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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iran, Greece-Eu, Greece-Euro, Ukraine,

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111538Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6535
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 2015
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0744
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1260
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2761
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1777
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0938
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 06 BERLIN 000177

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 IR EMS EMS UP START PTER SF ECON
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAN, GREECE-EU, GREECE-EURO, UKRAINE,
START, SWIFT, AFGHANISTAN-GERMANY, SOUTH AFRICA, U.S.-BUDGET;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Iran) Nuclear Program, Opposition
3. (Greece Financial Crisis) Germany, France Rescue Efforts
4. (Greece Financial Crisis) Long-term Prognosis for Euro
5. (Ukraine) Aftermath of Elections
6. (U.S.-Russia) START Talks
7. (U.S.-EU) SWIFT
8. (Afghanistan) German Role, Kunduz Air Strike
9. (South Africa) 20th Anniversary of Revolution
10. (U.S.) Budget Deficit


1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's primetime newscast Heute opened with Colonel Klein's
testimony to the Bundestag investigation committee on the September
4 airstrikes. ARD-TV's primetime newscast Tagesschau led with
Foreign Minister Westerwelle's address to the Bundestag,
highlighting that the German government now defines the situation in
Afghanistan as an "armed conflict," which is an attempt to redefine
the legal standard to be applied in reviewing actions by German
soldiers. Most newspapers led with stories saying that the EU is
considering helping Greece overcome its financial crisis. Berliner
Zeitung and Tagesspiegel led with today's beginning of the Berlin
film festival "Berlinale." Editorials focused on the EU's
deliberations about helping Greece, the German debate about
Afghanistan and the aftermath of the Constitutional Court's ruling
on social benefits.

2. (Iran) Nuclear Program, Opposition

Berliner Zeitung (2/11) headlined: "Obama's change in the policy on
Iran - U.S. government desires strict UN sanctions and imposes first
punishments," noting in the intro: "The policy of reaching out is
over. In the nuclear dispute with Iran, the U.S. is pushing for
tougher UN sanctions if the regime of President Ahmadinejad sticks
to producing higher-grade uranium."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/11) headlined "Obama threatens Tehran with
new Sanctions," highlighting that "Obama said that a potential
decision of the UN Security Council on a further tightening of
existing international sanctions is only one aspect of it." The
paper adds: "He did not mention details of potential additional
bilateral sanctions. Obama said he is expecting a decision in the
coming weeks. At the same time, Obama emphasized that the door is
still open for Tehran to change its policy."

In an editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/11) noted: "An extended
hand was the metaphor of 2009: President Obama is reaching out to
the Muslim world, particularly Iran. Obama almost flattered the
leadership in Tehran. When the first protests against the election
fraud started last summer and the regime hit back, he showed
restraint. This restraint approach was heavily criticized at home.
However, it was worth a try. Today, Obama has to realize that
nobody in Iran has taken his hand. His assessment that it is clear
that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb is an admission of this
failure. If the leadership in Iran believes that Obama would be an
anti-Bush and responds only with niceties to the provocation, it
will be mistaken. His patience has a limit. The topic of sanctions
is now burning."

N-TV (2/11) reported "serious clashes in Iran" on the day of the
31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Die Welt reported that
"today's 31st anniversary of the revolution will demonstrate how
powerful the opposition still is. Riots are feared.... Since the
last large demonstration against the regime on December 26, the
regime and the Revolutionary Guards have been showing strength and
toughness. A probably deceptive peace hangs over the city." FT

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Deutschland (2/11) highlighted: "Iran detains opponents prior to the
anniversary of the revolution," adding that: "New arrests are
supposed to intimidate reformers."

3. (Greece Financial Crisis) Germany, France Rescue Efforts

All papers (2/11) carried extensive coverage of the crisis of the
euro and Greece's financial problems. Frankfurter Allgemeine
carried a front-page headline: "Brussels and Berlin Draft Rescue
Plans for Greece.' Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined: "EU Will help
Greece - If it Makes Greater Efforts to Make Savings." The headline
in Die Welt is: "EU: Greece Must Intensify Savings Efforts," while
Financial Times Deutschland headlined: "Europe Liable for Greece."


