Hungarian analysis of Ambassador Colleen Bell’s speech of October 28

As promised, I will focus today on the analysis of the speech delivered by U.S. Ambassador Colleen Bell two days ago, which contained some very harsh criticism of the Orbán government. But first I would like to return briefly to the question of why the official Hungarian news agency failed to report on the event. MTVA, under which MTI functions, explained that “there was no sign that the speech would deal with Hungarian domestic affairs or that the speech had any relevance to U.S.-Hungarian relations.” This explanation didn’t convince the Hungarian media, which pointed out that the U.S. Embassy’s invitation to members of the media gave the title of the speech: “A Current Look at Hungarian-U.S. Relations.” Moreover, as 444.hu also noted, the text of the speech was available as early as 6:44 p.m. on the website of the U.S. Embassy, including its Hungarian version.

The first summary of the speech appeared in Népszabadság. This was followed two hours later by the opinions of a couple of experts: Attila Juhász of Political Capital and Roland Reiner of the Republican Intézet. Unfortunately, their comments didn’t offer any real insight. Attila Juhász was the more expansive of the two, but both men “were surprised” because they thought that U.S.-Hungarian relations had entered a more peaceful phase. As I pointed out yesterday, there were many signs contradicting this view. And these signs weren’t reserved for a privileged few; it was enough to read Hungarian news reports. Juhász said that in private conversations the ambassador “was very diplomatic and didn’t criticize the Hungarian government that much.” Thus, Juhász believes,”it had to be a recent decision in Washington to put Budapest under pressure again.” His colleague Reiner, despite his agreement with Juhász that Colleen Bell was only the messenger, added that “it is not impossible that until now Bell has been trying to find her bearing: she listened to the opinions of the government, the civilians, and the opposition and by now she has arrived at her own conclusion.” Reiner can’t make up with mind about Bell’s independence.

talking heads2

The next expert was Szabolcs Panyi of Index, who came up with a fanciful explanation for the relative silence on the part of the United States about the many sins of the Orbán government. I should add that Panyi had a co-author, András Dezső, who is best known for her investigative work. Being familiar with Panyi’s political ideas, I suspect that most of the article’s analysis was the work of Panyi. According to him, “Colleen Bell had been subject to severe political and media attacks prior to her confirmation and therefore she couldn’t afford to make mistakes. She wanted to learn about the country and about her new job so she could present herself as a strong political actor.” Again, this indicates that the timing of the speech was the ambassador’s decision.

Furthermore, in Panyi’s opinion, “André Goodfriend and to some extent Eleni Kounalakis left chaos in their wake.” Goodfriend in particular was guilty of fomenting bad relations between Hungary and the United States. So, Bell had to confront the shadows of her predecessors. Just when she started to find her way around, Eleni Kounalikis began making “strong political statements which were not in accord with or harmonized with Bell and her staff.” Our naive Panyi is also convinced that MTI’s failure to report on Bell’s speech was the result of the Orbán’s government total unpreparedness for a major address by the ambassador.

As for the timing of the speech, the article, I think correctly, points out that it had something to do with the refugee crisis subsiding, at least as far as Hungary is concerned. The political noise around the “migrants” was so loud that Colleen Bell’s speech, however strong, would have been drowned out amid the general hysteria.

The article also suspects that the Polish elections last Sunday, which the authors describe as “an earthquake,” had something to do with the timing of the speech. It was a “warning” to the politicians of Jarosław Kaczyński’s party, PiS, not to follow the anti-business practices of Viktor Orbán. I don’t believe this story either. Why should the United States go through Budapest to reach Warsaw? I might also point out that the results of the Polish election didn’t come as a bolt of lightning. For months polls had suggested that PiS had a very good chance of winning the elections. Moreover, I suspect that the arrangements for this major speech preceded the Polish elections.

HVG also tried to find an explanation for the timing and found it in the United States’ eagerness to assist Angela Merkel’s refugee policies by severely criticizing the Orbán government’s inhumane treatment of the asylum seekers. “Before Orbán becomes too popular [in Europe], the United States shows the dark side of [Orbán’s] policies.” Well, I think we can forget about this analysis as well.

