Obama proudly meddles in Hungarian domestic politics again

Today’s news is that President Obama said at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC that

 

when a statue of an anti-Semitic leader from World War II was planned in Hungary, we led the charge to convince their government to reverse course.  This was not a side note to our relations with Hungary, this was central to maintaining a good relationship with the United States, and we let them know.

Yes, the president of mighty 320 million-strong superpower USA has boasted that he personally arm-twisted the prime minister of a small 10 million-strong Central European country so that a rural Hungarian city of 100,000 people shouldn’t erect a statue for a most eminent Hungarian historian and numismatics expert who was also a minister during WWII and who co-signed some anti-Jewish document with other legislators.  No, the statue wasn’t a Hungarian government project but it was Prime Minister Viktor Orbán whom President Obama proudly arm-twisted so that he should pressurize the self-government of Székesfehérvár in order to cancel the plans for the statue.  Yes, Obama has won.

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Bálint Hóman, an eminent Hungarian historian and a Minister of Education and Culture during WWII

 

This is the world we live in. It’s pretty much like in the days of the Soviet Union.

 

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The Legacy of Totalitarianism Today

The View East

Last week I spent a few days in Prague, where I was attending an International Conference ‘The Legacy of Totalitarianism Today’ (Dědictví Totality Dnes). The conference was organised by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience in association with several of their partner organisations, and hosted by the Senate of the Czech Parliament. In addition to two full days of conference presentations and discussion, two linked film showings were offered at European House (Evropský dům): Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn (2007) and a special screening of The Soviet Story (2008) followed by a great Q and A session with Director Edvīns Šnore. You can read more about The Soviet Story (and order copies!) at the official website here.

It's always nice to have a reason to visit beautiful Prague! Photo ©‎ Kelly Hignett. It’s always nice to have a reason to visit beautiful Prague! Photo ©‎ Kelly Hignett.

A particular highlight for me was the invitation to attend the presentation of the…

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Hungary’s economic boom vs credit rating agencies and the Economist

Hungary’s central bank has published the latest trade balance figures today. The trade balance surplus was  984 million Euros in the first quarter of 2014 and that’s more than double what it was a year earlier (463 millions).  There is a very significant increase compared to the last quarter of 2013, too (710 million Euros).

Hungary’s GDP growth was a “big surprise on the upside” again in the first quarter of 2014:  3.5%.  Foreign investments increased, too.  The inflation is zero so the central bank could safely cut   Hungary’s base rate to a new low of 2.3% today.

 

The CDS is the price of insurance against a particular country’s defaulting and it measures the risk of investors.  The higher it is, the higher the default risk is.  Let’s have a look at the CDS pricing of Hungary’s mid-term (10 year) government bonds. The CDS has reached pre-crisis levels.

 

CDS of 10-year Hungarian government bonds

 

In principle the big credit rating agencies rate the government bonds using such criteria as above. In reality they all rate the Hungarian government bonds in the “junk” category now and they all rated Hungary’s government bonds as “investment grade” in 2009… when the postcommunist MSZPSZDSZ coalition was busy ruining our economy… in the “orthodox way”, that is following orders coupled to the huge, 25 billion Euro loan they took out from the EU and IMF .

Yup, Hungary’s bonds were of “investment grade” when the CDS pricing was record high in 2009 and they became “junk” in 2011-2012 when the “unorthodox policies”, which seem to deliver big results by now, were implemented.

The downgrade of Hungary’s ratings reflects further deterioration in the country’s fiscal and external financing environment and growth outlook, caused in part by further unorthodox economic policies, which are undermining investor confidence and complicating the agreement of a new IMF/EU deal

Fitch wrote then.  Two years later Hungary’s GDP growth is one of the highest in Europe.

And what does The Economist  write about Hungary?  Well, only the usual libnazi bullsh*t  about Hungary’s role in the Holocaust and some more politically motivated drivel.   Yes, just check it out yourself with a search for the past month.  That’s about all those Economists have to say.

