Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan-Netherlands, Iran, Eu-Greece,

DE RUEHRL #0203/01 0531312
R 221312Z FEB 10






E.0. 12958: N/A

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan-Netherlands) Dutch Government's Fall
3. (Iran) Nuclear Program
4. (EU-Greece) Economic Crisis
5. (U.S.) Justice Department Report
6. (UK) Brown in a Bad Temper

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media led with the strike of Lufthansa pilots, while
Frankfurter Rundschau and Frankfurter Allgemeine focused on the most
recent statements of FDP leader Westerwelle on social security
recipients. Editorials focused on the collapse of the Dutch
government following the vote of the future role of Dutch forces in
Afghanistan. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute dealt with the
thunderstorms on the holiday island of Madeira, while ARD-TV's early
evening newscast Tagesschau led with a story on the upcoming
Lufthansa strike.

2. (Afghanistan-Netherlands) Dutch Government's Fall

All papers (2/22) carried lengthy reports on the collapse of the
Dutch government over the controversy about the future Dutch mission
in Afghanistan. Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined: "NATO: We Will
Stay Even Without The Dutch." Sueddeutsche Zeitung carried a
report, headlined: "Dutch Government Collapses Because of
Afghanistan - Right Wing Populists Could be Winners in New
Elections," while Die Welt headlined: "Dutch Heading for New
Elections, [Experts] Expect Massive Support for Islam Critic
Wilders." "Dutch Withdrawal' headlined Berliner Zeitung and
reported: "As a matter of fact, NATO is trying to report positive
news from Afghanistan and in the past week, it seemed to be
successful with the large-scale military offensive...but over the
weekend, NATO had to accept a serious setback when the Dutch
governing coalition under Premier Jan Pieter Balkenende collapsed
over the controversy about the right policy towards Afghanistan."

According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/22), "it is only a question of
time until pressure in other capitals will be so great that
politicians will be forced to decide between their political
survival and solidarity for the Alliance. Democracies are able to
wage war only when there is a sufficient politically and socially
stable consensus on the mission. If this consensus collapses, a
Dutch situation could develop in many capitals. NATO cannot afford
this, since an alliance that dissolves on the battlefield would also
be at its political end, too. That is why it would be careless to
take in stride the events in The Hague or to ignore it as
provincialism. If NATO does not soon announce a perspective for its
withdrawal, an increasing number of governments will organize the
withdrawal on their own - under pressure from their own

Handelsblatt (2/22) opined: "The implications for the NATO mission
in Afghanistan are fatal. The Dutch coalition...broke apart at the
time when the United States and NATO are planning a massive
extension of their military engagement in Kabul. The Dutch will now
withdraw their 1,800 forces from the Urusgan Province, thus creating
a gap that will be difficult to fill. Canada approved its
withdrawal for 2011 and other countries will follow. In Germany,
too, a few days before the Bundestag vote on an extension of the
Bundeswehr mandate in Afghanistan, the mood is depressing.... It is
now coming back to haunt [the government] that it has hidden the
mission behind empty words and the corrupt regime in Kabul."

In the view of Berliner Zeitung (2/22), "the Netherlands has always
been considered a reliable partner in NATO and the EU. But with the

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collapse of the coalition, the country is now witnessing a foreign
policy rupture. In the Afghanistan question, the issue is less the
chance to succeed in the fight against the Taliban but rather the
costs of the mission. When the international community advocated
the fight against terror, we often heard the term 'global domestic
policy,' but the Netherlands is now implementing a change and is
demonstrating that domestic calculations still dominate future
foreign policy cooperation among nations that are loyal to the

Regional daily Neue Osnabrcker Zeitung (2/22) had this to say: "If
the Dutch leave Afghanistan according to plan at the end of this
year, they will leave with an elevated spirit. But they will leave
a gap for NATO that can hardly be closed again. What the Germans
sell as their strategic invention and what the Americans sell as the
higher insight of their generals is what the Dutch demonstrated in
Urusgan: to fight courageously and to build up the region in an even
more courageous way. But it is by no means clear that the allies
will succeed in doing so."

Stuttgarter Zeitung (2/22) is very pessimistic and argued: "The
withdrawal of the Dutch forces means the beginning of the end of
NATO. The solidarity that dominated under the impression of the
Cold War for more than 40 years is disintegrating. NATO's motto is
to act together. This was the idea, but reality shows that support
for the Afghan war is crumbling in almost all western countries.
Neither the national governments nor NATO itself have understood how
to maintain the support of their own voters for this war. A
disaster is now looming. If the Americans are the only ones who
must shoulder the war in Afghanistan, the unity of the transatlantic
region will fall apart."

3. (Iran) Nuclear Program

Under the headline: "End of Excuses, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/20)
judged: "Since Thursday, we have the first Iran report of new IAEA
Director Yukiya Amano, and we must congratulate him for it. He did
not reveal anything sensational but he has used more clear language
and given the report a different emphasis than his predecessor, El
Baradei, without snubbing or exposing him. Amano has drawn a
comprehensive picture of the state of Iran's nuclear program and he
made clear that it is the government in Tehran - not the West - that
is not abiding by its commitments. Amano did not succumb to the
temptation to encode Iran's efforts to build the bomb with the
support of difficult technical questions. In addition, the new IAEA
head is also directing clear words to Tehran and to all conspiracy
theorists, who ignore all incriminating evidence as 'falsified'....
With all this, Amano sent a sign to his agency, too, because he
demonstrated that he has confidence in his inspectors after his
predecessor El Baradei entertained doubts about them. But it is
more important that the world now has a sound basis for its
deliberations about future moves against Tehran. Following this
report, no one can seriously believe any longer in the empty words
from Tehran that Iran is not seeking to build nuclear weapons."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/20) opined: "Following the IAEA report,
the question is: What now? The most appropriate answer would be to
stop taking part in the Iranian game. When if not now should those
sanctions be imposed that could at least influence the calculations
of the Iranian powers-that-be? The Western powers should make a
last-ditch attempt in the UNSC to integrate Russia and China. In
the case of Moscow, this attempt could succeed. But one thing is
striking -- there are obviously forces in Tehran who wish nothing
more but an escalation of the conflict; they almost work for it.
The IAEA report states that enriched uranium is stored above the
ground. Is that an invitation?"

