After some hesitation Hungary declares war on the U.S. and the EU

The title of yesterday’s post was “The Hungarian government turns up the heat on the NGOs.” Well, today it took on both the United States and the European Union.

After some initial hesitation when János Lázár profusely praised the United States and extolled the friendship between the two countries, it seems that the decision was reached within the closest circle around Viktor Orbán that Hungary will not be “intimidated” by anyone. Hungary will strike back. Within a day Lázár was instructed to change his tune and attack the evil United States. Although he hid his message to the United States on the website of his hometown, Hódmezővásárhely, by today all the nationwide papers and internet sites reported on Lázár’s new attitude toward the United States and the European Union. He accused the United States of treating Hungary like an unequal partner and alluded to the so-called “gendarme pertue,” a reference to the practice during the Horthy period according to which the gendarmes used the familiar form of address with the peasants while the rural inhabitants had to use the formal with the gendarmes.* Being loyal to the European Union does not mean being a yes-man. Budapest is a faithful ally of Washington–and not because it dares not demand proof of serious allegations.

National holidays always come in handy for politicians, and the anniversary of the 1956 October Revolution couldn’t have come at a better time. In the last couple of days several top politicians linked the events of 1956 with the current crisis. Lázár illustrated the democratic impulses of Hungarians by appealing to the 1956 events. Who would ever question the Hungarians’ total commitment to freedom and democracy? But the Hungarians were let down by the West. “If October 23 is the glory of the Hungarians, then November 4 is the shame of America and Western Europe.” Hungarians were duped and abandoned so often that by now they are extremely cautious. In his opinion, “the bankruptcy of the regime change is demonstrated by the fact that the slavery of the East was replaced by the tutelage of the West.” This happened because in the last twenty years Hungary had political leaders who did not represent the interest of the country but who stood for foreign interests within Hungary. “In 1990 Hungarians regained their freedom but they needed twenty years more to dare to exert their rights. Well, now we dare!… We are responsible for our lives but at the same time we have the right to live our lives on our own terms.” At the end of this declaration of war, Lázár expressed his belief that the world will understand the Hungarian position and will slowly accept this new reality. “We ask only what is our due: neither more nor less.”

Expropriating 1956--a real shame

Expropriating 1956–a real shame

Lázár’s note was followed by László Kövér’s even more specific references to Hungary’s possible new course. In an interview on the far-right Echo TV Kövér ruminated on Hungary’s relation to the European Union. For him it was the Tavares report that was the last straw because the European parliament “thinks they can tell us how to behave. In this respect Brussels reminds me of Moscow. It was customary in Moscow to call together the party secretaries of the socialist camp and publish joint communiqués … in which they told us what the member states can and cannot do. If that is the future of the European Union, then it is worthwhile to contemplate that perhaps we should slowly, carefully back out.” He quickly added, “I’m convinced that this is just a nightmare and that this is not the future of the European Union, although some people seriously think that the EU should move in this direction.”

Even the staff of Mandinera gathering place of the younger conservative generation, thought that drawing a parallel between Moscow and Brussels was “stupid.” And the author of the article listed some of the fallacies in Kövér’s contention. It was our sovereign decision to join the Union; we are members of the EU and not subjects as in the Soviet bloc; we can veto certain decisions unlike in the old days; there are no occupying forces in the country; we receive more money from the EU than we pay in; and finally, one of the official languages of the EU is Hungarian, while during the Kádár regime Russian was compulsory.

The last attack on the United States came from Gergely Gulyás, one of the few smart politicians in an otherwise intellectually undistinguished party. He was in Berlin when he delivered a speech at the Hungarian embassy on the Hungarian revolution of 1956. After a historical overview of what happened to Hungary between 1945 and 1990, he went straight to the question of democracy in Hungary. There can be no question that for the Hungarians “democracy is a sacred value for which they shed their blood.” The memory of the revolution is an eternal reminder that Hungarians live in a country of laws which are written down in the constitution. “Our freedom of today springs from our revolution of 1956.”

Well, it was here that I could hardly retain my composure. These people try to justify their undemocratic, illegitimate regime by appealing to the blood and sacrifice of the revolutionaries of 1956. And that is not all. He had the temerity to claim that those who question the existence of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary insult the memory of the heroes of the revolution.