Finally, Péter Balázs, Gordon Bajnai’s foreign minister, was interviewed by Olga Kálmán on Egyenes Beszéd. He expressed his belief that there is a very simple explanation for the timing of the speech: “they have had enough.” I have the feeling that indeed this is the best explanation anyone can come up with. However, the exact timing most likely was determined by the end of the refugee crisis in Hungary. They might have waited a few weeks more if the political turbulence around erecting the fence had lasted a bit longer.

I must say that I was disappointed in the ability of Hungarian analysts to assess the recent history of U.S.-Hungarian relations. The relationship between the two countries has been rocky for some time. Tensions only escalated with Orbán’s handling of the refugee crisis, until patience finally ran out in Washington.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

I think in the second paragraph’s 4th sentence you meant to say “because they thought that U.S.-Hungarian relations”…

Gardonista
Guest

No! I like the original version “they thought that U.S.-American relations had entered a more peaceful phase.” I find it quite reassuring to know that Canada has no intention on invading the US. Finally, a statement by a Hungarian talking head that I can trust.

petofi
Guest

“…to know that Canada has no intention on invading the US.”

No! That’s wrong.
Canada will, at last, invade as soon as we quell the Quebecoisie…
(The view of the Fidesz-faithful in the heart of Toronto.
“Vive L’Anglais Libre!!”)

petofi
Guest

I think what has happened is that the US now realizes that Orban/Hungary is the sharp edge of Putin policy in Europe.

kilimanjaro
Guest
It’s a very nice example of the availability heuristics. Bell is here so she must be the main reason. Journalists and humans in general cannot really deal with an impersonal giant bureaucracy (State Department) thousands of miles away. They almost need to make Bell, who is here, to be the decision maker. There are no foreign policy, foreign relations journalists in Hungary and those who deal with these topics deal only with the government. They are entirely dependent on fidesznik government sources for their articles and there’s no fact checking whatsoever. Moreover these journalists or experts such as Panyi, Juhász etc. also deal with domestic party politics so it’s natural that they interpret everything according to the logic they see in domestic politics (they have zero clue about the CEE politics either, and they don’t speak and relevant languages). In addition, conspiracy theories abound because most often those are true (TV2, MET Ag., Rogan-Lazar infightings etc.). I would even venture that suspicions about André Goodfriend, that his abrupt return to US did not owe to family reasons as was officially stated, but to political reasons turned out to be founded: he was eventually assigned to some excuse me bullshit internet… Read more »
Webber
Guest
I think nothing really changed. Think about it. For years, Washington sent quiet messages expressing concerns about NATO-partner Hungary’s relationship with Russia, about related corruption, and about the erosion of democracy. These messages were ignored. Washington sent ever louder messages; they were ignored. Washington quietly banned certain Hungarians from visiting the US because of corruption. That was not ignored. Certain people were angry. The Hungarian government started an offensive through its paper, Napi Gazdasag. The Embassy was asked by the Hungarian press to comment. Andre Goodfriend was the one chosen to answer the press. He refused to name names (Washington told him not to), but told the press what the problems are. Everything Goodfriend said had been said repeatedly before by Washington. Goodfriend did not reveal anything new. The Hungarian press just didn’t report it before. The Hungarian govt. press decided to attack Goodfriend, and to pretend that he (not Washington) was the source of the complaints. They even treated Goodfriend as if he were a Hungarian citizen and employee of the Hungarian govt. (e.g. threatening him with prosecution; outrage in the press). Goodfriend’s time in Budapest came to an end, as it would have anyway, and a new ambassador… Read more »
Webber
Guest

P.S. Both Szijjarto and Bell agree on just one thing – the message she delivered is not a new one.
So, nothing has changed.

