Viktor Orbán and Charles De Gaulle: The dwarf and the giant

Ágoston Sámuel Mráz, a “political scientist” known for his unwavering loyalty to Viktor Orbán, published an analysis of the prime minister’s speech in Tasnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad. Most commentators found Orbán’s performance there of little interest because this time he was very careful not to repeat the kind of mistake he made a year earlier when international reaction to his “illiberal” speech was extremely negative. Mráz, on the other hand, discovered great, not-so-hidden meanings in Orbán’s latest speech. According to Mráz, Orbán’s speech offers “a right-wing alternative” to the current ideas of the left concerning the future of Europe. Surely, after this speech no one can accuse the Hungarian prime minister of being anti-European Union. By calling for vigorous defense of “European culture” and “European nations,” he outlined the essence of a future European policy: “A strong Union” and the “defense of national sovereignty.” This policy, Mráz added, bears a strong resemblance to Charles De Gaulle’s vision of Europe. “De Gaulle is the model,” “Orbán is the new De Gaulle.”

To read all this into the speech is an exercise in fantasy because, although it is true that Orbán made a fleeting reference to Gaullism when he said that “looking at our continent from this perspective, we Hungarians are Europe’s Gaullists,” it is far-fetched to assume that Orbán was offering “a right-wing alternative” in any shape or form to current thinking on the future of the Union. Most of this, I’m afraid, is only in Mráz’s imagination.

Every time that Fidesz loyalists compare their idol to a politician who is considered to be a truly important historical figure, as Charles De Gaulle certainly was, critics have a field day. Even the more moderate right, Ákos Balogh of Mandiner for example, found the comparison “a strong and tasteless exaggeration.” A more detailed analysis by Péter Techet accused Mráz of misunderstanding Gaullism and suggested a better comparison: Napoleon III, who “relying on the majority destroyed the parliamentary republic in order to introduce a plebeian dictatorship.” Or a comparison to Mussolini, whose”vision” was limited to holding on to power at any cost, would have been more apt.

It wasn’t only Mráz who noticed the sentence in which Viktor Orbán uttered De Gaulle’s name. Attila Seres, a journalist who wrote an op/ed piece in Népszabadság a few days after the speech was delivered, was also struck by the phrase, but his reaction was very different from that of Mráz. Seres noted that in Orbán’s speeches the turn of phrase “we Hungarians” usually means “I, Viktor Orbán,” and therefore the comparison is really between himself and Charles De Gaulle. The first thought that popped into Seres’s head was a comparison between a mouse and an elephant. De Gaulle was certainly a French nationalist with a huge ego who at times made the other members of the European Union miserable, but he had great faith in a “Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains which will determine the future of the world.” Compare that, said Seres, to Viktor Orbán’s description of Europe. De Gaulle also kept equal distance from the United States and the Soviet Union. Compare that to Orbán’s foreign policy toward Russia.

mouse and elephant

Tibor Várkonyi, the grand old man of Hungarian journalism and a lover of everything French, was naturally outraged at the very idea of comparing Orbán, “a political manipulator,” to De Gaulle, the creator of the Fifth Republic. Viktor Orbán is only trying to appropriate sole responsibility for the Hungarian Third Republic. De Gaulle was the real creator of a new order. The title of his piece is “Őrmester úr” (Monsieur le caporal), who is being compared by Mráz to the general.

Ildikó Lendvai, former chairman of MSZP and nowadays a witty commentator on the political scene, in addition to the usual objections to a comparison between the two men, also called attention to the fact that “De Gaulle during his political career did not increase his wealth…. After his resignation he didn’t accept benefits he was entitled to as president and as general. He lived modestly and the family eventually was forced to sell his estate where no football stations or train tracks were built.”

The funny thing is that it looks as if most people seem to have forgotten that this is not the first time that Viktor Orbán was compared to Charles De Gaulle in the media. It was in April 2013 that Yves-Michel Riols, a highly respected French journalist, wrote an article in Le Monde titled “La posture gaullienne de Viktor Orban.” According to Riols, “all the ingredients of Gaullism are present [in Orbán’s career], including resistance to occupiers, triumphant return to power, and ambition to break with the discredited old order.”

