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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Mideast, U.S,

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DE RUEHRL #0097/01 0251502
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251502Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6355
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 1947
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0669
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1188
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2689
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1708
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0871
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUZEADH/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 BERLIN 000097

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 IQ HA XF US ECON
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, HAITI, MIDEAST, U.S,
ECONOMIC;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan) Run-Up to London Conference
3. (Iraq) Biden Visit
4. (Haiti) Reconstruction Efforts
5. (Mideast) Peace Process, U.S. Role
6. (U.S.) Obama Administration
7. (Economic) Banking Regulation


1. Lead Stories Summary

The majority of newspapers dealt with Left Party leader Oskar
Lafontaine's decision to step down from the party leadership.
Frankfurter Allgemeine carried an interview wit Defense Minister zu

Guttenberg, while Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that Germans have to

expect an increase in contributions to the statutory health care
system. Editorials focused on Oskar Lafontaine's stepping down from

the Left Party's leadership and Foreign Minister Westerwelle's
proposal to help Taliban supporters cut their links to the group.
Other editorials dealt with proposals to reform the banking system.

ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute opened with a report from
Haiti
and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened with a story
on
Oskar Lafontaine.

2. (Afghanistan) Run-Up to London Conference

All papers reported that the German government will change its
strategy when it comes to the training of Afghan security and police

forces and offer this training not only in camps and bases but will

also go to the countryside and train Afghans security forces in the

field. In addition, the government is obviously thinking of
increasing the Bundeswehr forces by 500 soldiers, even though this
figure has not yet been confirmed. In addition, Foreign Minister
Westerwelle has suggested an exit program for Taliban supporters.

Weekly Der Spiegel's cover story (three pages) also deals with the
events in Afghanistan and it reported that "The Americans have
approved on a new strategy against the Taliban shortly before the
beginning of the London conference. The German government can only

follow or continue to make a fool of itself. But if it backs the
[U.S.] strategy, the number of German victims is likely to follow."

In its report, Der Spiegel noted that "the London Afghanistan
conference was considered a focal point of Germany's policy towards

Afghanistan, but now the German government is faced with a similar
rank such as at the climate summit in Copenhagen. It is allowed to

present its views here and there but it will hardly have any
influence
on the great questions. The term 'middle power' on which German
politicians got high on for a while only sounds absurd. Such as
China
determined the climate summit, the United States dominates the
policy
on Afghanistan. The weeks before the conference turned into an
embarrassment for the Germans, not only because of the arrogance of
a

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Richard Holbrooke. The Americans decided to send 2,500 soldiers to

Northern Afghanistan. This is a clear vote of no-confidence against

the Germans who are responsible for the North."

Tagesspiegel carried a front-page report under the headline:
"Bundeswehr to leave its Camps more often - new Strategy for the
Afghanistan Mission." Die Welt carried a front-page report under
the
headline: "Westerwelle Wants to Pacify Taliban with Money," while
Financial Times Deutschland headlined: "Additional Trainers for
Police
and Armed forces - Today Decision on New Strategy - Opting-out Fund

for Taliban," and reported that "The German government wants to
extend
its engagement in Afghanistan primarily for the civilian
reconstruction and when it comes to the training of security forces.

Today, the four Ministries involved in the talks will meet with
Chancellor Merkel to coordinate the final details." In another
report, FT Deutschland headlined: "The West Wants to Defeat Taliban

with Money," and wrote: "The international community has a new peace

plan for Afghanistan. After years of futile attempts to defeat the

Taliban militarily, the Afghanistan conference in London this
Thursday
is to approve a fund that is to help reintegrate the insurgents.
This
fund in which the U.S. the UK, Germany and other states are involved

is to be a first step for a long-term peace process." Sueddeutsche

Zeitung headlined: "Taliban Who Want to Take Part in Exit Program
Urgently Wanted," while Berliner Zeitung reported that "[Defense
Minister] zu Guttenberg Offers more Soldiers for Afghanistan."