the suburban
Guest
@Webber I agree with your assessment. But in the meantime Orban is a year older. A politician stays in power via surviving lots of smaller periods. He survived last year too and he is as popular as ever. Orban has only one strategic goal re the US. To prevent the US from directly/indirectly intervening in domestic politics e.g. by releasing info about his corruption (phone calls by deputies, I assume Orban uses phone very rarely these days etc.) which could hurt him and/or which could in any conceivable way strengthen his opposition. That’s all he cares about. Period. Everything else like his support in Afghanistan or wherever is complete bullshit. Orban couldn’t care less about the concerns of the US. He only understand direct and imminent sanctions, not the kind the EU has, but which Putin has. Diplomacy and niceties will lead nowhere with him. Putin turns off the tap and then that’s that. You can complain to Hitler, as they say. This is the kind of exercise of power Orban understands, diplomacy for him and the people around him is for losers. If that happens, if he can prevent that from happening, he is happy. Until now he was… Read more »
buddy
Guest

If you read the entire speech, you’ll see that America actually IS getting results on the interests that are most important to it, especially those that are military and terrorist-related. Bell spends at least half of her speech cataloging these.

Other things like independence of the judiciary, unfair election laws, etc. are of relatively lesser concern in terms of US foreign interests.

But the US can not realistically do anything about them anyway as they are primarily domestic matters, or matters for the EU to decide. So I do not think the US is under any illusions that it has any power to change domestic policy in Hungary, but is speaking up in order to take a moral stand.

In any case, this is more than other western democracies are doing, i.e. where are the ambassadors of the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Belgium, etc. giving speeches critical of the Hungarian government?

illi
Guest
Right, but you have to understand that Orban doesn’t give a shit about the military or terrorism-related issues. Why would he? What difference does it make to him if sends 5 or 200 people to wherever? If these are so important to the US and if thereby the Americans allow him to continue to amass his billions and rule the country and undermine the EU and Nato and represent Russia, he will send all the troops (not right away, of course, the US should work on this if it wants results from Hungary). Orban’s goal is to continue to rule and increase his fortune. He survived the last year and will survive the next. The blabbering of the Americans about democracy means that he will throw more money at Finkelsten and Connie Mack and they will tell him how to delay the issue further (promise something, wait another 8-9 months, then blame one of the underlings for failure, the wait again 6 months and so on, he will be the 136th tyrant to play that peacock dance with the US or the World Bank etc). Fideszniks couldn’t care less about interviews in Népszabadság, ever the mouthpiece of the Americans in… Read more »
webber
Guest

illi
It seems odd that you think that. The last time there was a kefluffle at the US Embassy Fidesz’s ratings fell like a rock. I think Orbán might care a little bit about that sort of thing.

illi
Guest

Not because the US said anything or threatened anybody with anything.

The ratings fell because of the no-visa list and the naming of x number of people (by newspapers) as corrupt.

If that’s what the US will do or something similar, Orban will listen – although his troubles were mostly self-inflicted last year so he might think that if he’s a bit smarter this time then all will be well.

But speeches and diplomacy and ejnye-bejnye will lead the Americans nowhere I can promise you that.

Action will.

Always ask, what would Putin do? Putin wouldn’t give speeches and interviews, he would just turn off the tap (send a copy from KGB’s archive about Orban etc.) then he would have Orban’s attention.

Speeches and interviews are for naive gentlemen who think this is the West.

In psychoanalysis it’s called fetishistic disavowal. I know very well (that the method failed 10 times before) but still, yet again I do it hoping that this time it will work (as a miracle). No, diplomacy won’t work here.

Guest

Re: ‘fetishistic disavowal’

Well you know since Magyarorszag appears to be in a full-blown identity crisis the least the US can do is try to do the ‘talking-cure’ with the patient. Other than violence it’s the appropriate treatment. From the looks of it the government sure relishes verbal ‘aggression’. Kudos to the ‘doctor’ who deals with the slings and arrows as it provides a needed service to bring the patient to try and deal with realities of modernity better for we live in very difficult times. Just saying.

buddy
Guest

Yes, yes, those dumb Americans are soooo naive. Just keep telling yourself that.

