INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Media Reaction: Potus in China, Burma, Climate,

Published: Mon 16 Nov 2009 01:08 PM
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: POTUS IN CHINA, BURMA, CLIMATE,
AFGHANISTAN,
IRAN;BERLIN
1. Lead Stories
2. U.S.-Chinese Relations
3. U.S.-Burmese Relations
4. APEC--Climate Protection
5. Iranian Nuclear Conflict
6. Future of Guant namo Prisoners
7. Strategy on Afghanistan
1. Lead Stories Summary
ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening
newscast Tagesschau opened with reports on Enke's memorial service.
The majority of papers opened with reports on the SPD party congress
in Dresden and the SPD's demand for the re-introduction of the asset
tax. Sueddeutsche headlined: "The World Postpones Climate
Protection," while Tagesspiegel opened with the memorial service at
Hannover's soccer stadium for Germany's goalkeeper Robert Enke.
2. U.S.-Chinese Relations
In an editorial headlined "Rival, not partner," Sueddeutsche (11/16)
remarked that "America's President is still searching for his role
in the relationship with a stubborn China." The paper added: "The
strategic negligence of Asia during the Bush years is supposed to be
over now. Washington wants to engage more deeply again in the
world's economically most dynamic region.... President Obama has
set the right tone during his courtesy call. The people in Asia
like to hear this message; they don't want to be left alone with
China's rising influence and power consciousness. Washington is
needed as military power as well as an economic counterbalance to
Beijing.... However, the friendly tone cannot hide the fact the
U.S. faces huge problems in Asia and has not yet found any response
to them. Particularly U.S.-Chinese relations must be urgently
redefined. Both sides have maneuvered themselves into a situation
of mutual dependency that poses dangers, as just seen during the
economic crisis. The U.S. import cheap Chinese products on credit;
China keeps its currency undervalued and buys American government
bonds with the gains from the export surplus.... As this model is
now collapsing, the U.S. and China are increasingly seeking refuge
in protectionism. It is therefore absolutely not clear how the
relationship of both countries will go on."
Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/14) headlined "Not yet a Superpower - But
America believes it can no longer live without China," and analyzed:
"America is hoping that China will help it overcome urgent
international problems. From the American point of view, these are:
strengthening the world economy, climate change, the nuclear dispute
with North Korea and Iran, and stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, China won't rush to give in to the requests.... Beijing is
insecure and lacks trust in America."
In a separate editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/14) stated: "In
Tokyo, President Obama underscored the significance of the alliance
with Japan. This is good and continues the right approach of the
previous governments. The better relations are between America and
its Asian allies, the less we have to be concerned that China's rise
will unhinge the power structure in Asia."
Berliner Zeitung (11/16) analyzed: "Washington's diplomats had
problems to describe the relationship with words that are
politically correct and still sound honest enough for the President.
The choice was not great. At the end, there was the desire for a
strategic partnership. Although this slogan sounds more credible
out of Obama's mouth than out Bush's, the interests of both
countries are difficult to match. Obama aims at renewing America's
power and leading role in the world. China's Communist Party wants
to push back American's influence and take over the role of a lead
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nation.
Under the headline "Hu is making life difficult for Obama,"
Handelsblatt (11/16) reported: "During the APEC summit, China's
leadership is unconstructive concerning currency policy-and thus
annoys the United States. President Obama must expect Beijing to be
unyielding in the dispute over currency policies during his visit to
China."
Under the headline "President Obama explains the Internet to the
Chinese," Spiegel Online reported on his meeting with young Chinese
students in Shanghai: "No politician before has so charmingly told
the Chinese that they are living in a dictatorship: U.S. President
Obama spoke to selected students in Shanghai and explained the
advantages of uncensored news."
FT Deutschland (11/16) commented: "The U.S. and China got closer on
practical matters, but they lack a common idea of a better world.
President Obama's visit to China can be helpful here.... The
mistrust between the Americans and the Chinese is still larger than
that between their governments. It is therefore important that the
politicians can name more than just practical reasons for their
cooperation. We will probably wait in vain for a charm offensive by
Hu. However, Obama has the opportunity to repeat what he achieved
in Cairo when he meets young people in Shanghai: convince an
American audience of his good intentions. That's why it is
important not just Obama the technocrat but also Obama the visionary
travels to China."
3. U.S.-Burmese Relations
Several papers carried factual news reports. Frankfurter Allgemeine
(11/16) headlined; "Obama Meets Burma's Prime Minister," with the
sub-headline: "President Calls For Release of Nobel Nobel laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi." Frankfurter Rundschau(11/16) reported that
"after his meeting with General Thein Sein, President Obama said in
a press release that he demanded in his talks with the leader of
Burma's military junta the early release of Nobel peace laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi." The paper added: "This phrase may sound like the
repetition of an old position but the meeting in Singapore is the
symbol of a new U.S. policy in Southeast Asia. The difficult
relations towards ASEAN member Burma should no longer prevent
relations with this group of nations as in the past, Obama said. In
the future, Washington plans to stick to sanctions as long as the
regime does not change its policy. But at the same time Obama, in
contrast to his predecessor, wants to cultivate a dialogue with the
regime."
Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/16) said in an editorial: "Barack Obama
is not afraid of people. And this is probably very good in the case
of Burma because the isolation of the military regime has not
resulted in any progress in human rights. On the other hand, direct
talks with the U.S. president are a reward for the junta without
having made any previous concession. That is why it was important
that Obama unmistakably insisted on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Now we are excited to see if and when the junta will do justice to
this demand. If the regime is clever, it will release Aung San Suu
Kyi from her house arrest, but will not allow her to influence the
elections next year. Then Obama would have his (modest) success,
and the junta would save face - and would have outmaneuvered its
greatest challenger again."
4. APEC--Climate Protection
Many papers carried reports on the APEC meeting in Singapore and the
decision not to agree on binding climate protection goals.
Sueddeutsche (11/16) headlined: "The World Postpones Climate
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Protection - U.S. Calls Binding Agreement 'Unrealistic' - Nations
Only Strive For Declaration of Intent." Financial Times Deutschland
(11/16) reported "Rescue of the World Cancelled - No Climate
Protection Agreement in Copenhagen - Pacific Nations Refuse To Agree
on Emission [Reduction] Target." die tageszeitung (11/14) reported
under the headline: ", China is most important for the United
States": "The U.S. administration considers the People's Republic
of China as a competitor. That is why it insists the Chinese commit
themselves to accepting new climate [protection] rules. Joel
Bluestein, President of the Energy and Environmental Analysis think
tank said that Europe is not so important for the United States in
climate policies. He added that for the only thing that is
important for the Americans is that China and India stick to new
climate protection rules since the United States considers primarily
China as a competitor for its economy. Bluestein added that climate
protection does not play a role among the U.S. public. Copenhagen
is considered an issue for the elite and neither the average
American nor the decision makers want to know anything about global
warming. And this is why there is no pressure on politicians -
something that is noted elsewhere."
Sueddeutsche (11/16) editorialized: "For the upcoming climate
summit, [politicians] are selling the non-committal declaration of
intent to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases as a success.
This is frightening, even a little irresponsible. The previously
announced epoch-making agreement has now been shrunk to a simple
self-commitment without any control. If this situation remains, the
global climate summit has failed before it has even begun.
According to Financial Times Deutschland (11/16), "Over the past few
months it has become clear that the Europeans are resting on their
previous role as trailblazers in climate protection. In Copenhagen
of during the times thereafter, they must intensify their role
again, even when it comes to financial assistance. It is clear that
all states must move, and this refers primarily to the United States
without whose support all efforts for the protection of the climate
would be in vain. But China and India and other threshold nations
must also make their contribution."
Deutschlandfunk (11/15) commented: "How many commonplaces and
declarations of intent can the world stand before the climate on
earth finally changes with disastrous consequences for millions of
people? The APEC summit could have pointed the way to the future
and could have resulted in a breakthrough for Copenhagen. But the
U.S. government does not want to impose any restrictions on its
citizens to protect the climate, since this could slow down economic
recovery. Nor do China, Indonesia or other developing nations among
the APEC members want to risk their chance to catch up with the
industrialized countries. On the contrary, they all together prefer
to risk the climate, i.e. the living conditions of future
generations which will have to face the consequences. It is no
wonder that the state leaders from all 192 nations from all over the
world have promised to come to Copenhagen - and this includes
President Obama. No one wants to attend a conference that is doomed
to failure right from the start. But this does not reduce the
responsibility of the government leaders."
According to Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/16), "many other countries -
including the emerging countries and the United States - do not
share the climate protection goals of the Europeans. We can regret
this or we can only be surprised at the unrealistically high
expectations that have burdened the Copenhagen climate summit. If
the mood at the APEC summit allows a prediction, then the summiteers
in Copenhagen will be unable to approve a binding and comprehensive
Kyoto follow-on package. The lesson from Singapore is that, in
climate policies, too, it is senseless to be pigheaded. And if the
biggest emitters do not join forces, the Europeans can approve tough
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emission goals, but they will be unable to influence the climate.
At best, they will ask too much of their own economies."
Berliner Zeitung (11/16) opined: "The Copenhagen summit has not
failed. it only gets a new chance. Denmark's Premier Rasmussen's
proposal to agree on political, basic principles first and then come
to legally binding commitments a few months later...is reasonable
and acceptable. Yes, it will save the talks. It was a hopeless
endeavor to stick to the timetable. Instead of running blindfolded
to nowhere, the Danish host is adjusting proceedings to reality -
and this reality is not that negative. The economic crisis makes
states hesitate to spend large amounts of money on climate
protection. The situation is likely to be different in six months.
