US-Hungary Rift Is Much Bigger than You Think

Hungary has completely given up on overtures to the United States

Orban, McCain - those days are gone

The article below is a rundown of an interview Hungary parliament speaker recently gave to Magyar Hirlap (Hungarian Gazette) and we republished a few days ago.

The text is from the the Hungarian-American Eva Balogh who, as said, is pro-Washington and doesn't give Hungary government the time of day.

Nonetheless it is very useful to read to understand just how big the rift between US and official Budapest has grown.

This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at Hungarian Spectrum


advertisement
László Kövér, president of the Hungarian parliament and the third most important dignitary of the country after the president and the prime minister, decided to share his grievances and accusations.

His message was intended for the Fidesz faithful, but soon it will reach Hungary’s allies from Washington to Brussels. I don’t think they will be pleased.

I guess the Fidesz leadership wants to make sure that everybody understands the Hungarian position, and therefore they must repeat their shrill message at least three times: first János Lázár, then Viktor Orbán, and now László Kövér. Although the underlying message remains the same, each repetition reflects the personality of the speaker.

Kövér is perhaps our best source on the thinking of Viktor Orbán and the members of his closest circle. And what we find there is frightening–a completely distorted view of the world and Hungary’s place in it.

The basic outline is old hat by now: the United States wants to rule the European Union and is currently trying to teach Putin’s Russia a thing or two.

Hungary is only a pawn in this game, but the United States is still trying to influence political developments in the country.

Therefore, the most urgent task of the Orbán government is to retain the sovereignty of the Hungarian state. Also they “must assure the nation’s survival.” Their paranoia, they would argue, is grounded in reality.

The charge of American interference is based on a speech by Sarah Sewell, U.S. undersecretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, in which she stated that “addressing corruption is tough, but we are using a range of tools – and often working with other states and international institutions – to encourage and assist anti-corruption activity.

At the State Department, our Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement works on corruption along with our bureaus that handle economics, energy, and human rights, and together State collaborates with USAID, Treasury, the Department of Justice, Interior, and Commerce – each of which brings specialized tools to the table.”

For the Fidesz leaders this means direct interference in the internal affairs of East European countries. Kövér even suspects that the Americans had a hand in the recent election of Klaus Johannis as Romania’s president.

As far as U.S.-Hungarian relations are concerned, Hungary shouldn’t even try “to make the Americans love [them].”

They must find other allies in the countries of Central Europe. The Slovaks and the Romanians shouldn’t put “the Hungarian question,” which for Kövér means “their phobia,” at the top of their agenda. They should think about their common fate.

“Our goal should be emancipation within the framework of the European Union.”

Kövér admits in this interview that “we, Hungarians, have never been any good when it came to diplomacy,” but now the Hungarian leadership thinks that their foreign policy strategy will be successful.

They should make no overtures to the United States, in fact, they should turn sharply against Washington and instead rely on Germany.

After all, Kövér is convinced that U.S.-German relations are very bad as a result of American spying on German politicians, including Angela Merkel.

If Hungary keeps courting the Germans, perhaps Berlin will take Hungary’s side on the Russian question.

 Some friends think that Viktor Orbán may just be successful in pitting Germany against the United States. I, on the other hand, doubt such an outcome despite the fact that at the moment the European Union is very restrained in its criticism of Hungary.

Click here for our commenting guidelines