Under the headline; "Two Ugly Options In the Nuclear Conflict With

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Iran," Berliner Zeitung (2/20) editorialized: "Again only the
military seems to be able to resolve a problem where politicians
have failed. As a matter of fact, the U.S. and its partners had
planned to resolve the problem with tougher sanctions. With such
moves, those forces in the U.S. and Israel who are advocating a
military strike should feel reassured. But if the Iranians are
building a bomb, as the IAEA report allows us to assume, sanctions
will not stop them. That is why the world must either accept
Iranian having a nuclear bomb or the military must strike. These are
two ugly options, and they are the only ones. The only alternative
would be that the United States gives Iran security guarantees,
begins a dialogue and lifts the embargo in exchange for the bomb.
But with each new warning, each new intelligence report and now the
IAEA report, pressure on President Obama will increase not to show
consideration for such steps."

Under the headline: "Now the Time of Clubs Will Begin," Die Welt
(2/20) opined: "We must really be worried if the IAEA uses such
clear words in its latest report on Iran, stated that Iran is
unwilling to cooperate and even considers it possible that Iranian
scientists are currently working on a nuclear warhead. It is time
to finally take action. However, we have heard this for years. The
question is how Iran's President Ahmadinejad can be caught by
surprise. Theodore Roosevelt said: 'Speak softly and carry a big
club.' He is right and since Tehran refuses to talk, the time of
the clubs is now beginning: The biggest club before a military
strike would be a sea blockade. A blockade would really hurt the
regime which keeps itself alive with presents to its supporters.
And to make the pain hit the right people all international assets
of the Iranian elite should be frozen. Further cudgel blows could
follow. But this must really start right now."

4. (EU-Greece) Economic Crisis

According to Sueddeutsche (2/22), "state bankruptcies such as the
one in Greece will be looming if the EU member states do not have
binding budget criteria. The consequence is that countries that
have abided by rules on budgetary discipline must now help
bankruptcy candidates survive. The burden for the younger
generation, however, continues to rise. That is why it is decisive
that the EU creates a kind of debt ceiling for all member states
that will punish any mismanagement. The Stability Pact proved that
there is no other way out. No one has really stuck to this treaty.
In the case of Greece, the EU must set clear conditions on how the
country must restructure its budget. In order to prevent future
state bankruptcies, a European institution according to the IMF
model would help. That is why the euro countries must develop a
procedure for a regular state insolvency."

5. (U.S.) Justice Department Report

Under the headline "Bottom of the Barrel," Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(2/22) dealt with the Justice Department's report on the authors of
expert opinion on torture, John C Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, and judged:
"People like John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee can be abused as faceless
bureaucrats who pulled the strings...but since this weekend, it has
been clear that the two shysters will never be called to account for
their memos that justified torture--not in America and not even
before other Lawyers'. Torture in the CIA camps continues to go
unpunished. Even last year, President Obama decided that not a
single torturer should be punished if they relied on Yoo and Bybee's
legal expert opinions. Obama confirmed that he does not want to
'settle old accounts' and that he wants 'to look ahead.' But
without re-examining these issues, the U.S. president will not be
able to lead the nation out of the shadow of torture. On the
contrary, John Yoo enjoys a cult status among conservative lawyers,
and Dick Cheney, who ordered the torture memos, continues to speak
week after week as if the disrespect of the Constitution and decency

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can last forever."

6. (UK) Brown in a Bad Temper

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/22) carried a front-page report under the
headline: "Brown Allegedly Misbehaves in Downing Street." And
reported: "As a matter of fact it should not have been a surprise.
The public has known for a long time that once in a while,
telephones, ring binders, or other stationary flies around in
Downing Street, where Gordon Brown resides. Great Britain's Prime
Minister is a choleric, and his tantrums are legendary. But Brown's
latest appearance on TV nevertheless astonished the British. And
for the first time in history, an acting PM had to dismiss
accusations that he would sometimes beat up his staff.... But it is
paradoxical that his prospects for the upcoming elections have
improved. According to opinion polls, the Labor Party has halved
the lead of the Conservative Party from 13 to six percent; and
Brown's personal popularity has increased, too - from minus 50 to
minus 21."

Under the headline: "Nightmare Plant in Downing Street," Financial
Times Deutschland (2/22) wrote: "Britain's former PM Tony Blair
served as a model for a political thriller. His successor Gordon
Brown could now follow in his footsteps. A week ago, Brown moved
his compatriots when he spoke in public about the death of his
daughter Jennifer...but the 59-year-old government leader also has
another, less glorious side. We learn this from a book of Andrew
Rawnsley, who is well-connected. He described Brown as a
thin-skinned, paranoid politician who frightens close aides and
pelts them with curses. These revelations confirm the picture which
journalists and supporters drew when Brown was the Chancellor of the
Exchequer and Tony Blair's rival...."


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