Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iran, Ukraine, Eu, Nato, Iraq, Us.;Berlin

DE RUEHRL #0168/01 0391338
R 081338Z FEB 10






E.0. 12958: N/A

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Iran) Nuclear Program, Enrichment
3. (Ukraine) Outcome of Elections
4. (EU) Deficit Worries
5. (NATO) Istanbul Defense Ministers Meeting
6. (Iraq) Parliamentary Elections
7. (U.S.) Budget Deficit

1. Lead Stories Summary

The Frankfurter Allgemeine led with Iran's plans to enrich uranium,
while Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Tagesspiegel dealt with the special
FDP meeting in Berlin. Die Welt carried an interview with
metalworkers' union leader Berthold Huber, and Berliner Zeitung led
with the purchase of data on tax evaders. Editorials focused on the
Munich Security Conference and the debate about the purchase of tax
data. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early
evening newscast Tagesschau opened with reports on the Munich
Security Conference.

2. (Iran) Nuclear Program, Enrichment

All media carried (2/8) lengthy reports and editorials on the
dispute with Iran over its nuclear program. Many papers also
carried photos showing President Ahmadinejad with goggles at the
Iranian Center for Nuclear Sciences, where he called on the
country's nuclear agency to enrich uranium. Headlines included:
"The madman of Tehran shocks the world - Ahmadinejad orders
enrichment of uranium" (mass tabloid Bild), "West wants sanctions"
(Sddeutsche), "Ahmadinejad: We don't want to waste any time with
playing games" (Frankfurter Allgemeine), "New provocations from
Tehran - Foreign Minister Mottaki does not show any willingness to
reach a compromise, his country wants to enrich uranium." (Berliner

Deutschlandfunk (2/7) radio opined on Iranian Foreign Minister
Mottaki's visit to the Munich Security Conference: "Iranian Foreign
Minister Mottaki made a fool of himself at the conference.... The
fact that he did not even prepare the united bunch of security
experts on his President's upcoming decision to begin enriching
uranium made his visit a complete farce."

ARD-TV's late-night Tagesthemen (2/5) newscast noted: "We should not
give this regime the acknowledgment it is seeking. We should put
democratically legitimized screws on them: a list with names of
people who are responsible for human rights violations, no visa for
them, freeze their foreign accounts and stay tough on the nuclear
dispute. If we negotiate with them individually, than people in
Iran will wonder whether we have forgotten them and wonder why they
are risking their lives. What will we tell them?"

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/8) editorialized on its front page: "The
governments of the West, including the German, must prepare
themselves for an escalation of the nuclear dispute with Iran.
Tehran just played with the West again. Tehran is perfect at
gambling for time by raising hopes. Patience is necessary in this
conflict, but also determination to keep its word: Iran has the
right to use nuclear energy, but the Iranian regime must not obtain
nuclear weapons. 2010 will be an acid test for the states of the
western community and all of those who do not want to accept
Islamist terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass

Sddeutsche Zeitung (2/8) remarked: "This was a real provocation by
the Iranian regime, which lampoons anyone who wants to make the
mutual relationship more reliable. Foreign Minister Mottaki's
attendance in Munich and the timely supporting measure by President
Ahmadinejad can only mean that the government in Tehran does not

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know anything about diplomacy or has already made up its mind about
the nuclear program, which would make an agreement with rest of the
world (apart from China, which obviously shields this path)
impossible.... All this triggers a dangerous dynamic, which
provides support to those who favor military strikes. But caution:
before talking about a military approach, the all other measures
must be applied. Now is the time for new sanctions. Rarely before
was the West with its well-intended offers so duped. Even China
cannot ignore this at the UN Security Council. Iran has damaged
itself last weekend. Sanctions must be decided this month."

Handelsblatt (2/8) wrote: "The leadership in Tehran showed shortly
prior to the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution that it is not a
serious negotiating partner. Although the Western attitude has not
been consistent for many years, the Ayatollahs were given a unique
opportunity after the inauguration of the U.S. President to repair
relations with the West. However, this window of opportunity is
closing. Tough sanctions by hopefully all countries seem to be the
only way to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb. The People's
Republic of China should therefore join in."

FT Deutschland (2/8) stated: "Tehran continues its game of poker -
with an increasingly weak hand. The surprise visit of Foreign
Minister Mottaki at the Munich Security Conference was supposed to
be a smart move. However, instead of impressing the West, he
increased frustration and provoked a U.S. Senator to consider aloud
a military strike against the regime. Mottaki's offer is Iran's
most recent tactical maneuver within a long-term strategy of making
deceptive offers to the West to gamble for time. Time, in which
Tehran can continue to build a nuclear weapon.... The West cannot
accept this one-sided deal. The EU should insist on additional
embargos at the UN and - if China is opposed to it - walk it alone.
If Iran wants to prevent new sanctions, it must clearly improve its

3. (Ukraine) Outcome of Elections

Only a few papers (2/8) carried editorials on the outcome of the
elections because the counting was not concluded. Sueddeutsche
Zeitung reported under the headline: "Julia Timoshenko Defeated,"
and reported: "The previous opposition Victor Yanukovich narrowly
won the Ukrainian presidential elections. According to the
preliminary results, Julia Timoshenko did not succeed in enlarging
the number of supporters in the densely populated Eastern Ukraine."
Frankfurter Rundschau headlined: "Tense Quiet in Ukraine," and
reported that "The West is closely following the elections in
Ukraine. Ukraine is an important transit country of the EU for
Russian gas."