 

 

Orbán and Horthy

Orban is a rare political leader in Europe. He is quite popular, but he is in a balancing act. To his left are the Europeanists, who see all his actions as a repudiation of liberal democracy. On the right is a fascist party that won 20 percent in the last election. Between these two forces, Hungary could tear itself apart. It is in precisely this situation that Weimar Germany failed. Caught between left and right, the center was too weak to hold. Orban is trying to do what Horthy did: strengthen his power over the state and the state’s power over society. He is attacked from the left for violating the principles of liberal democracy and Europe. He is attacked from the right for remaining a tool of the European Union and the Jews. The left believes he is secretly of the right and his protestations are simply a cover. The right believes he is secretly a Europeanist and that his protestations are simply a cover.

Now we add to this the fact that Hungary must make decisions concerning Ukraine. Orban knows that Hungary is not in a position to make decisions by itself. He has therefore made a range of statements, including condemning Russia, opposing sanctions and proposing that the Ukrainian region directly east of Hungary, and once Hungarian, be granted more autonomy. In the end, these statements are unimportant. They do not affect the international system but allow him to balance a bit.

Orban knows what Horthy did as well. Hungary, going up against both Germany and Russia, needs to be very subtle. Hungary is already facing Germany’s policy toward liberal integration within the European Union, which fundamentally contradicts Hungary’s concept of an independent state economy. Hungary is already facing Germany’s policies that undermine Hungary’s economic and social well-being. Orban’s strategy is to create an economy with maximum distance from Europe without breaking with it, and one in which the state exerts its power. This is not what the Germans want to see.

Now, Hungary is also facing a Germany that is not in a position to support Hungary against Russia. He is potentially facing a Russia that will return to Hungary’s eastern border. He is also faced with a growing domestic right wing and a declining but vocal left. It is much like Horthy’s problem. Domestically, he has strong support and powerful institutions. He can exercise power domestically. But Hungary has only 9 million people, and external forces can easily overwhelm it. His room for maneuvering is limited.

I think Orban anticipated this as he saw the European Union flounder earlier in the decade. He saw the fragmentation and the rise of bitterness on all sides. He constructed a regime that appalled the left, which thought that without Orban, it would all return to the way it was before, rather than realizing that it might open the door to the further right. He constructed a regime that would limit the right’s sense of exclusion without giving it real power.

Russia’s re-emergence followed from this. Here, Orban has no neat solution. Even if Hungary were to join a Polish-Romanian alliance, he would have no confidence that this could block Russian power. For that to happen, a major power must lend its support. With Germany out of the game, that leaves the United States. But if the United States enters the fray, it will not happen soon, and it will be even later before its role is decisive. Therefore he must be flexible. And the more international flexibility he must show, the more internal pressures there will be.

For Horthy, the international pressure finally overwhelmed him, and the German occupation led to a catastrophe that unleashed the right, devastated the Jews and led to a Russian invasion and occupation that lasted half a century. But how many lives did Horthy save by collaborating with Germany? He bought time, if nothing else.

Hungarian history is marked by heroic disasters. The liberal revolutions that failed across Europe in 1848 and failed in Hungary in 1956 were glorious and pointless. Horthy was unwilling to make pointless gestures. The international situation at the moment is far from defined, and the threat to Hungary is unclear, but Orban clearly has no desire to make heroic gestures. Internally he is increasing his power constantly, and that gives him freedom to act internationally. But the one thing he will not grant is clarity. Clarity ties you down, and Hungary has learned to keep its options open.

Orban isn’t Horthy by any means, but their situations are similar. Hungary is a country of enormous cultivation and fury. It is surrounded by disappointments that can become dangers. Europe is not what it promised it would be. Russia is not what Europeans expected it to be. Within and without the country, the best Orban can do is balance, and those who balance survive but are frequently reviled. What Hungary could be in 2005 is not the Hungary it can be today. Any Hungarian leader who wished to avoid disaster would have to face this. Indeed, Europeans across the continent are facing the fact that the world they expected to live in is gone and what has replaced it, inside and outside of their countries, is different and dangerous.

by George Friedman, the Chairman of Stratfor.  The full article can be read here.

 

I don’t agree with everything Friedman writes but certainly it’s a very interesting analysis on Hungary’s situation.

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Hungarian Holocaust today

 

It really reminds me of the events 70 years ago, the Holocaust, that police are removing Jews by force

said ex-MSZP minister Tamás Suchman, a vice-chairman of Mazsihisz (Alliance of Hungarian Jewish Faith Communes) yesterday.