ARD-TV's late evening newscast Tagesthemen (2/10) commented: "Greece
must pass through the vale of tears. There is no other way out.
Even if Greece left the euro zone, the situation would not become
easier. Nothing would convince the financial markets more than
Greek efforts. Europe must insist on such Greek efforts, also
because it would be a clear signal to the others.... For the German
chancellor, this is a test. The Germans only reluctantly accepted
the euro on the promise that the euro would become as stable as the
D-mark. The guarantee for this promise is that the rules governing
the euro are valid. If the chancellor allowed these rules to be
changed, then she would have forfeited Germans' confidence [in the
euro]."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/11) judged in a front-page editorial under
the headline: "The Last Anchor," that "Germany is still hesitating,
but pressure is mounting. The slogan of the European Commission is
that Europe must help the Greeks. This slogan is strongly backed by
French President Sarkozy. To put it differently: Germany must pay
Greece's debts. But the euro was not sold to the Germans this way.
Before the D-mark was abolished, the Maastricht Treaty was signed,
and it explicitly bans a member state of the Monetary Union from
being liable for the debt of another member country. If this
central issue of finance policy stability is no longer valid, then
the Maastricht Treaty, the Stability Pact and the debt ceiling in
the German Basic Law are no longer valid the paper on which they
were written. And then the Germans will want the D-mark back. At
the EU summit in Brussels, Chancellor Merkel must demonstrate
toughness to avoid the euro becoming weak."
In the view of Berliner Zeitung (2/11), "nerves lay bare. If Greece
goes bust, Portugal, Spain and Italy could follow. The loss of
confidence in the euro might never be made up. The German
government has realized this, too. All indications are that the
Berlin government is willing to help the Greeks in a worst case
scenario. We may argue that German taxpayers' money should not be
used to help another country resolve the chaos which it has brought
on itself. But Greece is not a foreign country, and a bankruptcy
would be much more expensive than a rescue mission. If push comes
to shove, Greece cannot be dropped, whatever the costs would be."

Tagesspiegel (2/11) argued: "At the EU summit, all members must send
a signal to Greece that Athens can count on the solidarity of
Europeans. One simple reason should be that hedge funds and
investment banks would attack the weak countries. And these will be
the banks for whose rescue the states threw themselves into the
breach a year ago. But Germany in particular is opposed to a
large-scale rescue operation. Indeed, solidarity of the other EU
states with Greece should not be too strong because the austerity
course of Greek Premier Papandreou could otherwise with leveled....
But whether the stability of the Euro can be preserved with such
appeals is totally uncertain. This economic crisis has now reached
the most important symbol of the Europeans: the common currency.
They should defend it together."


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4. (Greece Financial Crisis) Long-term Prognosis for Euro

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/11) carried an editorial under the headline:
"To Pay for Greece - To Do Nothing Would Be Nice but There is No
Alternative: Europe Must Help." The daily noted: "The Europeans do
not help Greece, at least not with money. If the partner states
want to pursue this course, next summer could become hot. Highly
indebted Greece has increasing difficulties getting money. But if
the country goes bankrupt, and be it as small and insignificant [as
Greece], European and probably U.S. bonds would collapse too, and
banks and financial actors far away from Greece would go to the
wall.... But with quick and unbureaucratic assistance, Greece would
get a necessary breather in the capital markets. Such a rescue
operation, however, is only marginally covered by European law, and
the Europeans would then also risk the fate of the next candidates:
Portugal, Ireland, and first of all Spain. That is why a potential
rescue operation must have 'thorns,' and it must really legally
incapacitate Greece. The pattern must be: Yes, the Europeans help,
but the price for this assistance is gruesome. Those who are able
to do so should help themselves. They should initiate the necessary
structural reforms before Brussels forces them to do so."

Rheinische Post of Dsseldorf editorialized: "The crisis about
Greece is taking on the shape of a banking crisis. If creditors no
longer buy Greek bonds, the country is bankrupt. This is a real
danger. And if the EU countries do not help in a concerted action,
the Greeks are threatened with insolvency. Now a central flaw of
the European Monetary Union is harshly coming to the fore because
the treaty does not provide for the possibility of excluding a
country from the euro zone because of its high indebtedness. At the
same time, billions for Greece are a devastating signal for the
stability of the euro.... The only positive aspect is the
appointment of currency hawk Papademos as EU commissioner for
Greece, because a tough austerity policy for the country under the
supervision of the creditors is the minimum that the EU must demand
from the Greeks."