Tagesspiegel (2/8) carried an editorial under the headline: "Back on
the Map," and opined: "This was simply a democratic election in a
democratic country and even election winner Yanukovich will be
unable to change the basic course of the country. There is no other
successor state of the Soviet Union in which such a degree of
freedom of opinion, such a penchant for controversial discussions
and where so many democratic rights exist as in Ukraine. President
Yushshenko has achieved even more: He gave back Ukraine its national
memory. The newly elected Ukrainian president can hardly abolish
this. We owe it to Yushshenko that Ukraine, the second largest
European country is back on the political map as an independent
actor and not considered a Russian colony. This is the standard
against which Victor Yanukovich will be measured."

In an editorial, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/8) argued: "Indeed, there
are many indications of election manipulations in favor of Victor
Yanukovich...but in contrast to 2004, there are little indications
that Timoshenko could succeed with her protests this time, because
the weariness with politics is massive following all the conflicts
among the leading personnel in Kiev, but primarily because of the

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financial crisis. We can assume that she will hardly be able to
mobilize the masses again. Timoshenko was at the top of the
government for the past two years and many make her responsible for
the financial crisis, for rising unemployment, and drastic wage
cuts. Many other politicians could not have reacted differently but
she was at the wrong place during the crisis, for which she is by no
means responsible; and she was unable to free herself from this
trap. This is sad because Timoshenko always created attention for
her country because of her personality."

4. (EU) Deficit Worries

Under the headline: "Fear About Greece - EU Wants To Solve Crisis on
its own," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/8) reported: "The Europeans want
to resolve the debt crisis about Greece on their own - without the
assistance of the IMF. At the G-7 finance ministers summit in Canada
they promised this to the other industrialized nations. Experts
expect the euro to be under constant pressure because of the
financial misery in several other EU countries." Finance Minister
SchQuble said that 'the Europeans are able to resolve this problem
and cope with it.'"

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/6) judged under the headline: "Risk State
Bankruptcy" that "At risk is nothing more than the continued
existence of the European Monetary Union and thus the stability of
the common currency, the euro. The European Commission, which was
duped by the Greeks for much too long, has now referred to the last
means laid down in the European Treaties and put Greece's finances
under receivership.... But those who think that stable countries in
an act of solidarity should help shaky countries will do the
European idea a disservice because they would then create incentives
for all countries to violate their treaty obligations. Nothing
would weaken the euro more than a violation of the central issue of
finance policy discipline. If the monetary union threatened to be
turned into a community of debt, all Europeans would pay in the form
of a devaluation of the euro and pensions."

National radio station Deutschlandfunk (2/6) commented: "The German
government, too, ignored the mismanagement in Athens for years, but
it did that not by mistake but with full political intention. For
the governments in Berlin only one thing was important: Brussels
should by no means interfere in national economic policies. But
Chancellor Merkel realized much too late that Germany cannot be
indifferent to Greece because we cannot risk a Greek state
bankruptcy that could inevitably pull other euro states into an
abyss. That is why the euro zone must help Greece...and prepare for
a worst-case scenario. This is in particular true for the biggest
euro state, Germany. One thing is certain: If the EU must save
Greece, then Germany would have to pay in any case. The German
government must finally accept this and inform Germans about this
uncomfortable truth and draw the necessary political consequences.
The most important one is: The monetary union needs a common
economic policy and the EU must interfere in euro-states that
deviate from this policy. This must be true for all EU member
states, including Germany itself."

Tagesspiegel and Frankfurter Rundschau (2/8) carried an editorial,
headlined: "Chain Reaction," and judged: "Greece's financial crisis
was foreseeable for a long time and that is why the EU partners must
also be blamed for the misery. The Greek government is unable to go
far beyond the current austerity programs if it does not want to
risk social unrest. That is why the EU partners have no other
choice but to help Greece. Otherwise a chain reaction would be
looming which could, in the end, result in a meltdown of the
monetary union. It is true that the European Central Bank and the
individual national banks are not allowed to offer emergency loans
but it is conceivable to have the EU structural fund pay low
interest loans of the European Investment Bank or offer a common
euro bond of all 16 member states of the monetary union. But

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Germany and other euro countries are opposed to it. However, they
have no other way but to grasp the nettle."

Under the headline: "Get the IMF Involved On Time," Handelsblatt
(2/8) editorialized: "Has Europe really everything under control and
is it really able to manage the debt crisis of its Mediterranean
members without international assistance? The positive answers may
reassure the G-7 but the markets will hardly be convinced of them.
A precondition would be that the governments realize the dimension
of the financial crisis 3.0 and that they would be able to point a
way out of the debt trap. But this is not the case. The Greek
epidemic has already infected Spain and Portugal. Italy, Ireland
and even the UK could be the next candidates, and it could be
possible that the financial markets will test their ability to pay.
But instead of looking for a sustainable solution, we hear primarily
political slogans to hold out. It would be better if the Europeans
would now call the IMF for help. The IMF is not only much more
experienced in crisis management but also has the political
independence to call for painful adjustments. That is why Europe,
in its own interest, should shed old skins."

