be harassed
with the methods of terror. But this attack also shows how little
the Afghan Security forces can do against this form of terror.
There was no coordination but a lot of confusion among the security
forces. There are two possibilities to learn a lesson from the
attacks. This attack is either further evidence of leaving
Afghanistan and its people to the Taliban or the lesson teaches the
world that there was a posh department store 9the symbol of
progress) which should now be erected as quickly as possible. But
the Taliban seem to be unnerved, too. They are under pressure. The
only thing that they can do is to use terrorist attacks. But among
the majority of Afghans the anger at the religious warriors is
growing."

According to Die Welt, "an attack like this one cannot topple the
government. But this was not the purpose of this attack. It is
rather evidence that the Karzai government and its protectors are
even unable to protect themselves. How should they then be able to
protect the ordinary people.... If the insurgents are able to
maintain this situation to raise protests and rejection of the
voters in Germany and elsewhere, then they will have won. However,
it is odd that the commanders of the Taliban chose the false moment;
the main issue in the world is the nameless misery in Haiti, not the
next volleys in Afghanistan."

die tageszeitung is of a different opinion and editorialized: "The
timing of the attack was well conceived. The Taliban attacked the
government quarters on the day of the swearing in of the new
ministers and they did so a few days before the beginning of the
London conference. The Taliban demonstrated that even in the power
center there can be no military security. This means that President
Obama's planned increase in forces aiming at defeating the Taliban
in a misconception. It should make a surge more difficult and
increase pressure for a political solution according to the
Taliban's conditions."

5. Ukraine elections

Under the headline "Disappointing," Frankfurter Allgemeine

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editorialized: "The presidential decision in Ukraine has not yet
been decided. The lead Victor Yanukovich enjoys over Prime Minister
Timoshenko after the first round is not so big that the main player
of the Orange Revolution has lost yet. The fact that Yanukovich
could run again speaks volumes about the state of Ukraine's
democracy.... It is disappointing what President Yushchenko and his
former partner Timoshenko have made out of their former success. A
seemingly pro-Western policy is not yet a pro-democratic policy.
Even if Timoshenko wins on February 7, the promises of 2004 will
hardly be met."

Handelsblatt opined: "If Yanukovich wins in the second round,
Ukraine will face political paralysis because Timoshenko would
remain prime minister. In such a situation, the country would
further plunge into economic collapse."

Frankfurter Rundschau's editorial added: "Both contenders are
democrats, but they certainly have their weak points. Things will
get quieter in the coming years in Ukraine, but an end of the
political chaos is not yet in sight."

MURPHY

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