Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Nato, Mideast, U.S.-Climate,

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1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Afghanistan) Karzai takes Control over Electoral Watchdog
3. (NATO) New Strategic Concept
4. (Mideast) Peace Process
5. (U.S.) Climate Policy
6. (Western Hemisphere) Summit of the Americas
7. (Turkey) Alleged Coup Plot
8. (EU-Greece) Euro Crisis
9. (Northern Ireland) Bomb Attack

1. Lead Stories Summary

The Berlin papers led with a report by Deutsche Bahn on the
shortcomings of its public transportation network in Berlin, while
Frankfurter Allgemeine led with a report on Environmental Policy
under the Obama administration headlined: "America Postpones Climate
Protection." Sueddeutsche focused on the problems of the CDU in
North Rhine-Westphalia and Die Welt on the leader of the German
Protestant Church who was caught driving drunk in a church-owned
vehicle. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute opened with a report
on the end of the Lufthansa strike, while ARD-TV's early evening
newscast Tagesschau led with a story on the report by Deutsche Bahn
on problems with Berlin's public transportation system.

2. (Afghanistan) Karzai takes Control over Electoral Watchdog

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/24) editorialized on President Karzai's
decision to take control over the election watchdog: "Hamid Karzai
would have enjoyed a clear election victory if there had not been
the annoying electoral complaint commission.... According to
Western standards, the legitimacy of his election is dubious....
The influence the UN and even the U.S. Ambassador have on Karzai
seems to be diminishing. This is disastrous because the foreign
troops are in Afghanistan to support his government: a discredited
president also discredits the mission."

3. (NATO) New Strategic Concept

Sddeutsche (2/24) editorialized: "Hillary Clinton has listed the
ideas of her government and we can assume that no unacceptable
things will be presented as of now.... But will this suffice? Will
the strategy be strong enough to keep the diverging alliance
together? Will the members have a similar sense for threats and
obligations? We can have doubts about this. Political priorities
can be measured best by looking at budgets... NATO will only be
taken seriously again if it becomes the central means of security in
every member state. More important than the strategy is therefore
the reform of the rigid apparatus and the allied military
organization. NATO has become heavy-headed and its force structure
is not up to date. This is the biggest problem."

Tagesspiegel (2/24) reported that the "U.S. views NATO missions like
in Afghanistan as the new normal- and Germany as applying the
brakes." The paper added: "Germany is facing new differences of
opinion with the U.S. government. In the debate over NATO's new
strategic concept, which is supposed to be decided by the end of the
year, the ideas about the tasks are very different. This had become
apparent during the Munich Security Conference. Secretary Clinton's
speech on Monday evening at the beginning of a senior international
conference on the alliance's new concept in Washington confirmed
this. According to the notion of the U.S. and other NATO partners,
out of area operations, like in Afghanistan and against pirates off
the coast of Africa are normal, not an exception.... According to
American NATO experts, Germany is perceived as a brakeman in the
development of the concept."

4. (Mideast) Peace Process

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In a front-page editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/24) commented:
"Since the Gaza War ended a year ago, it has been unusually quiet in
Israel and the Palestinian territories. The last suicide attacks in
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv happened years ago. Building construction is
busy in Ramallah and the economy is growing. This is progress.
However, the political standstill poses the greatest danger. Doing
nothing means leaving the initiative to those who are not interested
in achieving a fair compromise.... Constructive impetus from
outside cannot be expected in the near future. President Obama is
powerless in the Middle East without partners who can act in concert
with him. Arabs and Palestinians celebrated his Cairo speech, but
did not act upon his calls.... All we can do is try to overcome the
political standstill, for instance, by indirect negotiations the
American Mideast mediator George Mitchell is hoping to bring about
in the coming days."

