Viewing cable 09BERLIN324
Title: MEDIA REACTION: AIG, EU, PAKISTAN, NATO, KOREA, POPE,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09BERLIN3242009-03-19 12:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Berlin
R 191238Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO GM XG US KN PK FR VT
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AIG, EU, PAKISTAN, NATO, KOREA, POPE, 
CLIMATE, ECONOMY 
 
¶1.   Lead Stories Summary 
¶2.   AIG Controversy 
¶3.   EU Summit 
¶4.   Financial Crisis 
¶5.   U.S. Strikes in Pakistan 
¶6.   French Return to NATO Command 
¶7.   Climate Protection 
¶8.   North Korean Missile Test 
¶9.   Papal Visit to Africa 
 
 
¶1.   Lead Stories Summary 
 
ZDF-TV's early evening newscast Heute, ARD-TV's early evening 
newscast Tagesschau and most major papers opened with stories on a 
federal court's decision that single parents have to start working 
full time earlier.  Editorials focused on the situation of single 
parents, the pope's visit to Africa, and the financial crisis. 
 
¶2.   AIG Controversy 
 
Die Welt judged under the headline: "Bonus Payments Turn into 
Bombshells," that "for the first time in his term, Barack Obama is 
now faced with harsh criticism.   Especially his Treasury Secretary 
Timothy Geithner has demonstrated little sensitivity for the mood in 
society and obviously shied away from refusing AIG officials bonus 
payments.  In view of the enormous sums of money that the U.S. 
taxpayers are now required to pay for the banking bailout program, 
these payments may be insignificant, but politically they are a 
bombshell.  Obama will now have great difficulty prompting Congress 
to approve new funds for additional stimulus for the financial 
system.  In this crisis, teachers, clerks, and factory workers have 
voluntarily agreed to receive less money, and there is no reason why 
managers, who are responsible for the crisis, should not do the 
same." 
 
In a front-page editorial, Handelsblatt argued: "With his criticism 
of bonus payments for AIG managers, the U.S. president wants to 
catch up with a movement that is hurrying away.  But it could be 
possible that this is the first great mistake of his term.  He is 
swapping aplomb for populism and is now making his work more 
difficult.  What is happening with AIFG is only the beginning.  In 
the coming months, many more unsavory details will come to the fore 
which will have the potential of creating a public outrage.  Does 
Obama then always want to become the mouthpiece of the dissatisfied? 
 Then he will not make any progress in resolving the crisis.  The 
president should be the voice of reason.  There are already enough 
fuming and angry politicians in Washington.  On a short-term basis 
Obama is now glossing over the problems of his administration 
because it has not yet found a way out of the banking mess.  And 
this is particularly true for his Treasury Secretary, Timothy 
Geithner.  But the starting point to get over the crisis lies 
there." 
 
Frankfurter Rundschau opined: "the recipient of bonus payments are 
the managers who created this mess.  That is why it is no wonder 
that the U.S. taxpayer feels blackmailed.  Bomb planters are now 
receiving bonus payments for the defusing of their own explosives. 
The political effect, however, is dangerous.  It is hardly possible 
to convey to the American people any more that new state bailout 
programs might be necessary.  The first who could feel this at the 
end of March could be General Motors & Co." 
 
¶3.   EU Summit 
 
Under the headline, "Europe Is Checking Out," Handelsblatt had this 
to say: "Is the EU able to cope with the economic and financial 
crisis?  Doubts are not only allowed buy absolutely necessary, 
because the answer the EU wants to give at its summit meeting today 
and tomorrow will not convince anyone: no new economic stimulus 
package, no clear promise for assistance of the Eastern European 
countries, and no realistic consolidation strategy for the public 
households.  In some parts the draft [for the final communiqu] 
reads like a declaration of helplessness.  Instead of courageously 
thinking about new solutions, the EU only confirms its former, 
outdated, Lisbon strategy.  This borders on schizophrenia.  The EU 
is faced with the toughest test of its existence and its leaders are 
pursuing a 'business-as-usual' strategy.  Unfortunately, there is no 
hope for an improvement as there are elections for the European 
Parliament in June.  That is why new initiatives barely have any 
chance.  Europe is checking out." 
 
¶4.   Financial Crisis 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine judged: "The most important lever that could 
prevent banks from falling back into their former excesses is the 
amount of capital reserves they must keep.  The more capital 
reserves the banks must keep and the stricter the rules for the 
capital resources to get their businesses running, the less likely 
are the excesses of the past.  New rules on the liquidity of banks 
could avoid the risky business policies of the past.  But it would 
be a fallacy to assume that these measures would guarantee that the 
world could be saved from the next financial crisis.  The oversight 
agencies only run behind developments.  That is why the next crisis 
can be avoided only if critics are taken seriously." 
 
¶5.   U.S. Strikes in Pakistan 
 
die tageszeitung commented: "It is one of the announcements during 
the election campaign that many of Barack Obama's supporters hoped 
that he did not mean.  Unfortunately, President Obama keeps his word 
and has proposed expanding the combat zone against the Taliban and 
al Qaida into further parts of Pakistan.  He does not deceive his 
voters but plays a dangerous game with fire....  The allies 
involved, including Germany, must finally stop to wait for the 
United States.  Obama said he would listen.  It's time to tell him 
something." 
 