bimbi
Guest
The Cavalcade of Clowns surrounding the Hungarian Government is so laughably out of touch with political reality. They live in a world where their focus swirls round the Leader and Voice of the Hungarian People so that they can see and hear nothing else. And it is all so little, an unimportant irritant on the backside of the EU, now seeing itself going head-to-head with what is, ya gotta admit it, a world power. Just as Hungary’s footie team can’t qualify for the UEFA cup, Orban & Co. see themselves as always playing in the World Cup finals. Out-of-touch and pathetic. And do we remember the time just after Ambassador Bell’s appointment when she was a figure of fun in Hungarian government circles, when the macho Magyar ministerial men were going to twist “the dumb blonde TV producer” round their little fingers? Clearly the MMM men haven’t forgotten and now they can’t understand what has happened. Well, the US State Department continues to speak. That easy. Nothing to do with intrigues on the part of Ambassador Bell or Mr. Goodfriend. The US State Department continues to speak. And if Mr. Szijjarto finds “nothing new” in the speech, it is because… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Anybody know whether Péter Szijjártó got
a haircut yesterday on his 37th birthday?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Unbelievable!
“PM calls on Viktor Orbán and (Defense Minister) István Simicskó to immediately give a thorough account and explanation as to how military aircraft forming part of the Russian army were given permission to use Hungarian airspace, for what period of time, and for which military operations.”
http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/russian-air-force-used-hungarian-air-space-to-bomb-iraq-says-dialogue-for-hungary/28610
Russian military planes flying over Hungary i e NATO airspace?

petofi
Guest

@Wolfi

So the question is:
If Hungary/Orban has a piece of information useful to Russia and some other information useful to Nato….who would be informed (first)?

An
Guest

Very interesting… from the map it seems they flew over Bulgaria and possibly Romania too.

An
Guest

At the same time the info comes from a Swiss private blog on security issues, so it’s hard to know how reliable it is.

Tyrker
Guest

@wolfi:

Going by the maps published there, those Russian aircraft flew over multiple NATO member states, not just Hungary.

Charles Kovacs
Guest

The link exists but the story does not make sense. Bombing Iraq via a flight through Hungary is very wasteful in view of the distances and given the presence of Russian air bases much closer to Iraq (and incidentally there is no confirmation of any Russian bombing in Iraq).
What has been widely reported is that a Russian IL62 transport flew to Syria through Hungarian air space at a time when Bulgaria already denied the use of its air space to Russia. I have not seen anything about any Hungarian protests or whether or not there have been more flights. N.B. though, Russian Air Force transports often use Aeroflot flight numbers and are even painted in Aeroflot color schemes; this has not changed since the Cold War.

buddy
Guest
I think what is missing in all of this analysis is the fact that a good amount of Bell’s speech, at least half, is about the positive aspects of the US-Hungarian relationship. The reports I’ve read on the speech so far have just dismissed this part of the speech as diplomatic niceties, suggesting that Bell used the well-known “sandwich” technique of delivering criticism (IIRC her speech also ends on a fairly positive note). That may be partially true, but the positive things Bell mentions are not at all insignificant from the point of view of American interests, things like the military cooperation under NATO, involvement in fighting ISIL, running the ILEA, etc. There was also the claim in an article a few weeks ago that the Hungarian police works as a quasi-branch of the FBI in certain cases (see http://vs.hu/kozelet/osszes/amerika-arra-keszul-hogy-a-menekultvalsag-utan-jol-beolvas-orbaneknak-1008#!s1) These issues may be of lesser interest to commenters on this forum, but they are very important from the point of view of American foreign interests. We could even say that the US is getting everything it wants from Hungary on the issues that are mostly critical (though there is no word on what has happened with regard to the… Read more »
Webber
Guest

buddy –
Don’t fantasize.
The travel ban is definitely still in place.

And don’t misread the speech – as I’ve said before, it was just a classic reversal of the “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” formula broadly taught in high school debate clubs in the US in the early 1980s. You must say something nice before blasting someone – that’s the formula – and you always, always go back to your initial tone in the conclusion (classic essay style). It goes without saying that every word you utter must be true (if you’re Hungarian, these days this might need saying)

buddy
Guest

1) How do you know the travel ban is still in place?

