Principles first, choosing persons second

Today PM Orbán flew to the EU summit in Brussels and he gave a press conference.  He stressed that the questions of principles must come first before choosing persons for the various positions . (German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the summit that the latter type of decisions may not be brought today at all.)

Orbán insisted that taxation has to remain on the national level. Moreover he’d want to clarify  if EU is willing to let member states to regulate energy prices on the national level.  He added that it become a practice in the last five years that EU institutions, openly or covertly, reduced national powers and this has to be put to an end.

The member states are protecting their rights and if an imperial centre, like what Brussels is, want to breach them then that’ll generate conflicts.  New European politics doesn’t need more conflicts, it needs more consensus.

Answering a question,  he said the Hungarian government would nominate its EU commissioner when elected president Jean-Claude Juncker would officially request that. He added he had a discussion with Juncker prior to the summit. Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, Orbán said the sanctions against Russia must not proceed to the next (third) stage because that would not be in the interests of either Europe or Hungary.

The summit is mainly about haggling top jobs and that’s rarely a simple matter…  However the deepening crisis in Ukraine makes the choice of a successor to British EU Commissioner Catherine Ashton, as head of the European External Action Service,  an even more sensitive issue  than usual since the USA  has been pressing the  EU recently to toughen sanctions against Moscow.   The United States indicated yesterday they could go alone with increasing the severity of the sanctions against Russia.  Poland and  Baltic countries want a tough stance against Russia but Italy and Germany, which have major economic ties with Russia, are reluctant.  So is Hungary.

 

Anyway, it sounds like Orbán is in combative mood… 🙂  Go, Viki, go!

 

Update:

Eastern EU countries were the main reason for the blockage. They argued that no decision could be taken on the two senior positions before they knew what portfolios would be assigned to “their” national commissioners.

Only the anti-Russia sanctions were extended somewhat  Another extraordinary summit will be held on the 30th of August.

 

 

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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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First PM visit in Warsaw again

Having President Áder asked PM Orbán formally to form his new government this morning, Mr. Orbán left for his first visit abroad. Just like in 2010, when Fidesz won another landslide victory, his first prime ministerial visit was paid to Poland again.

“The next Hungarian government will also be deeply committed towards the historic Polish-Hungarian friendship” and “as in the last four years, the new Hungarian government wants to focus on Central Europe in its foreign policies”, Orbán said. He also thanked Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk the support Hungary has received from Poland since 2010.

First visit in Warsaw again

The Polish prime minister also emphasized the importance of the traditional Polish-Hungarian friendship and the fact Mr. Orbán visited Poland first. He also praised the Visegrad Four cooperation and Hungary’s presidency of the V4 which is ending at the end of June.  Concerning the recent election results in Hungary, he noted that “Hungarians appreciated the values the party alliance led by PM Orbán represent”.

The “energy union”, proposed by PM Tusk and fully backed by PM Orbán, was the most important topic of the talks. This means that at least the V4 countries would fully integrate their energy supply systems (gas and electricity networks) and they would strive to achieve “energy independence”, for example getting rid of a complete dependence on Russian natural gas.
The prime ministers have briefly discussed the Ukrainian situation, too, and they noted the Hungarian and Polish views and interests are similar: both countries are neighbouring to Ukraine and Hungarian and Polish ethnic minorities live in Ukraine.

All I can say  (in Polish) is

Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki,
i do szabli, i do szklanki,

Please read this Wikipedia article for more details.

 

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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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Orbán on Hungary’s interests

Applying economic sanctions against Russia is not in Europe’s interests and especially not in the interests of Hungary.

said Prime Minister Orbán in an interview given to a Hungarian business newspaper.

One of the gas storage facilities Hungary bought back from EON

Answering a question about the possible role of US shale gas in supplying Europe, he also added

It’s in the best interests of Hungary to be able to buy natural gas whoever she wants to buy from. We have been able to buy only Russian gas so far even if that gas came from Austria.  As of this Thursday, we have access to Northern European gas, too, since Hungary has been connected to  Slovakia’s gas pipelines.  This is the very first time in history that if we don’t want to buy Russian gas for economic or other reasons then we can do so. This is an important step in the direction of achieving energy independence.  Our goal is clear: we have bought  the gas storage facilities to this end, too.  (Note: These facilities were sold in 2006 by the “left liberal” Gyurcsány government to the Germany multinational company EON.)

 

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Veto avoided

Hungary wouldn’t have signed the political part of Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU if  Ukraine had scrapped its language law indeed which allows the national minorities to use their mother tongue

said PM Orbán today on a press conference held about the EU summit on Ukraine held in Brussels yesterday and today.

He also said that “suspending Russia’s contract for the upgrade of Hungary’s nuclear power station in Paks has not  been mentioned at the summit  and it’s not going to be mentioned at all.”

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New borders in Europe?

Nobody should seek to draw new borders on the map of Europe in the 21st century.

NATO General Secretary and Chief Hypocrite Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview given to a German newspaper.  (“Auf der Karte Europas im 21. Jahrhundert sollte niemand versuchen, neue Grenzen zu ziehen.”)

Apparently if  that nobody is NATO (USA) then you may still create a new country (Kosovo) from an existing one (Serbia), even with bombs.

Let me translate from Rasmussenian into Latin instead of “plain English”: Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi.

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European values

“more than 100 people [have] already died for these values in Europe, in Ukraine [wanting] to follow the values of Europe.”

