Grassroots Commentary

Smears Stick

George Handlery · Dec. 8, 2014

Defamation is complete when its pretentions can serve as its proof.

Some countries, parties, and leaders are anathema to our opinion makers. Not everybody nominated as “Berserk Monster” is innocent; some of the pilloried are. America should know about “war by blame” as the “Tea Party country” is credited with global evil. The category of impostors is shared with Israel, Switzerland, and Hungary. Capitalism, the Britons (Farrague) are also Hall of Shame inductees.

The case of Hungary and Premier Orbán is sufficiently remote to lend a perspective for an evaluation that might contradict standardized opinions. To correct the main-line media, the “accused” will be allowed to present his case here.

Before the shortened translation of an address (14/11/14) to the American Hungarian Chamber of Commerce, the charges need to be summarized. After his third election with a 2/3 majority, Orbán is cursed as the vote proves populism. He is also a right-wing chauvinist. Actually, his locally effective opposition is not located on his left but on his right. So, why remains the defunct left a challenge? It is because the liberal network, the White House and the press abroad is exploited by it as amplifiers. The echo effect makes the indigenous lefts remnants strong through the European Union. Furthermore, the PM suppresses the media – even if this writer consults three opposition dailies that lose readers. Orbán is also a Hobbit clone of Putin, and an anti-democrat. To top it all, he had said that, as practiced, the liberal system has failed and so it must be replaced by a work-based order.

Embarrassingly for leftists that try to overthrow Orbán with leverage borrowed abroad, with the mandate to overcome socialism, the man is successful. The debt created by the left shrank below 80% of GDP. The budget deficit is, unlike in most EU countries below the mandated – and ignored – 3%. GDP went north, unemployment moved south from 12% to 7%. A proposed internet tax proved to be a failure. It provoked protest and was withdrawn. Orbán explained, “We are not communists; we do not do what the people does not want”. This was written up as a major defeat and the bit about communists received the silent treatment.

“Welcome here in Parliament which is, due to the ambition of its builders, two feet larger than Westminster. This is symbolic that Hungary has created more history than it could digest.

"My career has brought surprises and problems. The moment’s challenge is that we need a solution for the crisis of the Euro zone and must negotiate a free trade agreement between the EU and the USA. Ten years ago, when Hungary joined, the continent was euphoric. I recall, even if one is not to mention it any more that we asserted that by 2010 the EU would be the world’s most advanced region. Today we discuss how to arrest the contraction of Europe’s share in the world economy. We in politics and economics share a responsibility. Our actions influence the lives of thousands and that makes our work meaningful. In neither realm may leaders get set in their ways; the challenges we face have the benefit that they keep our minds alert. For this reason, since 2008, we feel that life’s tempo accelerates.

The unexpected moves the world. For the last quarter century, there has not been as much realignment of relations as today. It is as though we would steer a race car and notice that something is awry. We know that we have to fix the defect while we drive because the race will not be stopped to accommodate any participant. Additionally, our attention tends to be absorbed by daily politics so that we overlook the paramount trends that demand attention.

In this light, it is clear that there can be disputes between the US government and Hungary. However, in reality, we are talking about political allies. There can be ideological disputes about what is progressive and what is not. Nevertheless, an alliance in politics, a partnership in economics, and mutual respect for our cultures exists. This is the gist of American-Hungarian relations.

This friendship does not come from declarations for it is the product of intertwined fates. Some of this relationship is to be attributed to geniuses that have left their imprint upon American life. Here one thinks of Leo Szilárd, Ed Teller, John Newman, Eugene Wigner, Albert Szentgyörgyi, and Theodore Kármán. Both nations can be proud of them. I have recently heard that sixty-five thousand millionaires of Magyar origins live in America. Our amity has helped us to advance on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration. We keep this tradition in mind when we make Hungary a contributing member of that community.

Mentioning American exceptionalism can shock Europeans. Here we think that it is natural that nations see themselves as exceptional. In our case, we have a language that no other people speaks and we are surrounded by related neighbors and have no kin ourselves. So, it is a mark of uniqueness that we have survived for 1100 years. It is an indication of standing out when, across the ocean, a unique democracy is created and maintained for centuries. So is to grow from thirteen British colonies into a global power a veritably singular achievement.

We are aware of the differences of our dimensions and yet, we find striking the similarity of the core. It is about being convinced that there is something about us that transcends the present and that there are things only our nation can give to mankind. We believe in enterprising free individuals, and know that such groups, composed of free people are the foundation of successful nations, and that only they can create a strong community. We trust the individual who fends for himself, who does not depend on others, the one that is steadied by his faith in God with which the Declaration of Independence concludes and our new Fundamental Law begins.