Regional daily Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (2/8) judged: "The euro
is facing hard times. Only ten years after the introduction of the
common currency, it is in a serious crisis. Following Greece,
Portugal is also facing a state bankruptcy. Spain, Ireland, and
Italy could soon follow. At the latest then when the large European
countries will be dragged into the maelstrom at the capital markets
and are unable to place new bonds, the common currency will be
threatened with disintegration, irrespective of whether the European
Commission imposes fines because of the high budget deficits or cuts

5. (NATO) Istanbul Defense Ministers Meeting

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/6) judged under the headline:
"Challenging," that no one likes to dismiss NATO Secretary-General
Rasmussen's remark that 2010 will be a 'challenging year' for the
NATO mission in Afghanistan. With a new strategy, more and better
trained Afghan security forces and more NATO soldiers, ISAF
commander McChrystal wants to regain the initiative in the fight
against the Taliban. But this also means that there will be more
people killed on both sides and also among the civilian population.
There are still 4,000 trainers missing and this is a challenge for
solidarity, without which an alliance cannot function in the long
run. In the meantime, the German debate centers solely on a
withdrawal. Again the German government is deceiving itself."

In an editorial on 2/6, die tageszeitung opined: "The medicine that
NATO has now prescribed for Afghanistan does not even deserve the
term 'placebo.' It will not heal the sick but it should allow the
doctors to leave the sick room. NATO knows that the conflict cannot
be resolved militarily. That is why a withdrawal would be a
capitulation, and that is why police forces are now to jump in. But
police officers do not attack heavily armed guerilla forces--they
fight crime and control traffic."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/8) editorialized on its front-page: "NATO
soldiers have been fighting in Afghanistan for nine years. Hundreds
of them were killed, particularly last year. It is therefore no
surprise that criticism is increasing in most Western countries,
although the objective of the mission is to prevent the country from
becoming a base for transnational terrorism again. The German
defense minister called this skepticism a healthy democratic reflex.
If Senator McCain is right, even more soldiers will be killed in
2010. Criticism, which does not just reflect concerns over the
lives of soldiers, will increase further. Will politicians be able
to cope with it? ... Western countries and politicians must show
endurance and strong leadership. The newly agreed strategy is
promising as long as all partners stick to it and keep their

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Deutschlandfunk (2/5) radio remarked: "Many questions are still
unanswered and some are even new after the conference on
Afghanistan. Why do NATO generals say only in background talks that
Germany's intention to dissolve the rapid reaction force in
Afghanistan contradicts the plans Germany explicitly at NATO? Why
are there statements coming only from outside that, given such an
attitude of the Germans, the U.S. is now considering taking over the
command in the north? Should this not be discussed at a conference
like that in Munich?"

Regional tabloid B.Z. of Berlin (2/6) noted: "The demand to give
NATO more and more funds is too simple. There are enormous
possibilities to make savings in the military alliance. Instead,
each partner in parallel to the others is developing its own weapons
and transportation systems. Even uniform standards are a thing of
the future. Synergy effects, as they exist in the economy, are very
rare in NATO. The defense ministers should begin here. The
military must make savings, too."

6. (Iraq) Parliamentary Elections

In an editorial under the headline: "Far Away from Peace,"
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/6) argued: "The parliamentary elections in
Iraq are happening under a bad star. Partisan bickering is
increasingly burdening the vote. But as a matter of fact, it would
really offer a last chance to close the Iraqi ranks before the U.S.
withdrawal in August. If only a small part of the population does
not recognize the outcome of these elections, there will be no
national reconciliation seven years after the beginning of the war.
And without the U.S. forces as armed referees, the Iraqis would soon
attack each other again. Iraq is far away from any hoped for
stability. The increasing number of terrorist attacks is evidence
of the fact that the militants have by no means been defeated. A
few months before the U.S. withdrawal, time is working for the
underground fighters. They feel strong again and evidence of this
is the fact that they are intensifying their attacks."

7. (U.S.) Budget Deficit

Under the headline: "Washington's Greek Illness," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (2/6) editorialized: "In the long run, the issue [in the
financial markets] is America. The future of the global economy
depends on whether the United States is able to put its finances in
order. Momentarily, it seems to be beyond any doubt. U.S. bonds
are considered to be a safe heaven for investors from all over the
world. But they ignore an important part of reality. Washington is
increasingly demonstrating symptoms of the Greek illness. The
federal deficit is the highest ever in times of peace. But Congress
does not seem to be capable of reacting to it. The expenses for the
healthcare system and social security are out of control but no one
is able to stop the march into bankruptcy. In the interest of the
global economy, it is to be hoped that the U.S. politicians will
perceive reality faster than the financial markets."


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