And Barack Obama needs more time to overhaul climate policy against
the pigheaded opponents in his own country. But the main thing is
that the will to do something about climate change is growing
everywhere. It would have been nice to celebrate an agreement in
December 2009 but a sound, good agreement is better than a windy
one. If it is a good one, the delay in the ratification process
could quickly be made up. Time can also be a good investment."
5. Iranian Nuclear Conflict
Several papers (11/16) carried relatively short reports on
Presidents Obama and Medvedev's press conference. Sueddeutsche
headlined "Time for Iran is running out," noting that "the U.S. and
Russia called on Tehran to sign an agreement on the processing of
uranium outside of Iran. 'Time is running out,' said President
Obama during a press conference with his Russian counterpart
Medvedev in Singapore. Medvedev said he is still hoping that Iran
will send its enriched uranium to Russia to be processed."
Frankfurter Rundschau headlined "Obama and Medvedev increase
pressure on Iran," adding: "In the nuclear dispute with Iran, Russia
and the U.S. increased the pressure on the leadership in Tehran.
Time for accepting the international compromise is slowly running
out, President Obama said on Sunday after a meeting with his Russian
counterpart Medvedev in Singapore. He regretted that Iran has not
yet agreed to the proposal mediated by the IAEA." Tagesspiegel
headlined: "Obama and Medvedev threaten Tehran."
6. Future of Guant namo Prisoners
Die Welt (11/16) headlined: "Conflict in U.S. over Wirepullers of
9/11 Attacks - Republicans Assail Obama Administration," and
reported that an "intense controversy has begun over the meaning and
the consequences of the trial of the decade: United States vs.
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and others. Attorney General Eric Holder
described his announcement as an 'important step in our efforts to
close Guant namo and to call to account those people who have
attacked out nation and out interests abroad.' But the Republicans
in particular vehemently criticized the plan of the Obama
administration." Sueddeutsche (11/14) reported under the headline:
"Al-Qaida's Chief Planner to be Put on Trial in New York," and
reported that civilian judges will judge over Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed."
In an editorial headlined: "Return to the Rule of Law," Die Welt
(11/16) noted: "With its decision to put Khaled Sheikh Mohammed on
trial, the Obama administration is taking risks. Nevertheless,
Attorney General Holder's decision is right. The Bush
administration made the mistake of institutionalizing and
perpetuating the emergency situation following 9/11. With this
trial and with the planned closure of Guant namo, Obama wants to
return to the roots of the U.S. rule of law in which even dangerous
criminals have a right to defend themselves. The course of his
predecessor was at the expense of U.S. legitimacy and credibility in
the world. But this loss of reputation was much more dangerous that
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all thinkable consequences of the trial of the decade in
Manhattan."
"Guantnamo and No End," is the headline of an editorial in
Sueddeutsche (11/16) which links the announcement to put Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed on trial to the dismissal of President Obama's legal
advisor Gregory Craig. The daily judged: "In the end, Craig has
become a victim of 9/11. This rotten populism with which
politicians of both parties are exploiting this fateful date in
Congress has been blocking the dissolution of Guant namo. There is
even a U.S. law that bans the transfer of innocent prisoners to the
U.S. mainland. Imagine this: For more than seven years, the
nation which describes itself as the 'land of the free' every day,
has been keeping harmless men from China, Algeria, and Libya in
Guant namo. It is likely that they would be tortured at home, but
the humanitarian gesture to offer them refuge somewhere between
Florida and California is strictly forbidden. America will have to
learn to live with Guant namo. Even if the camp in Cuba is closed,
the government will have to incarcerate 120 prisoners on the
mainland. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has lost, but so has Gregory
Craig."
7. Strategy on Afghanistan
Suedwestrundfunk radio (11/14) commented: "Guttenberg is a smart
tactician. He has shown this talent with his approach to Opel....
He speaks of warlike circumstances. In comparison with the
unbearable gibberish of his predecessor, Franz-Josef Jung,
Guttenberg appears to be a shining figure of political clarity....
He is deploying an additional company to Kunduz... However, these
120 troops are only a drop in the ocean. Guttenberg's pressure on
Karzai will also show no impact because Karzai knows that, despite
the election fraud and the corrupt government, there is no
alternative to him. The German defense minister is simply joining
in the international choir. This lacks substance.... No decisions
are being made prior to the international conference in
Afghanistan.... Everything goes on like it is. We are buying time
until Obama has decided on his new strategy... The fact is that the
international community has taken only half-hearted action in
Afghanistan, like Germany in the efforts to train police forces.
Opportunities were missed, serious mistakes were made, the Taliban
could restructure themselves. Can a conference repair the damage?
I'm afraid it won't be able to do this. Policy on Afghanistan has
reached a dead end, and this is devastating. Guttenberg's nice
images and words might calm things down, however, they also make
clear that he does not know the way out."
MURPHY
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