What if the US said, “If you fire Vida and arrange the VAT system so that US companies are not taxed at an unfair advantage, then we’ll lift the travel ban for some (or all) of the people under it.”

That seems like a pretty easy and reasonable offer for the US to make, without it actually having to give up anything, and an acceptable offer for Hungary if it all happens below the radar, without becoming public.

2) I haven’t misread the speech. I understand the idea of praising before offering criticism, and if you reread my comment you’ll see I even pointed that out.

What I’m saying is that the positives that Bell mentions far outweigh the negatives from the point of view of American interests in Hungary. If you can’t see that, then you are confusing your own personal interests with what you think they should be for the US.

Webber
Guest

Buddy, again
don’t fantasize. If the travel bans had been eliminated, we’d know. It would be all over the press. Orban and crew would be the first to let you know.

In fantasizing about some secret deal you are (weirdly) creating a fantastic narrative positive to Orban. I say weirdly, because that hasn’t been your pattern so far.

Let’s just stick with what we do and can know.

If the positives outweigh the negatives, why has the Hun. r-wing press and govt. gone nuts over this?

buddy
Guest
Webber- I am not at all “fantasizing.” I am simply stating what may be an entirely plausible scenario. (Incidentally, my idea of what constitutes a “fantasy,” I can assure you, does not involve US foreign policy with Hungary.) I will state here that I truly do not know what has happened with regards to the travel ban and the VAT scandal – but neither do you, I might add. But it’s not at all unrealistic to think that the US may have rescinded the travel ban in return for asking American companies to be treated more fairly. After all, this was the entire reason for instituting the ban in the first place! Normal diplomatic communication was not having an effect, as we know from the now-famous “fecni” from the US Embassy, so the US tried a different tactic. The Hungarian government made the mistake of publicizing the travel ban, and it backfired on them. Oooops. The question is, is the travel ban considered a form of immutable punishment, or is it simply a bargaining chip? Again, I don’t know, but it seems to me that the smart policy would be to consider it a bargaining chip. How is this a… Read more »
webber
Guest

Buddy
It’s an equally “entirely plausible” scenario that André Goodfriend had a torrid affair with Máté Kocsis’s wife. That would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? There’s absolutely no indication that the two ever met, but it’s still possible…

It’s also an entirely plausible scenario that if people were no longer banned from entry into the US, the Hungarian government would publish the fact “because they were always innocent, and we proved it.”

There are all sorts of entirely plausible scenarios. They are all fantasies.

Stick with what has been demonstrated to be true. The rest is just speculation.

buddy
Guest

“Stick with what has been demonstrated to be true. The rest is just speculation.”

Exactly. I am just speculating, which I have made abundantly clear several times already. I’m not sure why you are unable to comprehend that.

You know what is true? Vida is gone and the US has not publicly brought up the complaints of Americans companies have had with NAV since Bell arrived. She didn’t even mention it in her speech. That strongly suggests to me that the issue has been settled to the Americans’ satisfaction. Now, if this is true, how do you suppose they were able to do that?

exTor
Guest
“… the positives … far outweigh the negatives …” Depends on who’s doing the hearing, buddy. “[Matthias Corvinus] brought the Renaissance to Hungary, introducing the humanist values of modern thinkers to this medieval kingdom.” Colleen Bell commenced her speech with this quote, which is an insult if one reads it a certain way. Cant say whether it was advertent. Quite likely. To be sure, those good words she directed toward Hungary were not throwaway niceties. A significant portion of the speech was spent on what Bell [read: America] feels are positive aspects of Hungary vis-à-vis the US. The negatives on which Colleen Bell elaborated were major, accounting for more than a half of her speech. It is signifcant that Bell criticizes Hungary at a time when its leader is as nongrata as a person can get within the EU. Bell has chosen to criticize Viktor Orbán, just as VO has been criticized by the EU. Bell did not defend Orbán. This is crucial and it is unmistakable. The Hungarian government knows it full well. Your points were well-postulated, buddy, however you diminish the severity of Bell’s words. To paraphrase CB: “You’re a shit, Viktor Orbán, but you’ve got a nice… Read more »
buddy
Guest

You completely misunderstood what I wrote.