A horrible scene from the new Holocaust happening in Hungary these days

After several weeks of watching idly that left-liberal/Jewish protesters dismantle the scaffolds of a construction site in the centre of Budapest each day,  yesterday the Hungarian police took action at last.   The newly re-elected Orbán government plans to erect a monument commemorating all victims of Hungary’s 1944 German occupation.  Note the keyword “all”.  It’s really time they made up their mind if  they want to be discriminated as Jews or not… Besides this word, another big problem the protesters have is that the monument uses  explicitly Christian symbolism (an angel)

 

The police officers called on the protesters to leave the site in Szabadság square and they cited the relevant sections of the law  and  a municipal decree issued on Monday to ensure protection to the construction site .  When  a group of 23 protesters refused to leave,  the police carried them out of the site one by one.  They were not arrested but they will have to appear in court.

 

Imre Mécs, a former liberal then Socialist lawmaker blamed the police for not refusing to take “a measure violating human rights”. He also insisted that “the police must not act against democracy” and he said that the protesters would appeal to the European Court of Justice.

Let us remember that he forgot to make such an appeal anywhere when  police thugs of his MSZP-SZDSZ (Socialist-left-liberal) government committed lots of atrocities against protesters in 2006 like this:

 

Note the illegal, and possibly lethal, expandable metal batons the police used in 2006

 

Today’s news is that Prime Minister Orbán has  answered an open letter concerning this new monument.  He wrote that Germany is responsible for the military occupation of Hungary and also for what happened after the 19th of March, 1944.  However the question of Hungary’s responsibility may be raised concerning that no resistence fight was started, Hungary did not stand up against the occupiers actively and there were too many collaborators.   “we have repented our sins, we have paid damages even though what happened cannot be undone.  On the other hand we cannot take responsibility for what is not due to us.  There wouldn’t have been deportations without the German occupation and no cattle wagons would have left Hungary (for Auswitz),  hundreds of thousands of lives wouldn’t have been lost.  It’s difficult to imagine there could be an honest, trustful co-existence in the future without seeing reason in these questions.”, PM Orbán added.

Update (concerning if Archangel Gabriel belongs to  Jewish or Christian symbolism):

Hősök tere-855

On the highest point of Heroes Square, Archangel Gabriel offers the Holy Crown of Hungary to God in founding king St. Stephen’s dream

hogy őt a 70 évvel ezelőtt történtekre, a holokausztra emlékezteti a mostani rendőri intézkedés, az, hogy zsidókat távolítanak el egy helyről rendőri erőszakkal. – See more at: http://magyarhirlap.hu/rendorok-vittek-el-a-demonstralokat-a-szabadsag-terrol#sthash.rRhUpZ3O.dpuf
hogy őt a 70 évvel ezelőtt történtekre, a holokausztra emlékezteti a mostani rendőri intézkedés, az, hogy zsidókat távolítanak el egy helyről rendőri erőszakkal. – See more at: http://magyarhirlap.hu/rendorok-vittek-el-a-demonstralokat-a-szabadsag-terrol#sthash.rRhUpZ3O.dpu
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No congratulation from a non-democracy

The so-called leftist (postcommunist), left-liberal media has been discussing (well the best word is really “voluptuously”) that President Obama did not congratulate Prime Minister Orbán for his recent re-election in  the second landslide electoral victory of Fidesz.  Obama joined the leaders of the five-party postcommunist coalition “Kormányváltók” (Government Changers) in their political indecency  who defiantly refused to offer the basic political courtesy of congratulating Mr. Orbán for his re-election (and acknowledging the will of the Hungarian people this way).   That’s something unprecedented even in the history of Hungary’s political cold war which has been going on since 1990.  (Well,  to tell the truth,  Vice President Joe Biden finally called Orbán on Saturday, and besides discussing the Ukrainian situation, he allegedly also congratulated PM Orbán).

Last week the US Embassy in Budapest issued a statement and  intervened in Hungary’s internal affairs this way:

As a fellow democracy, we continue to urge the government to seek an honest, open, and factual assessment of the Holocaust in Hungary

They made this statement because a few  dozens of  left-liberal/Jewish demonstrators had been dismantling the scaffolds, on a daily basis, for a monument which is meant to commemorate all the victims of Hungary’s military occupation by Nazi Germany in 1944.  (And the only thing the police did was recording the events!)