5. (U.S.) Climate Policy

In an editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/24) noted: "This is the
diagnosis of the winter: the American Congress is paralyzed, the
Republican Party is trying hard to prevent initiatives of the
Democrats and the President, and Obama is not the magician who can
easily come up with agreements beyond the party lines. It might be
too pessimistic to interpret the mounting difficulties of
Washington's government as a serious crisis. However, so much is
right: President Obama's most important legal projects are
threatened to fail the closer they get to the real world. At least
he has taken the initiative himself in the reform of the healthcare
system. It remains to be seen whether this is enough to persuade
some of the obstructive Republicans. Meanwhile, he faces problems
on climate policy in his own camp. Democrats from states with
primary industries do not want the EPA to regulate the emission of
greenhouse gases - saving jobs in difficult times is the current
argument. The trick of bypassing Congress will not work. We are
facing the next disappointment."

6. (Western Hemisphere) Summit of the Americas

Several papers carried reports on the Latin America summit in
Canc#n. Sueddeutsche headlined: "Solidarity with Argentina," while
Tagesspiegel headlined: "Summiteers Back Argentina in Falkland

die tageszeitung (2/24) carried a lengthy report under the headline:
"America Without the U.S.," and wrote: "The Latin American and
Caribbean countries want to set up a new union of states. But this
would weaken the Organization of American States (OAS). The hosts
declared this second continental meeting without the United States
and Canada a 'Summit of Unity,' and the 26 government leaders were
able to demonstrate unity in the rekindled conflict between London
and Buenos Aires.... Argentina's President Kirchner said:
'International politics continues to be determined solely by a
balance of powers.' With respect to Honduras, this seems to be true
because it was the U.S. role that was decisive for the putschists'
plan to come true. Under U.S. orchestration, elections took place
in 2009. The Brazilians emphasized that the example of Honduras
should not set a precedent. But under Barack Obama, the United
States is again playing a more offensive role on the sub-continent.
U.S. forces used the earthquake in Haiti to demonstrate their power,
and right now the U.S. is extending its power at 13 bases in
Colombia, Panama, Aruba and Curaao. Formally, the 'Latin American
and Caribbean Community' will be launched in one or two years,
predicted Brazilian government advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia. It is
a widespread hope that, with this community, the OAS would be
weakened and thus the U.S. influence be pushed back."

Under the headline: "Bol

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var's Demons," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/24)
editorialized: "Since Monday, the Latin American leaders have been
trying to set up a new community that should become nothing less
than a pendant to the EU, as Mexico's President Calder"n said. As a
matter of fact, Latin America could use greater unity. Trade is
being impeded by anachronistic obstacles, and drug trafficking could
be fought more easily if the states in the region improved their
cooperation. But since Simon Bol
var's death, there have been many
attempts to reach an agreement on such a union. The United States
and Canada are to be excluded from this new alliance which would be
reserved to the Latin American states. These states have gained new
self-confidence. They have stabilized their democracies and
sentenced many previous dictators. The uniform condemnation of the
coup in Honduras showed that they do not tolerate a return to the
past. But this new union of states has one basic flaw: Colombia's
President Uribe and his conservative colleagues consider it a vision
of the left-wing countries. They feel that the leaning to the left
will soon be a chapter in the history books. In Chile, a right-wing
candidate won and this is very likely to be the case in Argentina
and Brazil, too, and this new guard of politicians will again make
overtures to the United States. Bol
var's dream is not yet over but
it can become a reality only if the goals remain realistic and no
one is marginalized. The United States is too close and too
powerful and cannot be ignored."

7. (Turkey) Alleged Coup Plot

Many papers (2/24) carry reports on the arrest of leading Turkish
members of the armed forces. Die Welt headlined: "Turkish
'Sledgehammer' - Generals in custody," Berliner Zeitung reported
Under the headline: "Turkish Officers Planned Coup d'tat - Arrest
Because of 'Operation Sledgehammer.'" Tagesspiegel carried a dpa
report under the headline; "Military Officials Cross-Examined
Because of Coup Plans," while Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined:
"Justice is Striking Back" and reported: "In an action that has thus
far been unique in turkey, Turkish justice authorities arrested 50
members of the military, among them former commanders of the air
force and the navy. The military leadership declined to comment on
the arrests.... Only recently, the Turkish Constitutional Court
said by referring to the Turkish Constitution that members of the
military should be tried only by military courts."