This admiring article was not left unanswered. A few days later an article appeared in Causeur titled “Viktor Orbán, un nouveau De Gaulle? Un nain face à un géant.” Not nice: a dwarf facing a giant in a moral sense, according to the author. In his opinion, De Gaulle must be turning over in his grave. The obviously left-leaning anonymous author lists a host of Orbán’s sins, from the rehabilitation of Admiral Horthy to the introduction of a flat tax that is hard on the poorer strata of society. Orbán, unlike De Gaulle, does not respect the rule of law. In brief, the comparison is outrageous.

Soon enough letters to the editor written by outraged readers appeared in Le Monde itself. There were letters in which Orbán was compared to Ceausescu. Others simply called him an autocrat. One letter described him as a right-wing Chavez in the middle of Europe. A Frenchman who wrote from Hungary, where he had been living for years, said that “as a Frenchman I’m ashamed of this article.”

Hungarian commentators were not really surprised about the appearance of Riols’ article. After all, Orbán called De Gaulle his model already in 2012 in Brussels after a session of the European Parliament that dealt with the Hungarian situation. So, I suspect that the original source of the comparison is Viktor Orbán himself. We have always known that he is a very humble man. After all, he himself told us so.

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petofi
Guest

Unwavering loyalty—read it as “slavish begging for crumbs”

The Hungarian scene, both political and social, is truly disgusting.

Are we still proud Hungarians, Latefor?

Proud of what, exactly…?

By the way, you proud Hungarians, you won’t live Orban down for a hundred years–

Latefor
Guest

Petofi,
I’ m far too busy with creating the second part of my masterpiece:
“The Adventures of Electra Sittie 2025” Available on Amazon.com/Kindle. 🙂

SORRY, I just cannot put my head around this today. Have a lovely weekend!

exTor
Guest

Need some clarification, Latefor. You say that you’re “creating the second part of [your] masterpiece” and that it’s available on Amazon. How does that work? Both here and not here at the same time?

I understand that Viktor Orbán is working on his upcoming New Year’s resolution: “Last year I was humble, this year I will be perfect.” That true?

Slaving over a hot keyboard? That’s no way to spend a weekend, Latefor.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

I entered Latefor’s title in Amazon books and it came right up. Maybe she is working on the sequel to “The Adventures of Electra Sittie 2025”.

exTor
Guest

In Latefor’s mind, what’s the diff: ‘second’ and ‘sequel’ are cognates, so what’s the point of greater precision? Each word stems from the Latin ‘sequi’ [follow]. The reader presumably should have no problem getting it.

Poor Melanie, she’s taking a battering this day, when (after all) it should be her zero hero who’s in the crosshairs of our keyboards.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

“The Adventures…”–63 pages (estimated) of a cat (I-Scratch-You) speaking to a dog (I-Bite-You). Total brilliance: the Hungarian mind revealed in all its naked simplicimus…

dothrak
Guest

De Gaulle was probably the most dictatorial of all European post-war politicians (after all he was a general who commanded underlings, a MO Orban also loves best) and his name is still politically correct mostly because he is French and was also popular.

Orban didn’t dare to name Erdogan or Putin but they are his real role models, make no mistake.

exTor
Guest

MO MO: I like the sound of it: Magyarország modus operandi.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

“Ha én valamit szeretek magamban az a szerénység.” OV getting more and more similar to Bástya elvtárs LOL https://youtu.be/AVZ-BOfC5fI from 0:28

