“Europe, especially its western and northern parts, have created such wealthy societies that they deservedly elicit the admiration and envy of regions with lower living standards. These countries are rich and weak,” and therefore it is not surprising that a flow of “settlers” has been arriving in the richer parts of the European Union from the poor regions of the Middle East and Africa.
Do these ideas sound familiar? They should because they show up, practically word for word, in Viktor Orbán’s speech at the Kötcse picnic. They were written by Mária Schmidt, the court historian of the Hungarian prime minister, and published on the very same day Orbán delivered his speech. We can be sure that the lengthy essay titled “Kopogtatás nélkül” (Without knocking) that appeared in “Látószög” (Viewpoint), one of the several blogs created by the government, had been read and perhaps even commented on by Viktor Orbán before he began work on his speech. In fact, he mentioned Mária Schmidt’s essays in which the historian “regularly demonstrates” the two-facedness of the United States.
So, let’s see what kinds of lessons Viktor Orbán learned from Mária Schmidt, whose knowledge of the Middle East and of U.S. foreign policy verges on zero. In her view, in the old days of a bipolar world order the great powers could keep up a fragile balance in the region, but by now “the United States can handle the Middle East with its enormous oil reserves only if it creates perpetual chaos and steady civil and religious wars.” This is a notion to which Viktor Orbán also briefly alluded. According to Schmidt, this chaos comes in handy for those who “wish to give the impression that there is no other way [out of the situation for the population] but emigration.” In fact, however, there is a concerted effort on the part of some unnamed persons to get millions of people to take to the roads and leave. A bit later we learn whom Schmidt has in mind: the rich oil billionaires of the Arab states.
Why do the so-called refugees but actually settlers keep coming? They come to take what “we, Europeans, have created over the centuries.” They come “to make a new home for themselves…. We should have no illusions: this new wave of settlers is a part of a well-planned and well-executed strategy.” Again we are left in the dark who is behind this strategy, whose aim is the destruction of European culture and freedoms. The oil magnates don’t seem to be the culprits here. Most likely the culprit is the U.S. government with the help of “the useful idiots” who don’t recognize the diabolical nature of the American plan. Two days later an article appeared in Hungary Today, the Orbán government’s propaganda internet site, by a Hungarian-American, Adam Topolansky, with the title “‘Useful Idiots’ of the West and the Creation of Chaos through Mass Migration.”
You may recall that Viktor Orbán in his recent speech talked at some length about Christian Democrats in Western Europe who have been cowed by the reigning liberal ideology and by the pressure coming from the liberal press. Mária Schmidt also talks about the liberalism of the Christian Democrats who no longer represent conservative Christian values. And she has a few words of scornful rebuke for those who appeal to Christian notions of charity and compassion when it comes to handling the refugee crisis. The Muslim billionaires should take care of the region’s poor, and it should be the duty of the Arab states to stabilize the region “instead of paying for the trips of those they consider superfluous.” Truly outlandish ideas which even Viktor Orbán didn’t dare to incorporate into his speech.
Mária Schmidt praises the wisdom of the East European politicians because “they don’t accept the newspeak just as they didn’t serve the communist agitprop.” They don’t suffer from the inferiority complex of the left-liberal crowd, which accepted the propaganda from Moscow and is now following the mantra coming from Berlin.
Schmidt is not given to checking her sources. For instance, her “useful idiots” include Bernie Sanders, the Democratic hopeful in the current presidential campaign, whom she describes as such a lover of the Soviet system that he decided to spend his honeymoon in the Soviet Union in 1988 “as an ideological gesture.” This story is borrowed from a recent column of George Will, the conservative commentator, that appeared in The Washington Post. Although it is true that Sanders and his new wife did go to the Soviet Union right after they got married, it was on official business.
Schmidt also claims in this article that “according to a recent survey half of Muslims consider suicide bombings a legitimate way of fighting the enemies of Islam.” Her source is an article by David Cole that appeared in Taki’s Magazine, which is described by its editor as a libertarian organ. There are a couple of problems with this source. One is that Cole’s numbers bear little resemblance to those of the Pew Research Center and the other is that David Cole is a Holocaust revisionist. So, if I were Viktor Orbán, I would be hesitant to rely on Schmidt’s so-called research. But he uncritically accepts both her views on history and at least some of her interpretations of current events.
Both Mária Schmidt and Viktor Orbán deeply resent, and reject, all references to Western Europe’s financial contribution to the poorer regions of Eastern Europe. It is enough to quote Orbán’s latest on the subject in the translation of The Budapest Beacon:
It is difficult to use light language when reacting to any talk [in the EU] about connecting any discussion of money to the issue of immigration. Not to mention that….I don’t think [Hungary] gets money as ‘help’ from the West. This is a complete misunderstanding. We can’t accept that and I have never accepted this idea that they are giving us money out of solidarity. Like heck they are! What we’re talking about is that Hungary is the member of a common economic zone. We had to live under communism for 40 years while they had 40 years of capitalism. They are rich and have lots of capital, while we are poor and lack capital because we’ve lived under communism. Regardless of this, we together decided to unite our economic areas. It’s completely obvious that we can’t have honest and fair competition between businesses, people and countries that have had 40 years to become rich while the other group was robbed for 40 years. There has to be some kind of mechanism that provides fair and honest competition for these two groups to interact in. If we didn’t have this, they would invade us economically. We would be a colony if this disparity was allowed to stand. They know this too because they’ve had colonies.
And both Schmidt and Orbán have devastating views of the European Union. Yes, criticism of the European Union’s handling of this particular crisis is certainly warranted. Brussels was unprepared and continues to flounder. But the real problem the European Union faces is that it is an assembly of largely independent nation states that are unwilling to cede some of their prerogatives to a common government. Hungary is among the most recalcitrant. So, Orbán should be the last to condemn Brussels for its inability to act.