Meanwhile, on another front, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation, which operates in the United States as a propaganda arm of the Orbán government, has lost almost half of its board members. Those who left are George E. Pataki, former governor of New York; Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, daughter of U.S. representative Tom Lantos and vice chair of the United States Commission on International and Religious Freedom; Susan Hutchison, executive director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences; and Michael J. Horowitz, former director of the Hudson Institute’s Project for Civil Justice Reform and its Project for International Religious Liberty as well as a founding member of 21st Century Initiatives. Those remaining are former American ambassdor April H. Foley; Tamás Fellegi, a former member of the Orbán government; Dr. John P. Lipsky, former first deputy managing director of the IMF; Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership; and Edith K. Lauer, chair emerita of the Hungarian American Coalition. Even among the remaining five we see some dissent. Kurt Volker, who used to be a steadfast supporter of Viktor Orbán, had some very harsh words about the latest Hungarian development in an interview with Péter Morvay in Washington.

Ágnes Vadai of the Demokratikus Koalíció reacted to the László Kövér interview by saying that anyone who wants to lead Hungary out of the European Union is “an enemy of the country.” As are those who blaspheme the memory of 1956.

*Apparently, gendarme pertu also means a slap in the face by the officer instead of greetings.

89 comments

  1. After reviewing the tradition of 1956 we should look at some American traditions. This blog posting certainly continues one American tradition and that is slave-owner mentality. It was the slave-owners who were thinking like you think.

    “These rebellious slaves are not doing exactly what I tell them, when I tell them, how I tell them. Therefore, they are clearly declaring war on me, the slave-owner.”

    If you review what you wrote you will see you think exactly like a slave-owner when first writing:

    “it seems that the decision was reached .. that Hungary will not be “intimidated”. ”

    and

    “Being loyal to the European Union does not mean being a yes-man. Budapest is a faithful ally of Washington–and not because it dares not demand proof of serious allegations.”

    And then saying this is the same as declaring war. Only someone with a slave-owner mentality would think, that stressing being a “faithful ally” while saying “proof of serious allegations is needed”, is the same as declaring war.

    Not being intimidated by bullying, or threats and intimidation is also not the same as declaring war. And to tell you the truth, a normal person thinks that “Not being intimidated”, is a positive attribute and something any free country needs. There is such a thing called backbone.

    Anyone who thinks you declare war with words like “Budapest is a faithful ally of Washington” have clearly lost their minds. Sorry but that is my opinion.

  2. @Long Light: “There is such a thing called backbone. ”

    There is, but unfortunately, not among the Hungarian ruling elite nowadays.

    You join the club, you accept its rules. If you don’t want to accept the rules, leave the club.

  3. My grandfather who was As a boy in the Austro-Hungarian army told me when I was a very young: Magyarok nyerték minden csatát, de elvesztette minden háborút. (Hungarians have won every battle, but lost every war.) That’s something to think about Long Light.

  4. Hungary–a full, client/vassal state of Russia.

    Orban–a Russian asset.

    This ngo/US/EU brouha is a tempest-in-a-teapot being used to take attention away from Russian
    intimidation of countries in the Baltic region–Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia…etc.

    I am reminded that in 1990, there was an interview with the great spy fiction writer, John Le Carre in which he was asked if the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War has reconciled him to Russia. His answer: “NEVER”.

  5. @long light if you think the Americans are the only ones with a history of slavery than it shows just how ignorant you are. Every country, including hungary, has a history of some form of slavery and a number still practice it. That Americans are willing to have an honest discourse about it is maybe something others should learn from???

    My question is; has Hungary really ever had a liberal democracy before the 90s?

  6. Until Germany closes the EU money flow to the Fidesz crime syndicate, Orban will act freely to deprive Hungarians of their own freedom.

  7. This is unbelievable. You fled the country to get rid of this people and now they are right here spreading their hatred and stupidity. It is painful enough to see them destroy Hungary and now they wanna tell you what democracy is. Oh, that trusted home!

  8. About slavery. Under what kind of coditions live the gypsies of today in Hungary? Slavery!

    So do’nt blame anyone else of their past history.