Striking is the similarity with which our peoples view the future. Many look at the future in a way that differs from the American and our way. Frequently, we find a notion that makes the future into a threat. But there are those that know that the future is beguiling because we can determine its shape.

All this can be translated into the economy’s grey numbers. Next year the most extensive program of development in our country’s history will commence. Every dwelling will have broadband internet. Our highways are to extend to our borders and connect our cities. We shall reduce the costs of bureaucracy that burdens society. By 2018, we aim at full employment so that we need to create new jobs. According to our principle, "something for something” instead of “welfare,” we wish to give work to those that want to work. Thus, we must construct Europe’s most flexible and qualitatively outstanding supply of workers. We will also continue to modernize our system of taxation. You should know that here performance, and the wealth it generates, is not punished but rewarded. That is why we have a unitary tax and do not have an inheritance tax. The numbers we generate support the correctness of our philosophy.

We see that, even if Europe stagnates, central Europe progresses. Yet, there are those that endeavor to do no more than to hold on to what they have achieved and, therefore, they dread change. Our history has taught us that one needs to adapt and to reinvent oneself. For that reason, the great innovations, the new structural solutions and the broadening of business opportunities will emerge in this region.

If we think about the future, no valid result seems possible without discerning geopolitical shifts. China progresses, America keeps her space. Japan perseveres, and India, enters the majors. We can only stop the slide of Europe if we activate the now moribund European projects. After the monetary union, the fiscal union is to be set up. If we unify the market and guarantee the free movement of people, then we shall be enabled to participate in the nascent new industrial revolution.

Hungary has a clear view regarding the chances imbedded in the unfolding global changes. I have been born and raised during the cold war, which made me a prisoner of the past’s cold peace. No one here wishes to return to that era because we wish for the respect for international law, peace, cooperation and its derivate, economic prosperity. We do not wish to end our lives the way they have begun. Thus, we do not want European peace and growth to shrink to an intermezzo between two cold wars. A key to a stable Europe is the transatlantic alliance and the military cooperation between the United States and us.

Your investments here have been significant. Nevertheless, we view your firms as fulfilling beyond profits, jobs and investments, an even higher mission. We see in you Euro-American, respectively Hungarian-American strategic cooperation in action. Therefore, we thank you for being here, and we thank you for having been here for 25 years.

* * *

Postscripts are often about secondary topics. Not in this case. While developing this piece, an occurrence took place that relates to the primary issue raised in the introduction. Alas, it confirms that even the best of us can perceive a parroted absurdity as a reality. Thereby the matter is significant and tells much about poisonous fibs we are told to believe. Since the case involves your correspondent’s presidential candidate, there is disappointment. If the allegation below would be true, there would be anger directed at those responsible. However, since the accusation you are about to hear is a smear that flies on auto-pilot, there is, given the source, shock and sadness.

It all happened on the 2nd of December in Washington. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee deliberated the confirmation of politically inspired, in terms of qualifications dubious, ambassadors. The key personae are the ranking Republican and Ms Colleen Bell, America’s to-be representative in Budapest.

Quite properly, Sen. McCain emphasized the impropriety of sending Ms. Bell to Budapest. She lacked knowledge about Hungary and has earlier demonstrated no interest in foreign affairs but gender issues and getting Hollywood money for BHO.

As he continued, the lightning struck. “We’re about to vote on a totally unqualified individual to be ambassador to a nation which is very important to our security interests,” he said. “I am not against political appointees… I understand how the game is played, but Hungary is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator, getting in bed with Vladimir Putin, and we’re going to send the producer of ‘The Bold and The Beautiful’ as the ambassador”. Then, McCain assured the world that Orbán does not share the values of the EU and the Atlantic Alliance and that he violates democratic principles.

Finally, a consoling note to explain why someone believes what he hears and not what could be seen. Most of what the Senator said might come from staffers sent to research an unimportant country. True to the merits of a boondocks-case, a few articles were consulted. These reflected the input of persons the assistants would not have trusted had they know about their past positions. Mr. McCain’s personal informants – he has visited Hungary – were probably chosen by the Embassy. That catalyst has probably supplied kindred spirits, meaning, persuasive individuals with blunt axes on their way to the grinder. We are left with an upshot. Orbán’s Republican strategy turns out to be a dud.

To end this piece a conclusion fits that copies an earlier posting. It is from an imaginary telegram to be sent to Washington. “1. Hold our positions against foes. 2. Change sides and support our friends.”

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