Latefor
Guest
To “Petofi” & “ExTorsion” I’m perfectly aware of you cunning tactics (believe it or not, I’ll not lose sleep over it). All you are trying to do with your amateurish, pathetic skills is to humiliate me because I don’t share your spiteful views about the Hungarian people and I don’t agree with every crap you happen to dish out almost daily. You simply want to drive me out of the so-called public domain. Some of you actually taken on the “attack dog” role. Can’t you see it by now that I will NOT be dissuaded from commenting? What an evil life you must be living! I just imagine you: getting up in a morning, starting your day with sharpening your knives and lighting your pathetic fire. (I’m holding my cross as I’m writing this post.) All you do is: provoke, attack, abuse and destroy the credibility of those who don’t share your twisted views. Why don’t you just let go and try to enjoy your miserable life? How about taking the night off and go to see “The Tragedy of Men” at the National Theatre? You’d be better off playing with you thingilingi during the play instead of engaging in… Read more »
Guest

latefor, do you know at all what’s going on in Hungary? probably not – maybe you should start reading some independent news,not just the propaganda of your idol Orbán “who is adored by the majority of Hungarians” …
PS.
I almost fell of my chair when I read this comment of yours some time ago – and so did my (Hungarian) wife!

PPS:
Please stop advertising your cr*p – it’s not only boring, it even makes people angry at you!

exTor
Guest

http://nepszava.hu/cikk/1066598-egy-16-eves-menekult-eletet-mentett-budapesten-fotok-18

I was about to alert the Hungarian Spectrum readership (to which Éva beat me by an hour) –an Afghan youth saved a Hungarian’s life– when I came upon your plaint, Latefor.

Come on, Melanie, you need to lighten up. We’re not trying to humiliate you, you’re doing a good enough job yourself. Remember, comic relief?

People do not necessarily object to your taking a counterposition on Viktor Orbán, which seems a bit perverse since this website is antiOrbán, the ones who write against you do so primarily because you blatantly attempt to flog your book, which I may purchase out of some sense of perversity.

I’m curious about you. I’m a writer, as you can tell. You might even surprise me and turn out to be a writer yourself. Stranger things have happened.

So Mel, tread the straight and narrow, defend Viktor Orbán if you must, but do it intelligibly and intelligently. Start by proofreading your posts.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest
Re: Mr Orban linking up with the ‘big boys’ of history… No doubt he thinks and feels a ‘soul brother’ to Charlie. In a way I can see it. Orban has to like the idea of bringing in a Frenchy feisty guy who has reputation of going his own way or usually trying to in domestic and foreign policy while maneuvering between the Soviets, Germany and that ever so ‘troublesome’ group, the U.S.in the post war. Like Charlie who wanted to make France great again after the war wound down , he will pull out Magyarorszag to the top of the heap now and make her great again as well. When Charlie came back to France he changed the structure of the French political state to accommodate his rule. Kind of resulted in turning France into a ”presidential republic’ with him pulling the strings. Viktor has done the same thing acting as a nuts and bolts political tinkerer. Wouldn’t be surprised if in one of his speeches to the population he will say as Charlie did upon taking office, ‘Je vous ai compris’…’I have understood you!’ From the podium. Orban apparently thinks the same as he works the political machine.… Read more »
LwiiH
Guest

Here is some stuff that may sound familiar. I’m very happy to say that Canada kicked De Gaulle out of the country after he publicly interfered with internal affairs. De Gaulle made a point rewriting the French constitution in a manner that eliminated close to 70 different ethnic groups in France. Only in recent years have 2 or 3 of them managed to rebuild some of their past. I could list more acts that put OV in CDG in the same light but I’ll just end by saying, CDG might be historical figure but it’s more marketing than substance IMO.

And yes, you can indeed be writing a book and still have it up on Amazon as you are writing it. Readers get updates as you push changes. In the tech world this is seem as a great way to get early feedback. This is not the world of publishing as defined in the age of crushed dead trees.

Guest

I was a student when de Gaulle and Adenauer signed the famous Élysée treaty: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lys%C3%A9e_Treaty
De Gaulle wanted to take the Germans away from the USA, NATO and GB – but the German parliament ratified it only with a preamble highlighting those connections, de Gaulle was rather angry at Germany for that …
Which country might Orbán think about having a similar treaty with? Russia?
All the neighbouring states probably wouldn’t do it.