When I wrote that “… the positives … far outweigh the negatives …,” I was referring to the achievement of US interests in this country, not the innate characteristics of the Orbán regime.

And I do not “diminish the severity of Bell’s words.” I was just pointing out that Hungary has been very cooperative with the US in many areas that are important to American interests, a fact that not many people seem to have realized. Stating this is not a defense of Orbán by either me or Ms. Bell.

exTor
Guest

Perhaps I did misapportion severity to Bell’s words, buddy, at least per your take on my words.

You started this subthread with a paragraph [“I think what is missing …”] that basically states your premise that Bell’s speech is much ado about nothing. That is counterreality.

Were everything hunkydory between the States and Magyarország, then Bell would not have so publicly speechified her/America’s misgivings.

You do in fact diminish the importance of the criticisms of Orbán, buddy, by not giving them enough weight. When those less-weighted criticisms are put on a balancebeam across from the so-called Hungarian positives (as they pertain to American interests) they are –in your opinion– lacking.

As I said before, Bell started her speech with good words that weren’t throwaway niceties. She did acknowledge the good coming from Hungary.

The bottom line for you, buddy, is that there is more good than bad in Hungarian/American relations. What I dont understand is why (or how) you dont get the optics of Colleen Bell’s notwithstanding speech.

How about some CB street? “All that good shit NWS Orbie, a lot of bad shit be happening here. Know what I mean, boy?”

MAGYARKOZÓ

buddy
Guest

“You started this subthread with a paragraph [“I think what is missing …”] that basically states your premise that Bell’s speech is much ado about nothing.”

Your interpretation is incorrect. I don’t even know how you could possibly interpret it that way.

“The bottom line for you, buddy, is that there is more good than bad in Hungarian/American relations.”

What I’m saying is that the US is broadly achieving its foreign policy interests in this country, which the Ambassador pointed out, though there are some other things they don’t like. I don’t think the first point has gotten much attention during the coverage of Bell’s speech. That’s basically my argument.

Istvan
Guest
Buddy has a point about the US getting cooperation from Hungary in some cases. I think the MOL Kalegran Ltd., an E&P Company and subsidiary of MOL Group in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which has provided direct assist the Kurdistan Regional Government is one of many examples of cooperation. Ambassador Kounalakis in her book discusses the role the US government played in getting MOL into Kurdistan. This deal has worked for three parties, Hungary, the US by providing money for the Kurds to fight the Islamic State, and Kurdistan by promoting its oil exports. As I have stated before the US played a role in helping to establish the TEK. It was part of an overall strategy to increase anti-terrorist forces in Central Europe and the Balkans. NATO cooperation has not deteriorated further, so at least that is good. Putin has now gone global and seems to be losing his focus on Ukraine or the present, so the pressure on Hungary on that front is somewhat reduced for the present. I suspect that blatant shake downs of US Corporations with interests in Hungary has been dramatically reduced. Which was the policy objective of Goodfriend and the US government. I… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

For those who read Hungarian this interview with Charles Gati discussing our Ambassdor’s comments merits reading see http://nol.hu/belfold/nemzeti-erdek-helyett-handabanda-1572371

Hömpölyög a Kongó
Guest
Hömpölyög a Kongó

Right, handa-banda. I think the actions of this radical right-winger is a wee bit more than just handa-banda.