Regional daily Der Neue Tag (2/11) judged: "Root of all evil is the
mentality that has been raised by the governing political Karamanlis
and Papanadreou families. Each sides is pampering its supporters
with tax donations and positions in the government, Every fourth
Greek works for the state, and the rest of the eleven million Greeks
is exhausting itself by moonlighting, evading taxes and through
nepotism.... Without verifiable efforts from Athens, the EU cannot
offer any assistance. Other candidates for bankruptcy are only
waiting for such a false signal."

5. (Ukraine) Aftermath of Elections

"Ukrainian Seesaw," headlined Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and judged:
"[The outcome of the elections] by no means signals that Ukraine
will now turn to the East and turn away from the West because
President-elect Yanukovich describes good relations with Moscow as
the core piece of his foreign policy. This is exactly what the
governments in Berlin, Paris, London, and the EU in Brussels have
demanded for a long time because a conflict between the two largest
former Soviet Republics could quickly have an effect on the supply
of natural gas and crude oil to Europe. That is why Yanukovich's
announcement should primarily clear the atmosphere between Moscow
and Kiev. But we can hardly expect Yanukovich to get back under
Russia's political umbrella: first of all, because Ukrainian
industrial tycoons do not want to become dependent on Russian large
companies, and because a self-confident Ukrainian patriotism has
developed in the eastern parts of the country, primarily because the
young generation considers Kiev, not Moscow, the capital. That is
why Yanukovich will continue the seesaw course of his country
between the West and the East. If he succeeds in doing so more
rationally than his predecessor, he will strengthen the sovereignty

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of his country."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/11) opined under the headline: "False
Signal," that "even three days after the end of the elections in
Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich has not received congratulations from the
West. This is the false signal to the new man in Kiev but also to
election loser Timochenko. There are good reasons to be skeptical
towards Yanukovich...but there is no reason to delay congratulations
because the election was free and fair according to OSCE observers.
The West should quickly make clear that he can count on western
support if he sticks to democratic rules and implements his
announcement that he wants to reform the economy and fight
corruption. And loser Timochenko must be unmistakably clear that a
change of power is an essential part of democracy that would it
would probably not exist without her."

6. (U.S.-Russia) START Talks

"Russian Calculation Logic," Is the headline of an editorial in
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/11), arguing that "a successful follow-on
agreement to the expiring START treaty would be important not only
because it would make the world safer... but also because it would
be a document for regained confidence for the much lauded new
beginning between East and West. But instead, a new beginning of
the crisis is now looming. Fired by Vladimir Putin's gruff
address in Vladivostok in December, Russia's military leadership is
now linking the disarmament treaty with the U.S. missile defense
system. And there is even more. Only recently, President Medvedev
approved the new Russian military doctrine...which is based on old
Soviet rhetoric and is at best a game among conservative
strategists.... For the West, it does not play any role whether
President Medvedev is less liberal than he pretends or whether the
president is sometimes not the master of the situation. The current
anti-NATO reflexes of the military leadership conspicuously coincide
with Putin's inflammatory speech about the West. If the prime
minister gains the upper hand and if Russia really demands that a
limited anti-missile defense system be included in the agreement, it
might collapse, and Medvedev would massively lose credibility and
influence in the West."

7. (U.S.-EU) SWIFT

Die Zeit (2/11) carried an editorial under the headline: "Too Many
Questions," and opined: "What a chance! With a 'no' to the SWIFT
agreement, the European Parliament (EP) could demonstrate that it
not only has power but also knows how to use it. The majority of
parliamentarians do not reject the agreement in principle but many
take data protection much more seriously that the majority of EU
leaders. Even last summer, the members of the EP (MEPs) called for
clear information on what is being done with banking data. Until
the last moment, it remained unclear how citizens and companies
could defend themselves if information on their financial activities
are examined without reason. Another problem is the transfer of
data to third states and even the question which information on
deposits is transferred can still not be answered by the MEPS. The
MEPS should rest only once they have all this information and now
they should vote 'no' on SWIFT to gain time. The agreement in the
current version leaves too many questions open: A 'yes' would be
irresponsible towards the voters."