“”I think we have debt, a duty of solidarity with that country, and we will work to have them as close as possible to us,” Barroso said. “We have decided also, immediately to sign — because it was requested by the prime minister of Ukraine [Arseniy Yatsenyuk] — sign the political chapters of the Association Agreement. Which means that Ukraine will seal its association with the European Union.”

said  European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

And who requested the shooting of more than 100 people in defence of those European values?  A recently leaked phone call may give the answer to this crucial question:

Estonian Foreign Minister  Urmas Paet: “All the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides. … Some photos that showed it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it is really disturbing that now the new coalition they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. So there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”

EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Catherine Ashton: “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.”

Paet: “It already discreditates (sic) this new coalition.”

And Barroso’s announcement, that is the European Union offering such support to the new Ukrainian government without first clarifying who shot 100+ people, bring discredit up to the European Union.

He also said the only goal of EU is “peace and stability”.   Okay because Ukraine is crumbling and tumbling.   However Hungary should stay out of this financial support unless the Ukrainians commit themselves to giving autonomy for the ethnic Hungarians living in Kárpátalja.  And let’s see an independent investigation into these “European values”:  whose payroll the killers were on?

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A woman of integrity

… who speaks her mind. And who  expressed my opinion, too.

Abby Martin: First I get called a “Russian propagandist” for toeing the RT line, now I am getting vitriol from people claiming I “sold out” to Western imperialism because I voiced an opinion that I believe in. I am against military intervention. Period. And no, I am not going to Crimea.

A FaceBook User:  I agree with what Abby said last night but Abby? What you need to Understand is this. Our nation (USA) Has been conducting covert Military operation all around the world overthrowing Governments since 1953. overthrowing Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala and Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran in 1953. We had the Korean War, Vietnam War, Sponsored a coup in 1973 overthrowing Allende in Chile,Sponsoring the Dirty War in Argentina and the latest inside Syria and how the Palestinians are raped and pillaged by Israel. We can go on and on and on. What you said last night was noble and I commend you for that. But what you need to also understand that USA is the aggressor here and Russia whether you agree with it or not. Has to protect it’s own vital interest. I’m Sorry but I’m not a pacifist and most people do reserve the right to defend themselves against a NEO NAZI Fascist Putch Regime that has taken over Ukraine. Also Russia will not Tolerate a NATO outpost at its Door step. It’s USA that has over 200 bases all around the world surrounding China, Iran and Russia. OK?

Abby Martin: Yes  and what you clearly don’t understand is I speak up against the US on the daily on this show about its military takeover of the planet. It’s called consistency.

She made worldwide news with this:

I wondered if CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC  etc. had cut her offline after the very first sentence in such a case…

What occurred to me when I listened Ms. Martin was this:

was there even a single U.S. television host who said anything comparable to this in the lead-up to, or the early stages of, the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

Apparently the answer is that there were two journalists Phil Donahue from MSNBC and Peter Arnett from NBC who did something similar.  Both were fired from their jobs.

In contrast RT management said later Ms. Martin would not be reprimanded.

PS:  I explained the relevance of this post on my blog here.

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Reheated Cold War with Hungarian hostages

There’s a deep political crisis going on in Hungary’s neighbourhood.  This obviously affects Hungary in a number of ways  but there’s an aggravating factor.  There are ethnic Hungarians living in Kárpátalja (Transcarpathia), a region which belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary from its founding in AD 1000 until the Trianon Dictat in 1920.  Like Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende put it, “The life of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia is the most important measuring device for Hungarian-Ukraine relations.”   Or, using Prime Minister Orbán’s words, “the most important thing for Hungary in the Ukrainian crisis is the safety of Hungarians both in Hungary and in Kárpátalja. This is the standpoint from where we regard each and every event”.  This is  why I’m going to make a couple of posts on the Ukrainian situation.

Ukraine‘s new government,  “glued together” by spin doctors like US State Secretary Viktoria Nuland, is now headed by a Jew,  Arseniy Yatsenyuk , who pledges to  execute tough IMF austerity measures (it’s worth reading this article in Forbes!), and  six major cabinet ministers in Yatsenyuk’s government come from the party  Svoboda.  Svoboda is the successor to the  Social-National Party of Ukraine  which is a reference to National Socialism .

One of the Nuland-approved ministers is Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda.  I wonder when he, using his own words, will start “fighting against the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who want to take away our Ukrainian state”…

And this leaked phone conversation between Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet    and   High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton confirms the rumours that the snipers, who killed both protesters and officers of the riot police in Kiev, were employed by the leaders of the Maidan “revolution”.  Catherine Ashton really doesn’t appear to be particularly taken aback and her office declined to comment “on alleged phone conversations”. On the other hand the Estonian Foreign Minister has admitted  the conversation is authentic.

Kárpátalja is in Western Ukraine where anti-Russian sentiments are manifested like shown in this Russian-made TV programme.  Well, the Western press hardly reports on this side of the unfolding story…

Last week  Russia  invaded Crimea.  The  peninsula in the Black Sea, which was given to Ukraine in 1954 “as a symbolic gesture”, is of strategic importance to Russia.  Russia has intervened under the pretext of  “protecting the Russian minority”. Incidentally the very first thing the new Ukrainian administration did was making the Ukrainian language exclusive and scrapping the language rights of Russians, together with Hungarians’.  No doubt the Russian invasion is a breach of international law.  However the Russians are doing only what the US has done quite a few times, for example with the occupation of Iraq.  Grenada’s invasion in 1983 was condemned by the United Nations General Assembly as “a flagrant violation of international law” by a vote of 108 in favour to 9, with 27 abstention.   Maybe the Russians  should search for WMDs in Crimea to pour oil on US troubled waters. 😉

Hungary is an EU and NATO member.    However the protection of the Hungarian community in Kárpátalja  depends very much  on Russia’s policies.  It’s a very delicate path Hungary must tread indeed.

To be continued…

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