This stupid style meaning (in late 2015!) OK naughty boy from the countryside who became a strongman, I understand that you do it because of domestic reasons (which by the way isn’t true), that you are so smart, we get it that you fooled us, but now it’s time to end it kind of naive appeasement is loughed at inside Fidesz. And it should be.

webber
Guest
The latest news: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY—According to law enforcement personnel and dozens of distraught eyewitnesses, packs of savage, ferocious Fidesz Members of Parliament are currently running loose through Hungary’s capital, causing mayhem and bloodshed on a mass scale following the departure of their longtime caretaker, Viktor Orbán. The crazed and vicious Fidesz representatives, who are said to be howling wildly and wearing the tattered remains of business attire, reportedly worked themselves into a frenzy after Orbán failed to attend to them earlier today and subsequently broke free from the session of parliament. Sources confirmed that the elected officials have since carved a trail of chaos and destruction through the city, attacking civilians along Andrássy út, running amok through metro tunnels, overturning cars, and storming numerous office buildings. Hundreds are believed dead. “At this time, we can confirm that we have captured MPs Sándor Lezsák, and Gergely Gulyás, but the other 222 escaped parliamentarians remain at large and should be considered extremely dangerous,” said Budapest’s police spokeswoman Sára Kovács amid piles of wreckage and large pools of blood on the floor of Parliament, explaining that the carnage began there when an agitated member of KDNP picked up a Hungarian flag stand and… Read more »
spectator
Guest
Some addition to the different interpretations: One of the things what I particularly liked of Ambassador Bell’s speech is this sentence: ” We can relegate nationalist, intolerant rhetoric to the dust heap, where it belongs.” And about the person whom that rhetoric belongs to – even if Orbán doesn’t care what the US concerned about, there are significant many of the players do, and it could hit Orbán where it hurts. What do you think, why she emphasised the economy in general, and the US investments in particular, before she came to: “And some investors are concerned about stability in the tax and regulatory environment.  I was in business for more than two decades, and I know from experience that the links between good governance and the prospects for economic growth are very clear.  Companies will invest where there is transparency and predictability, where there are free, fair, and transparent market conditions.  Investors must be able to predict regulatory and tax effects on their businesses.  Otherwise, the costs of uncertainty will price many potential investors out of a market.” In my reading this is a clear warning whit quite practical consequences, covers the “or else” pretty much. You see, there… Read more »
hilda adorjan
Guest

One would not hope for a more interesting speech from a person and country with lack of information of Hx. of central Europe & Hungary. Hungarians deled with the western politics since 1914 &. for centuries “radio free Europe and voice of America” & ect. sues was the prime importance in 1956. It would be a lot more correct if the US would be more interested employing persons with prime political ethics even to countries like Hungary.I love my “old” country and all my relatives and friends never been happier than at this time with the present government of Mr Victor Orban. Which is more than I can say of …….?????

Guest

Really? Your friends and family are happy in Orbanistan?
So they are well connected?
I’m asking because the people I know (and I live in Hungary half of the year …) are very unhappy with the ongoing corruption – but if you’re a part of it, it’s nice for you of course …

Kormos
Guest

Yes Wolfi “It’s corruption if you are not in”;otherwise it’s just usual business. I gather that you are one of the unhappy persons in Hungary. Is the exchange rate not good enough for you or you want more economic migrants in Heviz? I know there are not enough policemen to control the traffic in Heviz. It’s terrible. I really feel for you.

webber
Guest

So, Kormos are you one of Hungary’s “winners” who would be facing prison time in most Western countries for embezzlement, inside trading, or getting a fixed contract (etc.)?

The vast majority of Hungarians HATE people like that.

Guest
Why should I be unhappy in Hungary? already told one of the crazies on pol.hu that I don’t live “under Orbán” – we travel to Germany whenever we like and back to Hungary when we’re in the mood for it – we have two houses … And I have enough money to live the good life here – so why should I care if I hear people complaining? This reminds me of the holidays I took with my family when I was much younger: Because of the climate and for financial reasons we went in the summer to Spain – did I feel oppressed by the Franco regime? Not really – as a tourist … And we also went to Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia – not real examples of democracy … And later we had a “summer residence” ( a caravan) in Yugoslavia, that also was very nice because the people there wanted/needed your money and did a lot for that … But after one visit in East Germany I swore that I’d never go again as a tourist to a “Real Socialist” country – so I came to Hungary the first time in the mid nineties. PS: Do you… Read more »
Kormos
Guest

