Hungary at Home

The following article by Prof. Marek Chodakiewicz was published by the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

According to his admirers, Prime Minister Orban’s third achievement is to restore and rehabilitate Hungary’s past, including its pre-war and war-time leader, Regent Admiral Miklos Horthy. It was Horthy who rushed troops and armored vehicles to the streets to halt Jewish deportations, one of the very few times in Nazi-occupied Europe when anyone took up arms in defense of the Jews.

“A neo-fascist dictator” is what good Senator John McCain called Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary. Given a relentless sludge of black propaganda against the Hungarian and his ruling coalition, John McCain’s injudicious remark reflects the unfair image purveyed by the media in the West. A more balanced view can obtain from a careful analysis of Orban and his actions. It all started with Budapest’s new domestic policy.

Let us recall that until quite recently Orban himself was a liberal. In fact, for almost a decade after 1989 he was cozy with the post-Communists and actively fought against conservatives, like the late Prime Minister Jozef Antall, who wanted to de-Communize, vet secret police agents, achieve property restitution, and use the government to protect the poor and downtrodden victims of Communism from the post-Communists and liberals enriching themselves in an unmitigated orgy of embezzlement. Then Orban changed. He became a Christian populist conservative with a nationalist streak. His is a system of national solidarity. The conversion appears genuine, but may complement the politician’s drive for power. The prime minister has indeed praised “illiberal democracy” and has professed his loss of faith in the free market because of the economic collapse of 2008. Most controversially, he has worked closely with a nefarious coalition partner, the radical nationalist Jobbik party, which displays a pronounced anti-Jewish, anti-Roma, and anti-Western streak.

For the record, since 2010, the Magyar politician and his populist-conservative party FIDESZ have won free general elections twice in a row, each time securing over 2/3 in the parliament, including the Jobbik. In 2014 alone, Orban scored three victories: in local, national, and European elections. This looks like a solid democratic mandate. The victorious coalition set to reforming the nation. The chief vehicle of reform was the government. This was because the Hungarian state is the single entity capable of mobilizing resources to overthrow post-Communism. Outside of the state there are no independent, powerful, and wealthy institutions or individuals willing to take on the post-Communists.

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Paweł Styrna lectures on communist infiltration of Polish-Americans

On Sunday, January 4, 2015, Paweł Styrna – Kościuszko Chair research assistant and IWP international affairs student – delivered a presentation at the annual conference of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) in New York City.

The lecture was entitled “Paralyzing the Polonia From Within: Communist Secret Police Infiltration of the Polish-American Community” and constituted a brief outline of a much more detailed, research-based scholarly article, which will be published in a forthcoming anthology.

Having explored the historical roots of communist secret police operational tactics, Mr. Styrna discussed the various manners utilized by Warsaw to divide, recruit, and co-opt the Polish-Americans and analyzed the extent of the penetration. He pointed out that the communist secret police treated the Polonia either as an enemy or as a potential asset and continued his exploration into the post-communist era. He concluded by pointing out that scholars should not underestimate the impact of secret police “disintegration” work on the American Polonia’s gradual loss of political influence during the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s Intermarium mentioned in Spanish scholarly journal

Intermarium, by Mark ChodakiewiczDr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012) has been gaining increasing publicity in the scholarly and policy-analysis worlds since the monograph’s publication.

Quite recently, Intermarium was mentioned by Dr. Dominik Smyrgała, a professor of international relations at the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw (Poland), in the Barcelona-based Spanish-Catalan scholarly historical journal Tiempo Devorado: Revista de Historia Actual (No. 1, December 2014, pp. 28 – 37).

The English-language version of the article, “Intermarium: From the battle of Varna to the war in Ukraine,” can be accessed here.

Cuba Libre

This piece by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was published on the website of the American Thinker.

After a sustained effort in clandestine diplomacy, the White House has recognized Cuba. Yet, the Obama administration has failed to explain convincingly why, for Christmas, it has decided to bless a Communist totalitarian dictatorship, second only in ruthlessness to the North Korean satrapy.  Nonrecognition was a symbolic policy of our objection to the trampling of the island’s freedom. It was a powerful sign of our refusal to acquiesce in Cuba’s enslavement. True, we had no immediate plans to liberate the nation, but we morally condemned its Red slave masters.