 

 

Hysterical demonstrators repeatedly dismantling the scaffolds for a monument which aims to commemorate all the victims of Hungary’s military occupation by Nazi Germany

 

All right,I think the explanation for the statement can be  found quite easily on this page which describes the biography of  the  US EmbassyChargé d’Affaires, a.i”:

Mr. Goodfriend was born in California and raised in Arizona.  After receiving Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Classical Greek, French and Radio-Television from the University of Arizona, he completed Master’s studies in Communication at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, followed by doctoral research in London on governmental use of new media.
Mr. Goodfriend has studied Hungarian, Hebrew, French, Russian, Greek (classical and modern), Spanish, Hindi, Arabic and Yiddish.

However let’s focus only on the phrase “fellow democracy” in the statement Mr. Goodfriend produced.

Let me ask the question if the USA is a “fellow democracy” indeed?  I think, at least together with the 45% of active voters who voted Fidesz, that Hungary is a democracy.   It’s evident that Obama did not congratulate Orbán because the global media attacks labelling Hungary “the EU’s only dictatorship” have been successful enough so he might disagree with us.   We can live with that.

So let’s put the question of Hungary’s being a democracy or dictatorship, or the question of the US being our fellow or not, aside for now and let’s pose the question if the US itself is a democracy.  Well, it’s an old triteness that “the US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.”    It’s really more interesting when this statement  is actually proven by top US university  professors:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

What this means in plain English is that “the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.”  Is that called a democracy?  Nope, not really.  That’s called an oligarchy.   FYI Ukraine and Russia are also oligarchies.

 

 

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Holocaust day

Oh, well, today it’s a Holocaust remembrance day.  There’s so much talk about this genocide  (see http://holocaustmemorialyear2014.gov.hu/ ) that actually I’m wondering which day isn’t a Holocaust remembrance day this year…

Politicians seems to compete hard who is capable of saying the most bizarre and bombastic thing.

Zoltán Pokorni, a Fidesz leader who belongs to the “liberal” wing of the centre-of-right party  Fidesz I support,  bent over backwards, too, to say something “big” and he managed to utter that

The Holocaust is our cause because the killers and the victims were Hungarians, too.

 

Using his logic, he might have said equally that “the Holocaust is our cause because the killers and the victims were Jews, too”.  (For the sake of this parallel logic argument let’s disregard for a moment that the killers were Germans.) But let’s analyze this sentence a bit more…

Everybody knows that the term “Holocaust” means a particular 20th century genocide committed by Nazi Germans against Jews in Europe.  So if the victims were Hungarians, and not Jews, then perhaps we shouldn’t talk about “Holocaust” at all, should we?

It’s a well-known historical fact that there were no death camps in Hungary. It’s also well-known that neither the Hungarian authorities or the Jewish victims themselves, including the members of the “Jewish Council”,  knew when the deportations  started, and one must stress that happened  only after Hungary’s occupation on the 19th of March, 1944 that the physical extermination of the deported ones was the  goal of the Nazi.

It’s really high time to stop trying to shift blame from Nazi Germany  to Hungary .  For the record,  the Holocaust was planned and carried out by Nazi Germany. Hungary did ally herself with Nazi Germany in the hopes of regaining the lost territories in the Dictat of Trianon, but in contrast with other countries allied with Nazi Germany,  the deportation of Jews from Hungary started only after Nazi Germany occupied Hungary militarily.  In fact it was the foot-dragging policies of Governor Horthy which made it possible to avoid Hungary’s military invasion by Nazi Germany already at the beginning of World War Two, that is several years earlier than the March of 1944.  That would have meant, of course, the complete annihilation of all Jews in Hungary, just like it happened in Poland.   After the Hungarian authorities learned what was happening in Auswitz  from the Auschwitz Protocols , Governor Horthy personally gave the order to stop the deportations on the 8th of July, 1944 and this order was carried out by Colonel Ferenc Koszorús and his brave  troops.  This event is commemorated on a plaque in Dohány utca in Budapest where you can visit the largest synagogue in Europe.

In memory of Col. Ferenc Koszorús and his brave soldiers who prevented the deportation of the Budapest Jewry on the 5th and 6th of July, 1944.