  9. To read ‘Long Light’ is to get a full craw of the wretchedness of the learning, of the puniness of the intellectual capacity; and the total absence of morality and integrity.
    Where to Hungary in the next 10 years when the country will be littered with such zombies?

    It’s so fatiguing, and useless, to correct his dribblings.
    How do these trolls look themselves in the mirror?

    Outside of their penny-ante salaries, and the sense of belonging to an all-powerful, all-ruling, elite….what have they got? What kind of suicidal ‘exit’ will they chose when they realize
    who they are serving and what damage they have wrought?

    The great Lao Tzu must have faced similar when he finally jumped the Great Wall and disappeared into the forest. But we can’t even escape anywhere: the toxic-minded Hungarians
    are everywhere!

  10. Re Lázár I already wrote on politics.hu:

    Climbing up KGB officer Putin’s behind is an offence to the memory of Hungary’s 1956 martyrs!

  11. @Long Light – in a way, you’re right, but dog is the word you’re looking for, not slave. When Russia shakes its knout and threatens to cut off the gas (thereby threatening the entire Hungarian nation), the Hungarian government puts its tail between its legs, licks its master’s hands, objects to sanctions against its master and offers its master a place to store gas and construction of South Stream (Slovakia and Poland, by contrast, called in the Russian Ambassador for an explanation, and continue to sell gas to Ukraine).
    By contrast, when America discretely bans just six people from visiting the US, the Hungarian government barks and bites. Recall, the Hungarian government published the details first. The State Department was keeping quiet about this. The Hungarian government decided to make it a public issue. It all might have happened without public knowledge. The Hungarian government is the one attacking and accusing.
    I, also, urge the Obama administration to allow the release of all evidence compromising Hungarian officials – in this affair and others. Since that is what the PM of Hungary has asked for, that’s what he should get. A presidential decree should make that possible. Every single detail of every shred of foulness in this affair and in others should be published. It’s what the Hungarian government wants, after all…

  12. It is very ‘gentlemanly’ of you to appreciate the virtues of Gergely Gulyas, being so smart and young (you didn’t mention how handsome he was), but in fact that bum is one of the rotten, corrupt architects of the legislative rampage of the Orban government. He is able to provide a legalistic argument on behalf of any dictatorial legislation one week and argue the opposite next week, without batting an eye.
    The man is totally rotten and debauched.
    There is only one worse than him, Gyorgy Rubovszky, but he at least kept quiet this time.

  13. I tell you Webber, what would happen, if the US should do as you suggest.
    The Hungarian Parliament would gather its committee of ‘investigation’ under the chairmanship of the aforementioned Gyorgy Rubovszky, christian-demokrat lapdog of Orban, (in a closed session, of course), to investigate the intrusion of the US into Hungarian sovereignty, the intelligence abuse against our innocent, noble homeland, and would declare that these ill-gotten evidence do not count because it was obtained by illegal means. Therefore they would order them suppressed. Then Orban would make statements in righteous indignation and finally would receive a massive tribute of the Peace March at the steps of Parliament with a rousing speech, depicting the decline of the West and the miraculous rise of the fortunes of Hungary, forged by him.
    From the point of view of usefulness I don’t expect such US step to help. But I sure would enjoy that spectacle with glee.
    By the way, two of the six suspected crooks have fled the country. The president of the Tax Department and her deputy. They were caught on the Schwechat airport going on ‘vacation,’ together, and refusing to speak to the TV crew that found them there. Bets are already being made whether they are just withdrawing until the storm subsides, or are they going for good.

  14. Lázár: “If October 23 is the glory of the Hungarians, then November 4 is the shame of America and Western Europe.”

    Exactly how many American and Western European divisions invaded Hungary on that day?

    I think the shame should be on the Russians, who DID in fact invade Hungary that day. Of course, that’s a inconvenient fact nowadays with this government’s love affair with Russia, so they blame it on somebody else.

  15. re: Gulyás, I agree with ambator. Rumor has it that he is secretly disgusted with the way Fidesz operates, which makes his sycophancy even more despicable IMO since he doesn’t speak out against it.

  16. @buddy and ambator. Sure I don’t like Gulyás either but he is a clever guy and therefore he is more dangerous than some of the other Fidesz politicos.