István
Guest
De Gaulle is a complex historical figure with both authoritian aspects and a rational approach at points to nationalist movements. If PM Orban was truly interested in emulating Charles De Gaulle he would be advising Putin to back off his expansionist vision into Ukraine, Georgia, and elsewhere. We need to recall that De Gaulle warned President Kennedy not to intervene in Vietnam correctly believing that there was little any foreign power could do to suppress the committed Vietnamese nationalists who had humiliated the best of the French army at Dien Bien Phu. I have no idea what De Gaulle would have thought about the rise of the Islamic State, but for sure he would have taken note of the merger of greater Arab nationalism with Islam, something the U.S. and the West in general has not come to,grips with. De Gaulle understood the power of small state nationalism in the face of great power attempts to shape the world from the French experience in their collapsing empire. If the U.S. had only listened to him we would have saved thousands upon thousands of lives. General De Gaulle was one of those rare military officers who understood the horror of war… Read more »
Guest

Yes, de Gaulle learned from the French mistakes in Indochina and also in North Africa – the French still are having problems with their “former Empire” though.

I remember the bitter discussion when it was decided that the French would leave Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and those families (farmers etc) who had lived there had to return.

giorgio.magyaroni@indamail
Guest

What kind of “mistakes” you are looking for by the French if you are able to make proper compare. What’s about the ca. 3 millions of deaths in Algeria and about 5 million deaths in Vietnam? On that times of the Vietnam war only one competent American politicians was against the Vietnam war, if you remember, Wayne Morse. My absolutely symbolic example of my own feelings and political mind.

Member
“Melanie Zuben” (“latefor”) I have a query (and this is not an ironic posting, I am really perplexed): Is “Melanie Zuben” (“latefor”) for real? He/she/M-Z-l has a (tiny) web presence, but it looks as if it is all self-promotion of (self-published?) books on amazon and associated sites. I ask because there is one feature of M-Z-l’s (presumably self-authored) bio that strikes me as profoundly at odds with the other features of M-Z-l’s outlook and performance, a feature that is normally a token of a decency — a decency notably absent from just about everything else M-Z-l posts. But perhaps it’s just part of the self-image-making too? M-Z-l’s defence of the indefensible in this forum is patent and undeniable. But there are occasional signs of something not altogther synonymous with brain death there too. (And I have to admit that the impulsive and sometimes repulsive postings of those who have responded ad-personam to M-Z-l’s likewise respulsive postings are equally indefensible. — I say this as one who has called — unsuccessfully — for the blocking of M-Z-l’s postings as the work of a trouble-making troll.) PS Yes, Orban is a flea to De Gaulle’s franco-falcon. The earlier courage of the titulaire… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Steven Harnard – Thank you for the FREE promotion. 🙂

Melanie Zuben: “For the Love of Budapest: The Gresham Symphony” available on Amazon.com/Kindle or paperback.

Webber
Guest

Stevan Harnad – I have been wondering the same for some time now. Some of the postings are so off that they look like the work of a troll from a different country, or rather someone who has never been to Hungary.
I’ve never seen anyone, ever, try to promote their own work in this manner.
Mental illness came to mind, but it’s so odd – I wonder, could it instead be someone using MZ’s profile without MZ’s knowledge?

Rátz
Guest

These are fake identities, I smell Russian trolls here.

Guest

Let’s not get sidetracked too much – latefor is just one of those ignorant expat Hungarians which have no connection to today’s Hungary at all – there are (were even more …) many of them on politics.hu which have a longing for the good old times of Horthy and absolutely no interest in the problems of today’s Hungarians!

They don’t live here and don’t know and don’t care …
I propose to ignore latefor and if she continues with her aggressive self-marketing maybe our gracious hostess should ban her!

Latefor
Guest

“Melanie Zuben” (“latefor”) to Stevan Harnard – Hungarian Spectrum

Yes, MZ is real. She’s fighting against vicious anti-Hungarianism. Please read her comments under
Latefor

Member

I don’t know how good her books are, but I don’t think they are meant for adults though. Some people believe their talents are better than they really are. Kind of like the first auditions for American Idol. “Electra Sittie” was clever, the dog I bite U and the cat I scratch U??? a little less creative, but cute none the less. I also disagree with her constant self promotion using the popularity of your blog Eva. I wouldn’t doubt that an opportunist such as Latefor, wouldn’t be shy to use some of your material for her “writing” either as inspiration or information without your knowledge. If you are okay with that, so am I but where will someone like this draw the line. She might start using our handles for charachters in her “books”.