 

In fact the Jewry in Budapest, which is one of the largest in Europe, should be very thankful indeed to Governor Horthy.  Instead they keep besmirching him, and Hungarians, too, day and night.

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Hungary’s Example

A pleasant dissonance in the present wave of anti-Jewish discrimination in various parts of Central and Eastern Europe is the call issued yesterday by the Hungarian government party, inviting the Jews of Hungary to submit to the government any complaints which they may have.

How long is it since Hungary was listed among the anti-Semitic countries of Europe? How long since Hungary was the first country officially to introduce a numerus clausus for Jewish students? How long is it since Jew-baiting speeches were delivered from the platform of the Hungarian parliament by leading members of the Cabinet?

The Hungary of today is the first country in Europe with the courage to abandon official anti-Semitism after realizing that it is a menace to the nation. The call issued yesterday by the government party, inviting Jewish complaints, is only another proof that the present regime in Hungary does not regret the change in its policy with regard to the Jews. Could not Hungary’s experience serve as an example to other European nations?

Miklós Horthy, Emlékirataim.

Miklós Horthy, Regent of Hungary  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s a contemporary Jewish opinion article about the allegedly sooooooo anti-Semitic Horthy-era of Hungary.

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Canada grants asylum to anti-Hungarian Jewish writer

Canada granted political asylum to writer Ákos Kertész. ( Ákos Kertész is not to be mixed with  writer Imre Kertész. The latter Kertész got a literary Nobel prize for his Holocaust piece “Sorstalanság”/Fatelessness,  while the former Kertész got “only” the highest award of Hungary, that is the Kossuth Prize).

So Ákos Kertész will never return to Hungary and “good riddance!” is really the best response I can think of.  But then let’s see whom Canada rewarded in such a way and what  message this sends to Hungary and Hungarians.

Kertész wrote this verbatim in the US weekly Amerikai Népszava on the 29th August 29, 2011:  “Hungarians are genetically subservient”. He also claimed that “now only the Hungarians can be blamed for the Holocaust as the Hungarian nation remained the only one which, unlike the Germans, had failed to admit, confess and repent for their sins”. He also likened Hungarians to pigs who “like to wallow in the mud, happily grunting and guzzling swill, without worrying about the butcher who will soon slit their throats.”

Kertész was  repeatedly called on  to apologize for a long time but he defied all these requests.  There was a lengthy debate on the so-called Left how Kertész  could possibly mean “genetically subservient” in a non-racist way, the semantics of the word “genetically”,  how this could be interpreted in some other way than what it means and why Hungarians are genetically subservient indeed just like Kertész put it, etc.  Though many of his “left-wing” comrades stood by Kertész, as one could really expect them to, still  some of them, e.g. Ákos Mesterházy, the editor-in-chief of far-left-(liberal) weekly 168 Óra,  also said straight away this statement of Kertész  simply cannot be defended, “the writing is ghastly” and  Kertész had  better  apologize.

In the end, after several weeks of heated  discussions, Kertész eventually issued  a statement: “Correctly there doesn’t exist such a sentence (that Hungarians are genetically subservient)”.  Yes,  this is what he considered as an apology.   However Hungarians didn’t think so.  The Budapest City Council  stripped Kertész of his honorary Budapest citizenship a few months later.  There were also demands to strip him of the Kossuth Prize but unfortunately this did not happen.    I guess it’s not a big surprise that the international media echoed  Kertész : “ they launched a witch hunt against me and they fuel the extremists” and that “I’ve been subject to constant harassment and threats; I was attacked in the street and my life was in jeopardy.”   Soon Kertész left for Canada and he applied for political asylum.

After this decision of the Canadian authorities, the issue is not the rabid anti-Hungarian stance of some Jewish writer and his cohorts.  The issue is that Canada condones this.

Now I do wonder how the Canadians would take that if a notable, decorated Canadian writer wrote, say, “Canadians are genetically inferior” and then if he insisted on that.  Would  they get upset at him?  If yes then what would Canadians think in the hypothetical case this writer would flee to Hungary and then  Hungary would grant political asylum to him?

UPDATE:

Canada has not confirmed yet since last week if they provided asylum to Kertesz indeed.    “We are not going to summon Canada’s ambassador merely based on the words of Ákos Kertész”, Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gábor Kalota said.

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