Viewing cable 09BERLIN1436
Title: MEDIA REACTION: POTUS IN ASIA, AFGHANISTAN, SWIFT, RUSSIA,

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09BERLIN14362009-11-13 12:53:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Berlin
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: POTUS IN ASIA, AFGHANISTAN, SWIFT, RUSSIA, 
TURKISH-KURDISH CONFLICT;BERLIN 
 
¶1.   Lead Stories Summary 
¶2.   President Obama in Asia 
¶3.   Strategy on Afghanistan 
¶4.   US-EU SWIFT Agreement 
¶5.   President Medvedev's address to the nation 
¶6.   Turkish-Kurdish Conflict 
 
¶1.   Lead Stories 
 
Primetime TV newscasts and a few newspapers opened with stories on 
Defense Minister Guttenberg's visit to Afghanistan.  Die Welt 
headlined: "NATO: exit from Afghanistan begins as of 2010." 
Sueddeutsche and FT Deutschland opened with criticism from "wise 
economists" of the coalition agreement.   Other papers led with 
stories on energy policy, protests by students and the suicide of 
Germany's soccer goal keeper Robert Enke.  Editorials focused on 
Afghanistan and Russian President Medvedev's annual address to the 
nation. 
 
¶2.   President Obama in Asia 
 
Die Welt headlined "Obama is visiting a self-confident Japan," and 
remarked: "When Obama started his round trip through Asia in Japan 
today, he untypically focused on old and tested approaches because 
Tokyo is still the most reliable partner in the region....  With 
Yukio Hatoyama in Japan, Obama meets a prime minister whose thinking 
is very similar to that of Obama's.  Both have an idealistic 
understanding of politics, the intention to limit the excesses of 
capitalism and to reach out internationally-Obama to the Middle East 
and Hatoyama to Asian neighbors....  Hatoyama focuses on 
communicating with his neighbors, particularly China; He dreams of 
an East Asian community with one currency.  The question only is 
which role the U.S. can play in this.  Although America wants to 
help integrate Asia and Hatoyama stresses how important America's 
participation is, China is not interested...  Given an unpredictable 
China, Japan needs the U.S. nuclear shield and therefore inevitably 
continues to be a junior partner.  Concerning relations with 
Beijing, Obama is thinking of his own interests: when he travels to 
China on Sunday, he wants better access for American goods to the 
Chinese market, a more dollar-friendly currency policy and China's 
cooperation in the dispute with Iran." 
 
FT Deutschland headlined "Obama is discovering China" and 
highlighted that "Obama is advancing rapprochement with China on his 
Asian tour.  Americans pursue political as well as economic 
interests in the region.  They want to win back lost power."  In a 
separate article headlined "U.S. fears for its influence in Asia," 
the paper wrote: "President Obama must also improve the image of his 
country during his tour through Asia." 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine noted, in a report that quotes a White House 
spokesman as saying that Obama is the first American President who 
truly focuses on the Pacific, that "within the ten months of his 
presidency, Obama visited Europe four times and made stopovers in 
the Middle East-in Turkey and Iraq.  He is now for the first time 
traveling to East Asia. 
 
¶3.    Strategy on Afghanistan 
 
Die Welt led with the headline: "NATO: exit from Afghanistan begins 
as of 2010," noting that "NATO is planning to hand over certain 
territories to Afghan security forces as early as next year." The 
paper notes: "For the first time NATO is making clear what the 
long-demanded exit strategy could look like and when it might 
begin." 
 
In a front-page editorial Die Welt wrote: "President Obama has 
obviously returned recent draft proposals to the planning 
 
BERLIN 00001436  002 OF 003 
 
 
departments.  Experts for fighting insurgency believe that 600,000 
soldiers would be necessary to create peace in the country.  We can 
neither recruit that many soldiers nor could we fund them. 
Therefore, the goals must be more modest.  If we succeed in 
permanently separating the Taliban from al Qaida terrorists, 
responsibility could be handed over to the Afghans within a few 
years.  We must however prevent the impression that the recent 
mission was a mistake and that the soldiers killed there died in 
vain.  Afghanistan is no longer a terror camp.  This success must 
remain." 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined "Obama not yet determined to 
increase troops-U.S. Ambassador in Kabul warns against taking 
premature steps."  In an editorial, the paper remarked: "U.S. 
Ambassador to Kabul EIkenberry and Commander McChrystal were seen as 
a dream team: everything would get better if they had the necessary 
means.  But it was only a dream because the two don't agree at 
all....  This is more than unpleasant and increases Washington's and 
NATO's dilemma.  They call on President Karzai to root out 
corruption, adding that they might otherwise withdraw.   This is an 
empty threat because NATO is not in Afghanistan to achieve 'good 
governance,' it is there in its own interest." 
 