Deutschlandfunk commented: "Foreign Minister Westerwelle announced
intensified German efforts for the civilian reconstruction of the
country and an exit program for the Taliban, which, according to
Westerwelle, have joined the group not out of a fanatic conviction
but
out of economic reasons. With this proposal the German government
is
backing the views of mockers saying that it would be better to pay
all
Afghans a monthly salary, which would be cheaper and result in fewer

casualties than sticking to an expensive international military
mission that causes many losses. This war cannot be won militarily.

ISAF and NATO cannot avoid learning the same lesson in Afghanistan
which forced the Soviets and the British to withdraw their forces
after heavy losses and without anything profoundly changing in the
country. To have the political power in Afghanistan as a whole has

always meant to be dependent on the support of the powerful tribal
leaders or war lords whose loyalty can be bought. In so far,
Westerwelle's exit program is not unrealistic...but with respect to

Germany, only one concept could be implemented in a realistic way:

the one on the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr."

In an editorial Frankfurter Allgemeine judged: "If the Bundeswehr

BERLIN 00000097 003 OF 007


is
taking its mission seriously and creates security in its operational

area, wants to make possible reconstruction and development, and if
it
also wants to protect the Afghan population form Taliban
attacks...then,
according to military experts, the current forces are not enough.
More trainers are also necessary for the training of the Afghan
armed
forces. Those who are speaking of 'a perspective for a withdrawal,'

but ignore the decisions that must be made now, are fooling
themselves
and the public."

Leipziger Volkszeitung deals with the exit program for Taliban
supporters that Foreign Minister Westerwelle has suggested and
opined:
"It is Westerwelle's secret of how such a program should work in a
mountain village in the Hindu Kush. The Bundeswehr had to hear from

its U.S. ally that it has not shown presence 'in the field.' Now
the
federal government has no scruples using its checkbook and
categorizing who is to be considered a radical and a moderate among

the Taliban. This is not only a sign of hubris but is also a play
with
fire."

Regional daily MQrkische Oderzeitung of Frankfurt on the Oder
judged:
"Foreign Minister Westerwelle considered it a good idea to offer
money
to Afghans who fight with the Taliban. In return, they should no
longer use violence. This is an expensive idea and only reveals the

West's helplessness concerning the situation in Afghanistan.
Indeed,
a small part of the Taliban supports [the terrorist group] out of
misery. But this does not mean that they would leave the
organization
for money. On the one hand, they are ideologically trained to hate

the state that is supported by the West, and, on the other hand, as

'traitor' of Islam they are threatened with death or they could be
ostracized. And with them, a large scale family would also be
threatened and such a structure is the rule in Afghanistan."

3. (Iraq) Biden Visit

Several papers carried factual news reports on Vice President
Biden's
visit to Baghdad. Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined: "Biden Failed
in
Baghdad," and reported: "Prime Minister Maliki keeps insisting on
the
exclusion of many Sunnis from the elections. When looking of the
list
of candidates, who were excluded from the elections, then this were

overwhelmingly only Sunnis. While President Talabani criticized the

measure against alleged collaborators, Prime Minister Maliki even
defended his views in talks with Biden. A spokesman for Maliki said


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that Biden had not come to Baghdad 'to interfere in domestic affairs

but to discuss the strategic relations between the United States and

Iraq.' Following his talks in Baghdad, Biden expressed his optimism

that the Iraqi leadership would continue to 'work for a
comprehensive
and fair solution.'" Tagesspiegel reported under the headline:
"Candidates Remain Excluded," and said: "Vice President Biden's
visit
to Baghdad fell on deaf ears. He was unable to assert his criticism

of the exclusion of more than 500 politicians in the elections."

Under the headline: "Cold Shoulder," Frankfurter Allgemeine
editorialized: "U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has now tried in vain
to
prompt the electoral commission in Baghdad to review the exclusion
of
secular candidates who have thus far proven to be loyal and capable.