  17. Gulyas as smart, yes, that was a bit unwarranted in my opinion too. He is exactly as smart and likable as Janos Lazar is, a kind of a charmer in person, I hear. Though he is way smarter than any lefty politician, that’s true.

    Why the EU is fine with being the bogeyman, the most hated enemy of Hungary, the new Moscow is beyond me. Unless, those EU people really don’t give a s**t about anything anymore, which is probably the case, and Orban uses this insight fantastically.

    Orban is looking for the boundaries. Until now he’s encountered no limits, these reactions from the US or the EU will not influence him the least. He is loughing his ass off and even if this goes on like this he will be for the next few years.

    He is provoking the world just like probably he did provoke his father who used to beat him up (up until the age of 20, when he was already at Bibo).

    See it doesn’t hurt me, is that all you can come up with? Hit me harder! You sucker, it still doesn’t hurt me, you weak moron. Muhahahahaha.

  18. re: Guylas

    When I met him about 6 months ago, he was hung-ho to defend all things Fidesz. He seemed outgoing and friendly…so it was particularly depressing. Since then, I’ve been ever more disgusted with some of his outpourings.

  19. The title of this excellent piece seems a bit odd to me though, especially as there’s an actual war going on in neighboring Ukraine. What about ‘After Some Hesitation, Fidesz Trolls huff and puff at US, EU’?

  20. But I agree that Gulyas is probably next in line to be elevated to the “presidium” should one of the main characters for whatever reasons get out (Rogán, Lazar, Habony or Kosa, who is anyway not a full member). He’s pretty influential.

  21. ambator – Naturally all details should be published first of all in American papers. The US government is, after all, responsible to the American people. Americans should know about their NATO allies. It’s just coincidental that the American press can’t be prosecuted for violating Hungarian state secrets or sued for violating Hungarian privacy laws.

  22. Petofi: my thoughts exactly. Reading these strange rants by “nationalist” trolls such as “Long Light”, I just keep asking myself: what makes these people tick? None of my Hungarian friends, intelligent, educated people, is buying this crap.

    Are there really so many stupid, blind fanatics in Hungary, so many idiots who are ready to believe in anything which is served in a red-white-green package together with the idea that “the rest of the world owes us everything because we tore down the Iron Curtain / stopped the Turks / descend from superhuman beings who came from Sirius”?

    And, as I simply cannot believe that all or even most Hungarians are really that stupid, what makes the rest of them produce or listen to this crap? Pure cynicism and thirst for power? Or fear? Lying low in the hope that this, too, will pass?

    And especially these trolls who visit Eva’s blog and entertain us with their comments: Are they only in it for the money, do they get this assignment from somebody? Or do they really believe in what they write?

    BTW: Just read a comment chain on 444.hu where somebody claimed (referring to first-hand information from somebody inside) that the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is full of people whose only qualification is playing futsal with Szíjjártó, so that the protocol department is often in real trouble trying to find people who speak foreign languages…

  23. @Marcel

    Oh, it’s way more than huffing and puffing, this is the strategy now and Fidesz always follows through.

    The war is ongoing only not with steel weapons.

    The war for the minds is actually almost won while the EU and the US slept, as we talked about it here unbelievably many people (especially the young who support Jobbik which has been anti-US/EU from the getgo) not just dislike but actually hate the EU and the US.

    It’s sure an ambivalent feeling, but these people would love to vote for an exit. As we saw from the elections, the rest of the Hungarian may not bother to vote because they too are ambivalent at best, it’s not like they are enthusiastic at all about the EU or NATO. They may prefer to stay, but not so much as to go to vote.

    As you know from the anti-EU parties at the latest EU elections even average Europeans are rather unsure as well.

    And we are just before the free trade agreement with the US. That will cause another uptick in the anti EU/anti-US sentiments, because even those who support for example the US against Orban dislike/afraid of genetically modified shi*t which would be dumped on Hungary. (As usual cheap sh**t is dumped on poor countries). It’s again one of those secretly negotiated from the top pushed down things which makes people angre (and coincidentally causing even freer trade, resulting in more job losses for those who cannot compete with factory farms or cheaper stuff produced with energy subsidized by laxer environmental regulations in the US). But forget this example.