Under the headline "Plan of amateurs," Sueddeutsche editorialized 
that "Obama's new strategy on Afghanistan is talked down and 
therefore loses its power."  The paper added: "All players must now 
demonstrate agreement and unity and express willingness to exert 
massive pressure.  Obama and his team are closely watched because 
their decisions point the way to the future of the last step of the 
mission.  This is about demonstrating political and military power, 
and supremacy.  This is the only way to raise hope among Afghans and 
allies." 
 
¶4.    US-EU SWIFT Agreement 
 
Berliner Zeitung and Frankfurter Rundschau carried a joint 
editorial:  "It looks like Europeans were outsmarted in the 
negotiations with Washington.  This alone is bad enough.  However, 
it is audacious that the EU leadership wants to finalize the 
agreement one day before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force.  After 
that, the approval of the EU parliament would be required.  The 
CDU/CSU-FDP government does the right thing to block the project. 
It must under no circumstances give in.   Such a sensitive document 
should not be agreed upon with out the participation of 
parliamentarians.  So far, the EU could not even credibly make clear 
that the U.S. terror investigators will treat the European banking 
data carefully.  The leadership of the community is afraid of a 
debate because it fears its own citizens." 
 
FT Deutschland (11/12) editorialized: "Shortly after the 
nerve-racking time following the attacks on September 11, 2001, it 
might have been understandable why the EU surrendered to the U.S. 
security madness. It no longer is.  Until today, security 
authorities have not come up with any proof that such widespread 
interference with data protection rights is in a reasonable balance 
with the purpose.  It is therefore all the more shameful that the 
Swedish EU presidency and the EU commission want to give the U.S. 
even more power.  The U.S.-EU agreement reads as if the Department 
for Homeland Security dictated the terms...  The most horrific thing 
is that the U.S. would be allowed to pass on the data to third 
countries.  Those who know that Washington cooperates with dubious 
governments in the fight against terrorism must really be 
concerned....  National governments are the only forces that can 
still stop this nonsense.  If the FDP takes its identity as a civil 
rights and data protection party seriously, it must make sure that 
the German government applies the emergency brakes." 
 
¶5.    President Medvedev's address to the nation 
 
BERLIN 00001436  003 OF 003 
 
 
 
Sueddeutsche editorialized: "Medvedev's analysis of the economic 
structures of the country is so critical that the head of the 
government must get the jitters.  However, Putin must not be 
concerned about remaining in power.   His popularity is still higher 
than that of Medvedev.  The president must leave behind the shadow 
of his predecessor....  The key question therefore is: when will he 
be able to implement his ideas.   The problems Russia has are 
enormous." 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine opined: "Russia must modernize all it 
has-this was the tone of Medvedev's speech....  These are great 
words.  But Medvedev, who is the president at Putin's mercy, has not 
yet shown that he has the power to take action to back up his 
accurate words." 
 
Die Welt opined: "More candidly than any of his post-Soviet 
predecessors, Russian President Medvedev has made clear to his 
fellow citizens that Russia is not fit at the moment.   If the 
country wants to return to the top of the world, which a majority of 
the Russians indeed strive for, it must immediately be 
modernized....  However, like his predecessors, Medvedev portrays 
democracy and stability as contradictions and, if in doubt, he 
favors stability.  With that, the modernization project faces the 
fate of many other campaigns before: it could disappear in the 
quagmire of bureaucracy." 
 
FT Deutschland remarked in an editorial: "The new national beginning 
the president wants to initiate contradicts the real situation of 
the country.  While Americans could at least dream of a different 
country throughout an election campaign, many Russians don't even 
dare to dream of such a thing.  The difference between words and 
reality is not unique to Russia.  However, in Russia's case the 
discrepancy between Medvedev's stated dynamism and democratic 
transparency on the one side and reality on the other side is 
particularly grotesque.... Medvedev's description of the ailing 
economy is correct.  However, the announcement to lead Russia back 
to superpower status therefore sounds hollow...  Apart from 
rhetorical changes, nothing has changed in Russia since Medvedev 
succeeded Putin a year and a half ago.  Wherever Russia is going at 
the moment, it is not forward." 
 
¶6.    Turkish-Kurdish Conflict 
 
Under the headline "Erdogan wants to do his bit for posterity," 
Tagesspiegel reports: "The Turkish Prime Minister presents to 
parliament a controversial plan to end the conflict with the Kurds. 
This Friday, Erdogan will deliver one of the most important speeches 
of his life, presenting a 15-point plan for a peaceful resolution of 
the Kurdish conflict.  The prime minister knows that the Turkish 
public is increasingly against this project because the impression 
has been created that the government courts PKK rebels.  For 
Erdogan, it is the most important project of his term: If he can 
achieve a resolution to the Kurdish conflict, he will have done his 
bit for posterity." 
 
MURPHY