Hungary Abroad

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

The Hungarian politician hopes that because Germany holds neither revisionist territorial designs nor any general historical animus against his nation, Hungary can serve as a useful and reliable geopolitical pawn for both Berlin and Moscow. This is what happens when the United States is absent; its leadership is missing; and the White House “leads from behind.” This is also the best prism to scrutinize Orban’s foreign policy moves through. He cannot ingratiate himself to Berlin through his conservatism, but he can through Russophilia.

Whereas the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s domestic politics elicit angry denunciations primarily from leftist and liberal quarters at home and abroad, his foreign policy both baffles and infuriates Western observers across the political spectrum. But the key to understanding Budapest’s international maneuvers is rather simple.

Orban claims that his policy of national solidarity — restoring tradition, dignity, prosperity, and faith, as well as de-Communization, vetting of agents, and the defeat of post-Communism and liberalism — challenges the dominant international system which is hostile to small nation states. The inimical context consists of globalism, European federalism, German economic might, and post-Soviet imperialism. The prime minister would like Hungary to survive and prosper.

Because Budapest pursues policies that challenge the reigning paradigm, the Magyar government is ostracized, sidelined, and criticized bitterly both by the European Union and the United States. Leftists and liberals who dominate the West culturally, politically, and economically cannot bear anyone who fails to fall in line. As far as the EU, Germany is not only its most powerful member but, arguably, also most corroded by leftism and liberalism. Therefore, Orban believes he should pursue his foreign policy in alliance with a power which rejects the liberal paradigm most emphatically. Hence, he has chosen Russia.

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