    Orban’s strategy against the EU or the US – knowing that both are toothless against him – is to resist until the very last minute and even beyond, and in this resistance he will use any means necessary.

    Orban and friends want to build Paks 2 which is now a fixation of Orban’s and would be the bonanza of the century, even necessitating a new Bős-Nagyamoros too. It became the focal point of their dreams, aspirations and the symbol of their sovereignty. He and the people around him won’t just give up that symbol. Especially when the Russians are firing them up that they should not be pu****s and the US and the EU are anyway weak and going down. Orban have their backing and is fighting back.

    That’s also one thing: while Orban and his people are deadly serious and treat this US action about the six names as nothing less than a war, Westerners all think this is some kind of an argument, debate, diplomatic row, difference of opinions etc. which we will negotiate away, time will take care of it, Orban will realize that it’s actually better to stay in the EU and have the US as a friend etc. etc.

    Dead wrong — as always.

  24. The Orban government’s war on the judiciary, a summary

    Constitutional Court: completely under control
    (enlargement of the court, replacement of its old members,
    extension of retirement age of the Fidesz appointees)

    Other courts:

    Ten per cent of the judges, including 15% [or 59] of the senior [by position] judges,
    20 out 74 judges of the Supreme Court [now Kuria] were dismissed by lowering their
    retirement age to 62 from 70.

    June 30, 2012: forced retirement of 194 judges
    December 31, 2012: forced retirement of 37 judges

    November 2012: European Court ruled against the measure.

    Only 56 out of the 231 dismissed judges returned to the courts, but they
    were mostly excluded from their previous senior positions.

    Prosecutors:
    There were 99 forcibly retired prosecutors, only 19 were allowed to return after
    the ruling of the European Court.

    The source of this and other data, including the dismissal of leaders of hospitals and
    universities can be found at:

    http://www.hvg.hu/itthon/201443_elitvaltas_fideszmodra_poszt_oszt_jo_napot

  25. @Sentroopa-Santra re Foreign ministry. I have been wanting to write about the situation there which, I understand, is pretty grim. Every fourth employee, mostly highly skilled diplomats, have been or will be fired. Just now when the country is in a diplomatic mess.

  26. Footnote to tappanch’s figures on the judiciary. There was a very interesting interview with András Bragyova whose term just ended. He was on the last Friderikusz show. It was fascinating to hear him talk about some of the inner workings of the constitutional court.

  27. @Numida

    Another one spreading the vile lies…
    Hungarians DO NOT want to leave NATO and the EU.
    People like you–in support of Fidesz and Orban–are busily telling us otherwise. The whole
    hub-bub is about attempting to justify a future move away from NATO and the EU, but Orban certainly knows–and his Russian masters know–that the time is not yet. There is still a lot
    of dissimulation and false scenarios to build before the Hungarian citizenry will part with the West. And, in fact, once the country is cemented with Paks 2 into full indentured mode to Russia…well, it will be declared a ‘fait a comply’–“they (Russia) has saved us when we received
    nothing but attacks at the hand of the US and the EU”.
    And the people will swallow it whole: the chains will only be felt later.

  28. Some times I dream about a “test” of Orbán’s policy – close down all the EU/US owned businesses for a week, the factories and the supermarkets, send people home, close the borders, keep all tourists out of the country for a week …

    I wonder if Hungarians would wake up then – get even angrier or maybe enjoy their “freedom from the EUSSR colonialism”?

  29. PS:

    My wife told me several times already that she wouldn’t really mind living only in Germany, even if it meant only sporadic contact with her family. The “Stimmung” especially in my German home town, where she won so many friends, is so much better, people are much nicer and friendlier she says – she was accepted immediately by everyone.

    Btw our Green mayor was just elected again with more than 60% of the votes.

    But I know of course that it would hurt her very much not to see her children and grandchildren regularly …

  30. Here are the bids for the next 7 or so years (I quote the numbers from memory, so double-check them):

    1.
    Russia: about 10 billion euros [Paks 2 – a loan, Hungarians have to repay at least twice as much with interest]

    What is the % that ends up in the accounts of the Fidesz leaders & oligarchs?

    2.
    European Union: about 20 billion euros [grants]

    What is the % that ends up in the accounts of the Fidesz leaders & oligarchs?