8. (Afghanistan) German Role, Kunduz Air Strike

Deutschlandfunk radio (2/10) commented: "Is it still necessary to
discuss what is going on in Afghanistan? Legal experts apparently
have to do this. It is about the rights of soldiers. But how about
politicians? They have been arguing about the words for months....
Our soldiers probably think they can't hear properly and shake their
heads about the debate in the Bundestag... The situation in

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Afghanistan is so hopeless and inflexible that parliamentarians take
refuge in political battles. Pillow fights about the new strategy,
a date for withdrawal or the 'corridor for withdrawal,' which the
Social Democrats so bureaucratically discuss. They are still
hesitating but will probably pass the mandate in the end. The
investigation committee is only about giving the popular defense
minister a real roasting. Everything appears to be so helpless.
The hope that the international mission can still create peace in
the country is too small. No dispute among parties over words and
persons can conceal this helplessness. Let's not deceive ourselves:
there is a war going on in Afghanistan."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/11) editorialized: "During the
presentation of the Afghanistan mandate, Foreign Minister
Westerwelle assured us that the German government has carefully
examined the situation. It now believes that the Bundeswehr mission
in Afghanistan must be legally defined as 'an armed conflict in the
sense of the international law.' It has been overdue to give the
public a realistic assessment of the situation. Defense Minister zu
Guttenberg was the first one to speak of 'war-like' circumstances
shortly after he came to office. The airstrike in Kunduz commanded
by Colonel Klein, which the defense committee is currently
investigating, has also certainly contributed to the new view on the
mission. What impact the government's redefinition of the mandate
will actually have on the orders for the soldiers, their behavior
and their legal responsibility remains unclear for the time being.
The case in Kunduz could also be affected in retrospect."

Sddeutsche (2/11) commented: "The new legal assessment of the
conflict in Afghanistan was overdue. It rightly makes politicians
responsible for the mission. Soldiers should not be concerned over
the legality of their activities. They should not have to consider
the boundaries of the criminal law every time they make a minor
decision. In the future, international law will set the framework,
not the German criminal law. This does not mean that the soldiers
are now allowed to shoot around like madmen. The new legal
framework will provide German soldiers protection - because the
Afghan situation cannot be met with the German police law. Those
who must address an enemy combatant twice before they can fire a
warning shot risk their lives. Changing the legal situation already
increases security."

9. (South Africa) 20th Anniversary of Revolution

Die Welt (2/11) carried a front-page photo taken 20 years ago,
showing Nelson Mandela and his wife after his release from 27 years
in prison. The headline of the caption is "the great liberation,"
adding that "At the Cape of Good Hope, the wall between black and
white fell. Apartheid, a system built upon the segregation, broke
down." In an editorial, Die Welt remarked: "You don't get freedom
for free. The great democracies of England, France and the U.S.
achieved it in revolutions and civil wars. In some countries,
freedom was the result of a lost war. Others, like the Indians and
the East Germans fought for it with peaceful means. The case that
an authoritarian ruler opens the window to freedom himself is very
rare.... A freedom fighter can win everything and has little to
lose. For those in power it is the other way around.... During the
first free elections, de Klerk was voted out of office. He was
probably fully aware of the fact that a completely new time was
dawning that would leave nothing left of the old circumstances." In
a lengthy feature, Die Welt stated: "On February 11, 1990, Nelson
Mandela was released from prison. With that, a new epoch in South
Africa began. However, the fight for better living conditions for
black people will go on for a long time."

Under the headline "The black wise man," Berliner Zeitung (2/11)
carried a report on Nelson Mandela, saying that "as the president he
united South Africa after the regime of the Apartheid." The report

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concluded: "Regardless all his achievements, the great reconciler
made one mistake. He once admitted that he failed to realize the
extent of the Aids epidemic." In an editorial, Berliner Zeitung
stated: "What an incredibly happy moment it was today twenty years
ago when Nelson Mandela walked out of the prison into the freedom at
the side of his wife 20 years ago - on behalf for the black majority
of the South Africans. Also white South Africans were liberated
that day - from the foolish doctrine that they are better than
others. Mandela's talent of reconciliation prevented an outbreak of
violence and revenge. Black and white people realized that they
could live together in one country. This is his achievement."

10. (U.S.) Budget Deficit

According to Handelsblatt (2/11), "America is groaning under its
mega deficit of 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010. This gap increased
within a year from 9.9 percent of the GNP to 11.2 percent of the
economic output. Several states such as California are about to
face insolvency, and this on a regular basis. The capital markets
have been alarmed and fear that the creditworthiness of the biggest
capital market in the world could be downgraded. With a strategy of
faith healing and savings measures, the Obama government is now
trying to get the situation under control. But it is faced with a
dilemma. If it overdoes its savings measures, it will suffocate a
recovering economy; if it saves too little, it will stir up the fear
of creditors of losing its top rating among the rating agencies."

MURPHY

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