Washington is afraid that the election could not be considered
legitimate. The Sunnis in particuar are faced with serious
disadvantages. America that toppled Saddam Hussein has withdrawn
its
forces and deployed them in camps and bases and is now internally
preparing for a troop withdrawal. But this will automatically also

diminish its political influence on Baghdad."

4. (Haiti) Reconstruction Efforts

In a front-page editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine remarked: "Given
that the Pentagon is deploying an increasing number of soldiers in
the
region devastated by the quake, some people get a funny feeling.
Although more aid would have been stuck in the air over
Port-au-Prince
without the effective American leadership, many in the region would

like to hear more about Obama's plans: for how long will the
Americans
stay? This question is justified, however not because the bigmouths

of Caracas and Managua are right.... Haiti now needs two who have
been
mistrusting each other for a long time. It is true what Kofi Annan

said in his last speech as UN secretary general: history shows that

the UN system works badly when the U.S. stands aside. However, it
can
work very well when America has a farsighted leadership."

Sddeutsche editorialized: "Aid, particularly food, often proves to
be
a sweet poison that carries the germ for the next greater
catastrophe.
There are two kinds of assistance: the good and sustainable one is
focusing on stimulating the people to help themselves. It sets the

foundation for the people to get on their feet as soon as possible
and
to get their lives under control again. The bad one creates
dependencies and leads to a mentality of petitioners who do not
trust
themselves anymore but give in to their situations. Let's hope

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Haitians will find self-respect. One way to achieve this would be
to
establish a functioning agriculture that grows enough rice to feed
the
whole country. The land and the farmers are there, but because
Haiti
is only the hinterland of a large power, it had to open up its
markets
in the times of globalization for cheaper American rice. This soon

brought an end to Haitian rice production.... The domestic
production
in ruins, hunger imported: this was a very bad path. It would help

the country and the dignity of its people to correct this now. The

opportunity is there: never before has this forgotten part of the
island received so much sympathy and-which is at least as
important-
many countries around the world are unexpectedly providing large
sums
of money. With it, Haiti could be turned into a self-sufficient
country.... Given its current situation, Haiti will accept the
assistance it gets. It looks as if it does not get what it needs:
the
aid to help itself. The WFP will continue to distribute the
surpluses
of the rich countries."

5. (Mideast) Peace Process, U.S. Role

Under the headline "Zigzag course," Sddeutsche editorialized that
"Obama has gambled away rapprochement between the Israelis and the
Palestinians by his shocking naivety.... A withdrawal would
certainly
by tempting for Washington. The rivals are stubborn, the situation
is
deadlocked and Barack Obama has just admitted in an interview that
his
ambitious Mideast plans have failed. The President said he has
underestimated a few problems and had therefore too many
expectations.
This analysis is right. However, apart from this remarkable
honesty,
Obama also reveals shocking naivety. This naivety is to blame for a

part of today's problems. The Nobel Peace Price laureate did not
just
promise more than he could keep, his zigzag policy also pushed the
rivals into positions that made negotiations more difficult... It
does
not make sense to send Mitchell again and again as a petitioner with

the increasingly bizarre task of negotiating whether negotiations
could be possible."

6. (U.S.) Obama Administration

Frankfurter Allgemeine commented: "Either President Obama has lost
his
composure, or, what is more likely, his angry complaints about
judges
suggested the style that should lead him out of his defensive....
Two
days earlier, he already attacked the country's large banks and said

he would keep a tighter rein on them. There is no question about
this: After the electoral defeat in Massachusetts, the President has

BERLIN 00000097 006 OF 007

chosen a more aggressive line." In a separate report, Frankfurter
Allgemeine headlined "Back in the election campaign," and added that

"Obama is taking flight in left-wing rhetoric."