  31. “[Gulyás] had the temerity to claim that those who question the existence of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary insult the memory of the heroes of the revolution.”

    Facepalm. Lázár – facepalm. Kővér – facepalm.

    (I’m going to have no skin left on my face or palm if I go on reading what these drongoloids are spouting about 1956).

    This is the very weird thing about living in Hungary: whatever admirable things I find, I get a sneaking fear that they’ll very soon be appropriated as fodder to support this demented bunch’s shenanigans. Or have been already. Usually I end up relaxing (because it’s too tiring to exist with one’s mind bent into a mental pretzel) and try to just enjoy things. And then this kind of nonsense comes my way: I mean, 1956? Can’t they even leave that alone?

    Surrealism on my 23rd October:
    1. A caption in the Nemzeti Múzeum explaining “historicism” as an attempt to justify the present in terms of the past. I know that’s probably a simplification of the concept, but reading it and thinking of the current government made me smile. Perhaps Gulyás should have gone down there (it’s free on Oct 23, cheaper than a flight to Berlin!) and had a read of it?
    2. On the way there, at the corner of Ferenc krt and Üllői út, the works are finished and (along with one of those ubiquitous Bubi-bike racks) there’s a small park dedicated to István Angyal. I’d never heard of him, let alone imagined that he was fighting right here in what’s now my neighbourhood back in 1956. I looked for and found the explanatory column, to check that my rough mental translation of the quotation from him was somewhere near the mark, and read that this restoration was paid for by… the government of Sweden, and various Swedish companies (Saab, among others)!

    So we have a hero of 1956 being celebrated by “evil, sinister foreign influences who hate Hungary”. At the same time, according to Gulyás et al, 1956 proves that Hungary doesn’t want or need any outside influence because everything’s just fine. But also that the West are irredeemably culpable because they _didn’t_ intervene in 1956.

    I think I’ll go and lie down.

  32. It was fortuitous that the RT video of Putin was posted, because it does provide ideological context to the evolving perspectives of Fidesz and the more consistent perspective of Jobbik towards the west and the United States in particular. Putin creates a theory of the world thrown into chaos by what is in his opinion the over reach of US economic interests and foreign policy goals. From Putin’s perspective we are in an urgent situation, ideologically I believe Orban buys into that perspective.

    I think the attraction to Putin is reinforced by my own President’s perspectives in relation to foreign affairs, President Obama argues very consistently slow down, time is on the side of the USA , don’t overreach, and most all don’t commit are armed forces to open ended conflicts. I am not going to fully repeat what I have stated several times on this blog that with the end of the Obama term regardless if a Republican or Democrat is elected this go slow perspective will change.

    We are not entering a new Cold War with Russia, we are already in that war. Once that realization sinks in the perspectives of the US population will change and become as hostile towards Russia as they currently are toward the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. So what happens to Hungary if it joins with Russia in this scenario?

    At first really nothing I suspect, Hungary will continue to be a low wage producer for the west, and increasingly its balance of payments to Russia will look worse and worse. If Hungary pulls out of the EU its escape valve for unemployed younger Hungarians gets cut off and ever greater internal problems grow causing Fidesz to crack down on all forms of dissent inside Hungary. As the USA ratchets up the military and economic pressure on Russia it will be forced to raise its prices on oil and other raw materials for its Eurasian partners including Hungary to try to compete with more advance military technology my country will put in the field, including robotic ground forces. While this may sound like science fiction it’s not.

    Internally within the United States social services will either be frozen or cut and transfers will be made to military expenditures. Taxes will also have to be increased which will be a bitter pill for the Republicans if they come to power. I don’t blame many Hungarians for having mass dissatisfaction with the transition to a market economy and its relationship with the EU. But to pull back from the west will be a disaster for Hungary. In the ideal world a small nation like Hungary could possibly adopt a stance similar to Switzerland, but that seems totally unrealistic given the cards Hungary has to play.

  33. Re the Fidesz FUD Formula (FFF) and the IQ of One Gergely Gulyas (GG)

    The Fidesz FUD Formula (FFF) — “deny all accusations of wrong-doing, accuse all accusers of exactly what they are accusing” — is rote verbal technique that any legally trained hack can master. GG talks faster than some of the others, but talks the very same foul, shameful, mechanical rot. Remember that it is infinitely easier to talk and act unscrupulously than it is to be decent and honest.

