DE RUEHBU #2783/01 3531907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191907Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6797
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002783
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: IRAQ; US AMBASSADOR WAYNE; MIDDLE EAST; THE UN NEW STAGE;
12/18/06; BUENOS AIRES
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Weekend papers cover the implications of Robert Gates' taking office
as head of the Pentagon; the style of new US Ambassador to
Argentina, Earl Anthony Wayne; confrontations in the Middle East;
and the new scenario at the UN.
Business-financials "El Cronista" and "Ambito Financiero," as well
as conservative "La Prensa" reprint a press release issued by PAS
about the Eximbank re-starting operations in the country.
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" (12/17) and America 24 cable TV channel
("Ambiente y Medio" program, 12/16), report on last week's press
conference with Terrence O'Brien, Deputy Director at the California
2. OPINION PIECES
- "Gates takes office with the challenge of Getting the war in Iraq
on the right track"
Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (12/18) "... Robert Gates will
take office today as head of the Pentagon. He incarnates Donald
Rumsfeld's personal and ideological antithesis as well as that of US
President Bush himself...
"When Bush summoned Gates, he resorted to the 'old Republican
guard,' the group of experts that gave advice to his father and
former president, George Bush, during the first Persian Gulf War...
"... In a sign of realism, Gates told the Senate that the US 'is not
winning' the war in Iraq, and that a failure there could trigger a
'regional confrontation' in the Middle East. However, the greatest
doubt remains whether Bush will accept his most shocking pieces of
- "Kirchner's silent changes towards Washington"
Joaquin Morales Sola, political columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacion," comments (12/17) (page 39) "... Kirchner ordered support
for the judgment of Argentine prosecutors who investigated the
attack against the AMIA headquarters before the US elections.
"The prosecutors' judgment was timely for Washington because its
diplomats have said that Tehran's theocratic government is not
reliable enough to develop nuclear energy. After that, Kirchner
managed to put part of the Bolivian crisis under control when he got
Evo Morales to sign the first gas deals with Argentina...
"... Washington has recently announced that it will maintain trade
benefits for Argentine imports. Business for more than 600 million
dollars was at stake... Argentina is not the only country that
benefits from this system, but the USG and Congress have the power
to make exceptions in favor or against a country.
"... Another new element is the particular style of the new US
Ambassador, Earl Wayne. He has a packed schedule of official
meetings, which he makes public, and he also makes public his
opinion as he tries to defend the interests of his country. He met
with almost all of Kirchner's ministers, but the ministers asked for
Kirchner's permission before meeting with him. Previous US
Ambassadors were keener on private meetings and would seldom make
their ideas public."
- "Earl Wayne, the hyperkinetic and media-driven US Ambassador"
Julio Blanck, senior political editor of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/17) (page 44) "During recent weeks, he met twice with FM Jorge
Taiana. He also met with VP Daniel Scioli, and a lot of ministers -
Julio De Vido, Felisa Miceli, Anibal Fernandez, Gines Gonzalez
Garcia, Alberto Iribarne and Nilda Garre. He is not the President of
the country. He is Earl Anthony Wayne, the new US Ambassador...
"He has already visited so many government officials that, not
without a touch of paranoia, those who have not received him yet
must think they have done something to irritate the Empire.
"... He often talks about how much the US helped Argentina to
overcome the crisis and how it provides work for 150,000 Argentines
at the 450 US corporations working in the country.
"... Those who knew Wayne before his arrival predicted he was going
to attract some attention. And that apart from the arduous task of
seeking to improve US image, he would try to increase US business in
- "Deep changes"
Paula Lugones, international columnist of leading "Clarin," writes
(12/18) "It is Palestinians fighting Palestinians this time, but the
underlying fact is the everlasting problem of the almost
40-year-long Israeli occupation. Supported by the outcome of opinion
surveys which show him as a sure loser, President Abu Mazen has
called early elections, an 'elegant' way of getting rid of the
"The world has applauded the call for new elections but, unless deep
changes take place, the issue will be stalled - no deal had been
reached with the moderate Abu Mazen either. The US should take into
account the Baker committee's report on Iraq, which recommends
solving the Palestinian issue. Without a real political decision to
stop this conflict, no peace will be attainable in the Middle
- "Bolivia - between re-foundation and civil war"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin,"
writes (12/16) "... Morales has openly spoken about the threat of a
right-wing coup and the need to fiercely resist it. His adversaries
have talked about obtaining 'independence' for four departments that
make up the wealthiest area of the country...
"... The bottom line of the discussion is the political
re-foundation of the country, because what Morales is attempting to
do is not only related to income distribution but to the
distribution of political power, which still has a strong oligarchic
bias in Bolivia."
- "The US asserts that Fidel Castro will die 'in a matter of
Leonardo Mindez, on special assignment in Washington for leading
"Clarin," writes (12/16) "Washington hopes that the life of Fidel
Castro has entered its final countdown. According to US Director of
National Intelligence John Negroponte, there is no doubt that death
is winning the battle against Castro...
"His statement is the latest in a series of similar predictions on
the issue... Ever since the revolution took place, predicting the
death of Fidel has become a 'sport' with plenty of followers both in
Miami and Washington... The recent decline in the Cuban president's
health has fueled this kind of rumors."
- "Cristina Kirchner with no an agenda for the US"
Mariano Obarrio, political columnist of daily-of-record "La Nacion,"
writes (12/17) "The Kirchner administration said last week that
First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner would go to the US in
April to promote her presidential candidacy and strengthen links
with the US Democratic Party. But according to reliable sources, her
trip has entered territory of uncertainty.
"... According to the Argentine Government sources, those who are
organizing her trip are Argentine Consul in New York Hector Timerman
and the head of the Council of the Americas, Susan Seagal...
"According to government sources, problems appeared when some
sectors of the Council of the Americas board, which are more related
to the G.O.P., objected to the Council organizing a political
agenda for Cristina Kirchner and least of all one that would be so
oriented to the opposition party."
- "New challenges for the UN"
An editorial in leading "Clarin" reads (12/18) "Former South Korean
FM Ban Ki-Moon was recently sworn in as UN Secretary General...
"... His man challenge will be to make progress on the UN internal
reform, transparency and efficiency.
"With Ban Ki-Moon, the UN will start a new era calling for a
revitalized multilateral system that is designed to meet the
challenges and threats posed to security, peace and human
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