@Webber and Wolfi: I spend a few month in Hungary every year. I do not have any financial interest in Hungary. Thus I am not part of the “corruption” or any other business interest. There isn’t any faultless government on this globe.Due to my historical baggage, I am a lot happier with the present Hungarian Government.During my stay in Hungary I was unable to detect corruption, but I must admit, I wasn’t looking for it. I see the old Country is developing step by step, year after year.I find using “kormany ablak” (window to Government office) a lot easier to handle paperwork. Vehicular traffic is more disciplined. Webber, you mentioned last year that I do not know Hungarian History.I agree that you perhaps know more. I still maintain; American planes were bombing Budapest and killing civilians during the end of WWII. US did not help at all in 1956. US never raised one word during the corrupt Aproistan time.
The present Middle-East mayhem was caused by failed US policies and military actions. Of course I would not be able to change your ideologically slanted views, but that’s OK. Keep on regurgitating.

webber
Guest
Kormos: Certainly American planes were bombing Budapest during WWII. So were British ones. And Soviet troops, assisted by Romanian ones, put the city under siege. So what? It was a war. It was the Hungarian government that declared war on the United States, not the other way around. You declare war on another country, you get bombed. Surprise, surprise. Are you really upset about that? (are you really Hungarian – I had doubts the last time you were here, and I do now, too). I have never heard a German complain that the US bombed their country. What’s up with you? I like the kormany ablak as well. I’ve never met anyone outside the country who knows these exist. Most people in the country have no clue (there was nobody at the last one I visited). What development in Hungary do you like? Name something, please, other than kormany ablakok (don’t mention the new metro – that was the previous govt.’s project, not this one’s). How do you like all the beggars at Astoria? How about the fact that the government still has not opened the secret police files from the communist period? Kind of weird, isn’t it? How do… Read more »
webber
Guest

I just wonder which oblast Kormos lives in?

webber
Guest

Кормош – “the corrupt Aproistan time” – чтоoo???

Kormos
Guest

It did not cross my mind that you might have belonged to Apro family. Sorry about that. I guess you were also forced to learn cyrillic alphabet. Congrats.

exTor
Guest
What do American planes bombing Budapest during WW2 have to do with anything, Kormos, other than nonrelevant history? The point of this forum is the here and now. And that means the current Fidesz government. More history from you that is irrelevant to Hungary. Yes, I would agree with you that the Americans had the most to do with the disintegration of the Levant. [Near East, Middle East, Whatever East] Knowing that bit of history wont help Hungary. Understanding current reality will go a longer way, Kormos. Know that Viktor Orbán manipulated the refugee situation, the result of which is that he’s viewed as a hero by the Magyar public for saving Christian Hungary. That wont earn Orbán the Nobel Peace Prize, but it will likely get him another ticket into the next government in 2018. Yes, corruption exists everywhere. So does poverty, yet we dont talk about poverty with a ‘that’s-the-way-it-goes’ attitude. Nor should we about corruption. We should talk against it, work against it. Visitors to Hungary wont notice corruption, unless they have runins with the law, as I did when I didn’t have a ticket for my bike, as I took the HÉV out of Csepel. Cost… Read more »
Guest

Kormos ‘ remark re 1956 reminds me of another (living in Canada) Hungarian’s whining on pol.hu some time ago:
Why didn’t the Americans send some of their soldiers in Austria to help us?
And I had to remind her that Austria signed a treaty in 1955 that made it a neutral state, so there were no longer American, Russian, British nor French soldiers there – not like in the Third Man …
She didn’t know that and couldn’t/wouldn’t believe it!
Again the Hungarian Syndrome …

PS:
I’m so happy that my wife is totally different – her family was neither Horthy-aligned nor Communist, she couldn’t go to university because her parents were considered Kulaks and she didn’t have a career at the office because she was not a Party member, but the Party functionaries (some kind of illiterate) asked her to write letters for them …

The stories she tells about those times – unbelievable, but Orbán’s ilk are not better!

wpDiscuz