    And while I’m at it, I really wish that the defenders of democracy in this Forum, who are wondeful, decent people, would stop reflexively running down the intelligence and the decency of many (not all) of the Hungarian democratic opposition. Many of them are very far from stupid or incompetent (certainly incomparably brighter than a formula zombie like GG) and would be perfectly capable of governing a decent, honest, Western-oriented Hungary, if given a chance.

    It is just frustration that is inclining us to blame them instead of FFF and its fast-talking GGs.

    The reason the democratic opposition in Hungary is so powerless is that the apathy of the Hungarian majority and the defensive jingoism of a minority have allowed the scruple-free Fidesz FUD Factory to take over the country, sucking out its cash and resources while silencing all opposition by stealing their means of expression (the Internet being the latest potential victim) and corrupting their legal system (with the likes of GG) so as to keep smearing and suppressing critics on bogus charges.

    To call skill in this despicable truth-twisting FFF technique “intelligence” is — especially in Hungary — more a symptom of the success of the technique (divide the opposition and get them into the same defensive mind-state as the captives and the cronies) than an objective assessment of intellectual capacity…

  34. I fully agree with Stevan and Istvan (Hey, they essentially have the same name …) and just a remark on Istvan’s bleak picture of a new cold war which I still hope will not happen:

    Just as the last time Russia (and its allies/dependants/colonies – whatever you call them …) stand no chance of winning that war – with much lower productivity and ecology, even if they have some natural resources.

    Remember how the Communist Block at the end of the 80s was trying desperately to keep up with “The West”? Without success of course …

  35. I’m afraid I can’t agree with “Istvan” even though he is a namesake: He seems to still be fighting the wars he was a soldier in a few decades ago…

  36. Harnad proposed good ideas.
    Petofi may try to translate them inot a working model in the field.

  37. Sentrooppa Santra:

    I think all of us are asking the same questions as you here.

    While Orban’s fans are descreasing in numbers, I still have many relatives and a few friends who support him.

    Almost all of them are people who
    – don’t really understand politics, don’t understand the articles in newspapers, therefore don’t really follow what happens

    – have an oversimplified, emotional approach to political leadership: “I don’t care about politics but Orban seems like a decent hard-working man, I’m sure he knows what he is doing, Norway used to be so poor as well, look at them now, it will take time for Orban to make the country like that”

    – completely believe the propaganda about the enemy, the leftlibs, the nasty / misled Eu etc and enjoy their (irrelevant) hatred of Gyurcsany for example. Some will even say: “You were stealing for 40 years, now it’s our turn, so put up with it. (“You” here refers to anyone who opposes Orban = people who must therefore support the left or liberal parties.)

    – people who benefit from Orban’s policies, eg tax reductions, and that for them overrides the antidemocratic approach, they are usually able to discuss the problems in a civilized way.

    Most of my friends are against Orban, and the vast majority of them behave like rabbits in the headlights, frozen and paralyzed by the shock. Many (and I mean many!) tell me they would go mad if they cared, and wouldn’t be able to live their lives at all. A lot of them are hoping the West (EU/ US) will sanction and punish and eventually remove Orban.
    When I ask them whether they voted in April, they say they didn’t…

    The solution would be to educate and show people how they can activate themselves, engage in politics, discuss it, learn how to form their own opinions (not just emotions) and stand up for it, practise-practise, talk to people who disagree with you but “have a glass of wine afterwards with them” .

    Agnes Heller was passionatly arguing for somehing like this on ATV the other day, my quote is from her

    http://www.atv.hu/videok/video-20141024-heller-agnes-eb

  38. Eva, I’m actually quite worried that the US means when they say they can’t be Hungary’s ally if the tendencies are not reversed. While some Hungarians desperately want the EU to get fed up and remove Orban, now (after reelecting him) the country might find itself kicked out of EU / NATO instead. It’s not an immediate possibility, but it is a possibility, and might get Hungarians out of their politicial paralysis.

  39. Heartbroken seeing Hungary slip into the abyss again. A little levity to make it more bearable.

    Is Orban the one?

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