Latefor
Guest

Dearest Eva,
May I get your kind approval to use your blog as an “inspiration”? 🙂

giorgio.magyaroni@indamail.hu
Guest

Der Selbst- oder Fremdvergleich Orbáns mit De Gaulle ist wie auch immer natürlich absurd. De Gaulle ein Vertreter eines kolonialistischen Verbrecherstaates wie Frankreich es immer war und eines Reststaates von heute nur noch 28 % wie Ungarn von heute ist, ist schlicht nicht gegeben. Da Frankreich für die Zerstörung Ungarns in erster Linie verantwortlich ist.

giorgio.magyaroni@indamail.hu
Guest

Eva Balogh is self not only a dwarf but a bloody traitor of the 56 hungarian Revolution in the duty of all kinds of enemies of Hungary. All you there, she has not a simple voice in matter of Hungary.

giorgio.magyaroni@indamail.hu
Guest
There is no other way in decolonisation of the historic Hungary as verbal conflicts. All other trademarks and comments on the todays Hungary of 28 % is therefore enemy kinds because they are the same politics of the colonial powers which destroyed that country until 72 %. Is there a similar comparation in the world? The other way is –like the most comments on Hungary in your blog in the sens of the colonial powers- the completly destroying the rest Hungary of today’s 28%. And this procedure is on the way over the massive introduction with so called “immigrants” from countries, which are today partially destroyed from the UK, French and the USA. The same powers who destroyed 1918 the historic Hungary until 72%. In that content is the name of Charles de Gaulle just nothing else as kikiriki.The comparation with VO is childrens game. What I can see is, today is nobody there in the rest of Hungary of 28 % who were political commetent the issue of the DECOLONISATION of the historic Hungary to put on the agenda before some international forums, like the UN. Please try your sophisticated knowledge put in that direction. All others is -sorry-… Read more »
Guest

You’re funny again, Georgieboy!
Btw Greater Hungary itself was a kind of Empire – more than 50% of the people (following the census of 1910) were NOT Hungarians – so what is the difference to the French Empire?
It is well known from history that Empires don’t last for ever …

giorgio.magyaroni@indamail
Guest
I am Wolfi really sorry about you to see that you are as a german descendent very active in the anti hungarian antisemitism. What is pushing you against Hungary. Did you had a unfortunately love with a hungarian descent girl or woman? Wolfi – typically german like pseudonym – I knew a german woman in the US which said befor a crowd of people, she is shamed to be a german and she were after 10 minutes in the US, nothing else as even “American”. And in that kind of discusses is no other way possible to choose as to remember that the United State of America has his own Holocaust. Even about 10 time biggest as that of Germany. And you know who recognised that kind of arguments from me? Even just pure americans. By the Russians is such a discussion impossible. They would answer with the knife in the stomach. Some kind of newly Americans films about that American Holocaust over the Indian people are today more tham evident. What I am trying to wake is the SELFCRITIC in the US political society. In that case the US would probably not destroy the world. Beginning from Hungary. So dear Wolfi,… Read more »
Guest

So of course no answer from our loonie …
You’re more than ridiculous – anti Fidesz etc is not anti Hungarian just like anti Hitler would not be anti German.
And I’m living very happy here in Hungary with my wonderful Hungarian wife – who thinks exactly like me re those aspirations of “Hungarian Empire”!

dvhr
Guest
Guest
Re: “De Gaulle understood the power of small state nationalism in the face of great power attempts to shape the world from the French experience in their collapsing empire” That is where I think Orban sees that affinity with de Gaulle as he looks at pictures of him and enters the meeting of minds. Through him it would appear he has a template that others may identify with to refashion Hungary’s relationship globally. And what with Orban and his accomplishments? What has he actually done for Hungary on the ‘big’ questions? It would appear he has upset more the alma cart rather than directing Hungarian energy towards successfully grappling the problems she is faced with both externally and internally. I know he is a lawyer but the fact he ‘boxes out’ opponents and parties apparently very very well suggest he may be better used on a basketball court. Thing is though with strength comes weakness namely this guy hurts the Magyar team with bad bad fouls. Certainly no championship while he’s on the court. I’d suggest it’s more the ‘cellar’ beckons. As for ‘personalities’ , It intrigues me how de Gaulle and the Magyar leader have would go about job-hunting.… Read more »
Guest

Re: ‘Turul LilliPutin’

Now that’s a name! Unbelievable how those gems of lit imitate life in our 21st. Curious if it would have seconds of life on the Russian blogs..;-)..