¶6.   French Return to NATO Command 
 
Sueddeutsche commented: "Maybe Sarkozy, if reelected, will be seen 
at the end of his presidency in 2017 as the founder of the Sixth 
Republic.  It is however unlikely that the head of state of a key 
European country will create a French myth.  It is certain that the 
fifth successor of Charles de Gaulle will have brought Gaullism, 
which the generations of Chirac and Mitterrand still respected, to 
an end....  For de Gaulle, the Republic was always the focal 
point....  When he was to submit to U.S. hegemony, he withdrew his 
army from the NATO command.  The fact that Sarkozy, unlike his 
predecessors, is reintegrating the army is a definite breach with 
Gaullism.  Sarkozy is a friend of America and admires Barack Obama. 
De Gaulle was skeptical about America and did not know what to do 
with JFK.  Gaullism always included distance to America." 
 
Die Welt editorialized:  "NATO is not the biblical father and France 
is not the lost son.  The National Assembly only approved the facts. 
 Regardless of De Gaulle and Sarkozy, the national interest is the 
focal point....  De Gaulle and Sarkozy share two convictions: first, 
France's sovereignty must be protected under all circumstances. 
Secondly, nuclear affairs cannot be shared, neither with the Germans 
nor the Americans....  De Gaulle was a realist as much as Sarkozy is 
one.  Only the circumstances have changed." 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine remarked: "The return to NATO was probably 
his last coup for a long time.  Sarkozy's idea was not popular among 
his supporters.  However, his party is even more concerned over the 
social explosiveness in France.  What was barely possible in a 
period of growth is increasingly difficult in a crisis.   You can 
now often hear in Paris that France faces social unrest.  Sarkozy 
does not launch reforms because he hopes he will survive if he keeps 
his head down." 
 
¶7.   Climate Protection 
 
Tagesspiegel opined: "This would be the right time for the Europeans 
to send a clear signal with respect to the financing of global 
climate protection, but we cannot expect this from the EU summit. 
Before President Obama has not revealed how much money he wants to 
spend on climate protection, the Europeans do not want to make any 
promises to the developing countries.  But those who are now 
investing into a future with less carbon dioxide will have good 
opportunities to be on the winner's side after the crisis.  The EU 
and the United States race with respect to climate protection and 
not play games." 
 
Weekly Die Zeit had this to say: "The economic and financial crisis 
that was caused by human beings is creating devastations in the 
economic universe.  The damage is great but not irreparable.  But 
global warming that is also caused by human beings is jeopardizing 
the earth as a living space, and this damage is irreparable. 
Nevertheless, no nation or group of nations, including the EU, has 
resolutely put up a fight against climate change.  But the longer 
the economic crisis lasts, the more Europe's moderate ambitions are 
fading, while the new U.S. president must first match his 'green 
announcements' with deeds.  This struggle, however, requires more 
than windmills, more than fuel efficient cars and more than the 
insulation of houses.  What is now necessary is a historical pact 
between North and South, between industrialized and threshold and 
developing nations.  The economic crisis is no excuse.  On the 
contrary, it shows which enormous amounts of money can be forked out 
within a brief period of time." 
 
¶8.   North Korean Missile Test 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung carried a report on the planned North 
Korean missile test and noted: "The missile test planned for the 
beginning of April is provoking North Korea's neighbors, allies, and 
desired partners.  Kim Jong-il and his regime are playing a risky 
poker game.  With the launch of a long-range missile, North Korea 
will violate a UN resolution that was unanimously adopted, including 
with the support of China, after DPRK's nuclear test in 1996.  Most 
observers agree that, with its belligerent activities, North Korea 
is primarily interested in entering into direct talks with the 
United States.  Pyongyang hopes for a change of course of the U.S. 
policy towards Korea under President Obama.  But it is not only the 
change of the international situation that is driving North Korea 
and Kim Jong-il to pursue such a provocative policy.  The leader is 
under time pressure because 2012 is approaching, when the country 
will celebrate the 100 birthday of state founder Kim Il-sung.  By 
then, North Korea is supposed to be a thriving and powerful country. 
 Time will tell whether the planned missile test will lead to new 
talks with the U.S. and thus to economic assistance.  In any case, 
Kim Jong-il will be able to demonstrate to his people military 
potential with a successful missile test.  If North Korea does not 
turn into a thriving country by 2012, then it should at least be on 
the path to become a powerful country." 
 
¶9.   Papal Visit to Africa 
 
Headlines:  Sueddeutsche: "Harsh criticism of pope over AIDS 
policy," Tagesspiegel: "Paris says Pope is a health risk - Outrage 
over Benedict's statement on the fight against AIDS" 
 
Tagesspiegel's front-page editorial under the headline "Danger!" 
warned against Pope Benedict's statement on AIDS and HIV, saying: 
"Harm has been done across the world.  The 'Pope of hope' as his 
supporter welcomed him has buried all hopes before his landing. 
Benedict does not say such things by mistake.  The fact that his 
spokesman is trying once again to explain his boss speaks volumes - 
not in favor of the pope's farsightedness.  His statement is so 
disastrous particularly because so many Africans pinned their hopes 
on him." 
 
Regional Maerkische Oderzeitung commented: "First the Holocaust 
denier Williamson, now condoms and AIDS-it appears as if the pope is 
not just becoming estranged from Catholics but is indeed out of 
touch with reality....  The idea that the use of condoms aggravates 
AIDS is absurd." 
 
Regional Neue Westfaelische noted: "Sexual abstinence will not cure 
AIDS but is a way of life priests have chosen.  Pope Benedict's 
recent statement raises the question of how much out of touch with 
life a pope can be.  Those who prevent prevention in Africa accept 
that the dying will go on." 
 
 
KOENIG