Under the headline: "Turkish Break of a Taboo," Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(2/24) editorialized: "For the first time, conspiracies have been
uncovered and conspirators prosecuted. For the first time, coup
plots are considered a crime - and not a patriotic duty. People who
are suspected of having planned the killing of civilians wanted to
wage a war with a neighbor, and all this to create chaos and to
topple the government in Ankara, would be put on trial in a normal
country. But in Turkey this has been impossible because those
people wear uniforms and were considered untouchable. Thus far.
The arrest of the alleged putschists is a great moment. It produces
a step forward in the wrestling between democrats and non-democrats.
But this does not mean that democracy has won. To the same extent
to which the armed forces lose influence, the judiciary is turning
into the last bastion of the ancient regime. It is not committed to
abiding by law and justice but by its own power and the holy
principles of the past century. Yes, Premier Erdogan made many
mistakes...but at the moment, his government is showing the resolve
that it lacked so often before. It seems to have realized that the
time for radical reforms has come."

Die Welt (2/24) carried an editorial under the headline: "Settling
old Accounts with the Military," saying: "The power struggle in
Turkey between the secular military and the Islamic government has
reached a new peak.... It is right and important that the justice

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authorities want to investigate the affair. But what is worrying is
the partisanship of the investigations. All of a sudden people are
arrested who are accused of having criticized the government.
Premier Erdogan initiated a democratization of the country. But he
should now not copy the methods of the Kemalist elites and dominate
the state and its institutions to the same degree as happened in the
past. Then the democratization would only be an end to justify the
seizure of power."

According to die tageszeitung (2/24), "the AKP...has initiated many
reforms in Turkey on paper. But behind the scenes, Turkey continues
to be governed by an alliance made up of bureaucrats and military
officials. It should be no surprise to learn that this alliance
tried to oust Premier Erdogan. In addition, there are other
cardinal sins such as the rapprochement with Armenia, the naming of
the Kurdish problem, and concessions in the Cyprus conflict. With
these policies, the Turkish government stretched the views of quite
a few Turkish nationalists over the past few years.... Turkey's
path to democracy has many obstacles but the current government has
turned out to be tough, robust, and resolute.... With its moves
against the old guard in the armed forces and bureaucracy, Turkey is
now also processing its most recent history. Only after it finishes
this process, will it arrive in Europe. And what is even more
important: with its model, it will be able to initiate democratic
reforms in Islamic countries."

8. (EU-Greece) Euro Crisis

Several papers (2/24) carried reports on the most recent
developments about the Greek debt crisis. Only one paper carried an
editorial. Die Welt (2/24) judged under the headline: "Don't
Slaughter Your Cows" and said: "It would be absurd to tell the
Greeks, but also the Spaniards and Italians, to cut their salaries
by 20 to 25 percent. Their economies would then face a downward
spiral and drag down the entire Monetary Union. It would be as
nonsensical for the Germans [to increase their salaries] thus
risking their competitiveness and role as engine of growth in
Europe. The path out of the current budget misery is not only
through stricter budgetary discipline. No one really thinks that
Greece will be able to cut its state budget by ten percent of the
GDP. Instead of presenting budget goals that are not credible,
bigger issues must be on the agenda of the EU finance ministers.
They include structural reforms that help make the national
economies more competitive again. And the euro zone must develop a
credible mechanism regarding what to do with deficit sinners.
Instead of a Europe that tries to make savings to keep itself
healthy, we would then have a dynamic internal EU economy that is on
the offensive again in the global economy and will set new trends."

9. (Northern Ireland) Bomb Attack

Under the headline: "Bombs Into the Political Vacuum," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (2/24) judged: "Politicians in Belfast, London, and Dublin
may have been shocked at the most recent attack on the shaky peace
process but it was hardly a surprise that secessionist
Republican-Catholic splinter groups detonated a bomb in front of a
court. It will depend on the elected politicians in Belfast whether
the terrorists will succeed. The people in Northern Ireland,
irrespective of whether they are Catholics or Protestants are
longing for normalcy after years of violence. They are much further
than some of their representatives in parliament, who continue to
fight old battles instead of dealing with the real problems: jobs,
investments, school curricula or fees for waste disposal. If they
pigheadedly block any agreement, they will disappoint not only the
voters but involuntarily they will also support the terrorists."


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