Latefor
Guest

Is this what you call Liberal Democracy?
Most of you are determined to suppress dissenting opinions. You just prefer your daily, empty rituals, up on your high horses, attacking not only the Orban government but also the Hungarian character.
Also, I’m convinced that you have much more to gain from suppressing differing views than I have by promoting my books time to time.
I understand, you are a close group of like-minded people and want to control information.
BUT what kind of a democratic practice is this when you discourage debate from a wide range of contributors?
Democracy needs fearless people to speak up regardless of consequences! (humiliation, personal attacks etc.)

Member

Latefor, you prove our points about the Magyar mentality everyday on this blog. We all love Hungarians, that is not the point. The point is that Hungarians, the ones who can change things for themselves, do not! They are the only ones who can stop the antisemitism, the hatred, the corruption. The problem is that it has been taught for generations for Hungarians must defend EVERYTHING including their government, even if the government is stealing from them and making them bankrupt. Hungarians are taught that if a Hungarian person or institute is criticized, we must argue blatant lies if nessesary to defend Hungarian honor. It is a lie that has been told since the first world war! We have been told to identify our government with ourselves. This is wrong, because this allows the corrupt to do whatever the hell they please with no consequence from their own people. Most Hungarians unfamiliar with democracy know no other way. You on the other hand should know better.

Latefor
Guest

Lis Aucoin,
Is this how you want Magyars to change, by calling them all sorts of degrading names? There is a saying that when you pet a dog, a dog licks your hand BUT when you kick a dog it bites into your backside. Please keep this in mind.

Re: anti-Hungarian comments on this blog.
Just from the top of my head, the Hungarian people were called the following:
“Genetically inferior morons”
“Bo gatyas”
“Hopeless scumbags”
“useless scumbags”
“anti-Semites” etc. etc.
Would you like to know more?

exTor
Guest

Liz Aucoin, there is no value in exchanging with people like Latefor and Giorgio Magyaroni. Latefor verges on delusional with a perspective that equates Fidesz/Viktor Orbán criticism with antiHungarianism. As for GM, his English, while good enough to be able to gist his posts, is lacking for intelligent discourse.

Those two share the perspective that criticism equals dislike of Hungary and Hungarians. It is the Magyar version of the ‘selfhatredism’ that Israeli love-it-or-leave-it types hang on those who dare to criticize the actions of Israel. A similar mentality existed in the United States during the US-led Vietnam War: “Dont like the war? Then get out!”

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLjdV0JxVuqMRGded1qy7A … Giorgio Magyaroni [YouTube]

Interesting sidebar to Giorgio Magyaroni. I’m presuming that the picture on the linked webpage is truly that of Giorgio Magyaroni. It shows an old guy, probably in his 60s. The webpage reveals his video likes, some of which [eg: Tusványos 2015 – Orbán Viktor beszéde] are proFidesz.

BTW, are you in Csepel yet?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Of course, we are all part of the NWO – a secret team bent on destruction of the (In)Glorious Hungarian Empire – you should cooperate with Giorgio, latefor …
Why don’t you go to a more sympathetic place to promote your book(s)?
Maybe Hungarian Ambiance, Kuruc.info or even theinfounderground.com? There you’ll find people who share the same ideas as you!

Latefor
Guest

Wolfie,
Do you have a financial interest in promoting their sites? What are my “ideas” if I may ask?

Guest

The only person with financial interests here is you – and it would be nice if you’d learn to spell my name right.
Just visit those sites and rejoice!

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