The power of symbols in the policy of nonrecognition was palpable. Despite the fact that most of our allies, notably the EU and Canada, did business with Cuba, America stressed its exceptionalism for over half a century by refusing to treat the totalitarians as normal partners. Nonrecognition gave free Cubans at home and abroad hope that, first, the world’s leading power identified with their plight, and, second, that freedom was a universal norm that the United States would never compromise on. That policy is no more. The current administration has thus abandoned the moral high ground we occupied vis-à-vis the Castro regime following the betrayal of free Cubans at the Bay of Pigs by an earlier Democrat team in 1961.

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Torture: Thoughts by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

A recent media story equating CIA interrogation methods to the atrocities of the Nazis and Communists invoked my work as the pivot of its argument. This is abuse of history. Not only morally relativistic, it is also inaccurate historically.

To juxtapose the CIA, which is a democratic institution, to the Gestapo and NKVD, which were totalitarian outfits, is outrageous libel. It is not even like comparing apples and oranges. Rather, it is equating a case of a mild cold with Ebola. Assessing the methods applied against the prisoners, it is obvious that the CIA practically warm-fuzzied the terrorists, while the Nazis and Communists tore their victims to pieces. Pundits will stoop to anything to stick it to the CIA, which, God knows, has many faults, but all of them reflect the perennial problems of America’s democratic system unlike the nefarious nature of the Soviet and Nazi secret police which reflected the very essence of totalitarianism. My research describes this sordid reality in gory details (http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/chodakiewicz1.htm;
http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/chodakiewicz2.htm;
http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/chodakiewicz3.htm).

Make no mistake. Torture is horrible and dehumanizing both to the victim and the perpetrator. Further, torture tends to yield poisoned fruit. It is possible to obtain tactical and even strategic intelligence from the persons thus interrogated. Almost everyone breaks down under torture. A majority of those who resist successfully simply die under the blows. A few emerge alive and unbroken in spirit but completely shattered physically and unbalanced psychologically by their experience. Of those who break down, only a few spill their guts and even fewer are turned, becoming double agents (always in danger of flipping yet again to morph into a triple agent, as was the case with the CIA’s Jordanian asset who blew himself and his handlers up at Camp Chapman in Afghanistan on December 30, 2009).

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Naming Names: An Op-Ed by Prof. Marek Chodakiewicz in Eurasia Review

“Islamofascists” and “Putin-Hitler” reverberate through our public discourse, reflecting anger and emotion, rather than calm and acumen. As such, these seemingly helpful tags actually impede our understanding of both adversaries and, hence, prevent us from elaborating a successful strategy against each, including mobilizing popular support for the endeavor.

He who gets to name names, wins. The old saw makes for a good zinger but lacks precision. It should perhaps be: he who labels a phenomenon fast and popularizes it persistently and repetitiously dominates the discourse. Hence, we suffer of the ever enduring poison of the Komintern’s Willi Műnzenberg who cast the Civil War in Spain as a conflict between “fascism” and “democracy.” Never mind that the former included Stalinists, Trotskyites, and anarchists whose revolutionary fury rendered anything smacking of democracy null and void. By pitting the putative “democrats” against alleged “fascists” maestro Műnzenberg supplied the West’s cackling liberal and leftist glitterati with an ultra-reductionist vision of Spain, where anyone rooting, as, for example, Evelyn Waugh was, for the conservative forces of law and order and against a Red revolution was instantaneously accused of worshiping Hitler, and thus ostracized and, more often than not, traumatized. This was deviously mischievous for it rendered any thoughtful analysis of the Spanish carnage utterly impossible. Hence, the West remained impotent in the face of the Hitler and Stalin aggression. And it missed another important lesson for the future. Műnzenberg built on a legacy of opprobrium attached to the generic concept “fascism.” Initially, the Communists considered Italian fascists as socially friendly, if confused revolutionaries. After Benito Mussolini’s black shirts crushed the Reds, Moscow changed its mind and unleashed an Exorcist-like stream of bile inundating anyone who opposed Stalin. Therefore not only the national socialists of Hitler became “fascists,” but so did the followers of Trotsky and anyone in between, including, for example, Christian nationalists. Labels tend to stick. Simplistic labels stick indefinitely.

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Kosciuszko Chair Fellow discusses Russia’s information war

On December 11, Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies Fellow, Nathalie Vogel, published an article on the websiteThe Interpreter, which is “a daily-updated online journal dedicated primarily to translating media from the Russian press and blogosphere into English and reporting on events inside Russia and in countries directly impacted by Russia’s foreign policy.”

The article – entitled “In This Info-War, The Problem Is Not Only Russia” – quotes three IWP professors: Dr. John Lenczowski, Prof. Paul Goble, and Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz.   

Please click here to read the article.