Die Welt highlighted: "U.S. President pretends to be close to the
people again and is more aggressive: open battle with the U.S.
supreme
court-major speech awaited on Wednesday.... With populist furor,
President Obama tries to respond to the crisis of his presidency and

that of the Democratic Party."

In an editorial under the headline "A week of Defeats for Barack
Obama
- the President under Pressure," Die Welt (1/23) noted: "The
President
is fighting again. Not for his agenda, but his office. At the
beginning of his second year in office, Barack Obama stands with his

back to the wall. Liberal Massachusetts dealt him a personal
defeat...
He is now obviously trying to appeal to Main Street again and to
tackle to continuing job crisis. And he hits Wall Street with
populism. It remains to be seen whether this dual strategy will
work.
However, he does not have many alternatives."

7. (Economic) Banking Regulation

Handelsblatt judged in an editorial: "President Obama's proposals on

the disintegration of big banks nave not only shook up the
international banking landscape like an earthquake. With his
politically motivated move, Obama also has shaken up the previous
plan
of an internationally coordinated financial reform. Those who
insist
that the big banks must pay for their mistakes in the market
economy,
must develop rules that will not result in a danger for the
financial
system once they go bankrupt. Higher capital requirements can slow

down growth, but not remove risks stemming from large banks.
Despite
all the criticism of the U.S. proposals, Obama has put the finger in

the right wound. Europe should follow him."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (1/23) argued: "Basically we must thank the
bankers in the U.S. and Europe that they are acting the same way
they
did before the financial crisis. President Obama now wants to
prevent
the banks from making high risk investments, restrict trade among
themselves and, if necessary, force them to disintegrate. It does
not
matter whether Obama is serious or whether he only wants to score
points after the most recent domestic hit below the belt. It is
important that he acts at all because, without the United States, a

global financial reform will be impossible.... But the decisive
question has not yet been resolved: How can a bank be prevented from

becoming so powerful that it can force the state to bail it out in
case of a worst case scenario? We also owe it to Chancellor Merkel

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that this question is still on the agenda.... At the global level
Chancellor Merkel should back Obama's proposal to limit risky
businesses of banks. But everyone should quickly bid farewell to
the
proposal that governments could stay out of crisis management. The

state will always be the last resort because it is the state which
has
the means and the authority to prevent a conflagration. This, too,
is
a lesson from the crisis."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/23) editorialized: "President Obama now
seems to take on the banks. The loss of his popularity, the loss of
a
Senate seat, and the anger of the people at the fat cats at Wall
Street are the reasons for this change of course. But will Obama
assert his views? Wall Street has a powerful lobby with good
connections to the Republicans, who, as defenders of the banks,
hardly
have a chance to score points among the voters. A debate over the
size of banks...is more appropriate than the populist call for
punitive
taxes or a limit on bonus payments. A splitting up of banks cannot

prevent the next crisis but could contribute to preventing states
from
being liable for deposits to prevent a run on banks."

Under the headline "Obama's Herculean task," FT Deutschland noted:
"President Obama must still demonstrate that he is serious about his

plans to tighten the regulation of banks. However, the Europeans
should follow his example.... Although many details are not yet
clear,
the direction is right. For his fight, the President should be
quickly supported by all those who have to take the necessary legal

steps after this crisis. The American President is facing an
opponent
who knows every trick in the book."

According to FAZ, "the German government does not want President
Obama
to leave it in the dust. The billions of euro with which the German

taxpayer had to save the banks have not been forgotten. But
Chancellor Merkel and Finance Minister SchQuble should do more than

just making announcements. Why should it always last a few months
before the first proposals come to the fore? It is right to support

international coordinated efforts. Even bankers are saying that the

casino at the financial markets has reopened again. But what
SchQuble
has presented thus far is nothing but white ointment. What would be

more important is to work out insolvency procedures for systemic
banks. They must become insolvent without plunging the financial
system into an abyss or having a chance to blackmail the state."

MURPHY

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