U.S. Undersecretary Sarah Sewall in Hungary

Sarah Sewall, U.S. undersecretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, paid a visit to Hungary at the end of May. As one of the Hungarian papers noted, she was the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit Hungary since the summer of 2011, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a quick trip to Hungary.

Before Sewall was appointed to this post in February 2014, she taught at the Kennedy School and at the Naval War College. She served as deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Defense during the Clinton administration. She is a graduate of Harvard College and as a Rhodes scholar got her Ph.D. at Oxford.

Sewall’s name should be familiar to those who follow U.S.-Hungarian relations because, for about a week at the end of 2014, Hungarian papers gave her extensive coverage. The reason was a speech she delivered at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In it she announced that the U.S. government had set aside $100 million to combat corruption in Central and East European countries because “corruption alienates and angers citizens, which can cause them to lose faith in the state, or, worse, fuel insurgencies and violent extremism.” Therefore, helping these countries fight corruption is in the interest of the United States. The Hungarian reaction to her speech was antagonistic. Viktor Orbán interpreted the U.S. “action plan” as a hostile act by which the United States had declared Hungary to be a “field of operation.”

Undersecretary Sarah Sewall / Magyar Nemzet / Photo: Attila Béres

Undersecretary Sarah Sewall / Magyar Nemzet / Photo: Attila Béres

Sewall’s visit to Hungary was a first for the undersecretary. She met with government officials, opposition leaders, journalists, and judges. She delivered a speech at the Magyar Újságírók Országos Szövetsége (MÚOSZ), which was described by the English-language government propaganda publication Hungary Today as thinly-veiled criticism of the Hungarian government. Magyar Idők sent a journalist to the event, but his summary of the speech was brief and greatly toned down.

Since the speech is available online, it is not necessary to summarize it at length, but here are a few snippets. Sewall emphasized that democracy must be defended “not only against threats from without, but also inevitable pressures from within.” Or, “we have seen how demagogues can exploit difficult moments for political gain by playing to our worst human impulses and targeting the constitutional rights and institutions designed to limit the power of those impulses.” Or, “We all know that, at times, democratic majorities can stray from democratic values. By upholding individual rights, however, democracies protect the few from the abuse of the many, and empower them to challenge majority views that conflict with democratic values.” Or, “as undemocratic forces seek to consolidate power and escape accountability, they often target independent media and other checks and balances.” Or, “They also use corruption to corrode the rule of law and buy off opponents. Or they push through significant changes to laws and the constitution with little or no consultation with citizens and opposition parties.” Surely, anyone who’s familiar with the situation in Hungary will recognize that Sewall was talking about the Orbán government throughout her speech.

Ádám Csillag, the man who without any compensation records all important events staged in defense of Hungarian democracy, also videotaped the speech.

Of course, I quoted only a handful of sentences from Sewall’s speech, but the undersecretary covered issues like free elections, free media, checks and balances, and the need for an independent judiciary. She fielded questions concerning the independence of the Constitutional Court and the electoral law, which cannot be a guarantee of fair elections. Her staff had prepared her well because she even knew that “a Hungarian television station reported that government officials had ‘instructed’ senior managers on which politicians to interview and which topics to cover.” She was talking about the head of HírTV.

We also know quite a bit about what transpired between László Trócsányi, minister of justice, and Sarah Sewall. Magyar Idők summarized the ministry’s side of the story, from which we learn that, in addition to Trócsányi, Gergely Prőhle was also present. Prőhle is one of those diplomats who was dismissed during the summer of 2014 when, during Tibor Navracsics’s brief tenure as foreign minister, the administration got rid of close to 200 diplomats from the ministry and replaced them with political loyalists. Prőhle, as far as I know, for months didn’t know what his fate would be, but eventually Zoltán Balog, minister of human resources, created a post for him. He is now deputy undersecretary responsible for international and European Union affairs. What that means in a ministry dealing with education, healthcare, sports, and Roma affairs I wouldn’t know. It seems, however, that whenever the Orbán government wants to produce “a moderate face” for foreign consumption, they drag out Prőhle.

Even from Magyar Idők’s summary it is clear that Sewall brought up uncomfortable questions about the state of constitutional guarantees. Trócsányi assured her that all disputed questions had been settled during the second Orbán government and even Hungary’s “European partners” consider the case closed. The minister gave a lecture to Sewall on the new Hungarian constitution and the institutions that safeguard basic rights. As for questions concerning the freedom of the media, Hungary settled all those issues with the European Council and the Council of Europe. The last sentence of the communiqué stated that “the two sides agreed that Hungarian-American relations are very extensive and they are solid foundations for further cooperation which both sides find important. There was also consensus about the necessity of a dialogue in the spirit of alliances.”

Sewall’s own report on the meeting wasn’t that upbeat. She described the meeting to Magyar Nemzet as “an honest and occasionally tough talk.” Both sides had an opportunity to explain their positions, but “there are many points where the Hungarian and the American positions differ.” After probing for specifics, Sewall brought up the legal changes introduced in the last few years. She also expressed her dismay over the conspiracy theories the Hungarian government concocts. She specifically objected to János Lázár’s accusation that President Barack Obama wants to flood Europe with Muslim immigrants.

I often comment on the inordinate number of articles that can appear on Hungarian-language internet sites in response to certain events. Literally hundreds in a day or two. On Sarah Sewall’s hard-hitting speech, however, I found only a handful. Few reporters showed up at her speech in the headquarters of the Hungarian Journalists’ Association. To my great surprise, HVG  didn’t send anyone to cover the story. The short article they published was based on reports by Origo and Népszabadság. As for the parties, Fidesz reprinted the ministry of justice’s communiqué but MSZP didn’t consider Sewall’s visit important enough to mention. The only party that issued a statement of its own was the Demokratikus Koalicíó (DK). Attila Ara-Kovács, head of DK’s foreign affairs cabinet, gave it a witty title: “The United States sent a message that Orbán would also understand.” It is a takeoff on the latest mega-poster of the government that encourages Hungarians to vote in the forthcoming referendum on “compulsory quotas.” The poster reads: “Let’s send a message to Brussels so they would understand.”

A footnote to this story. Right beside Ambassador Bell was an invited guest: János Martonyi, former foreign minister of Viktor Orbán. I would love to know why American diplomats feel compelled to invite him to all functions in which there is an American presence. Why do they think that he, unlike other members of present and past administrations of Viktor Orbán, is a perfect democrat? All told, this man served under Viktor Orbán for eight years and served him loyally. I have never heard him express any misgivings about the direction in which Viktor Orbán was taking the country. He defended him at every turn. Yet, regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats run the United States there is János Martonyi, everybody’s favorite. If I just knew why.

 June 2, 2016
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Member
You can talk day and night to the Hungarian politicians and most of the people, regardless of their affiliation, party of belief system, but they are happier to consume the home brewed corrupt and lawless political view and don’t give a damn about what other people say, outside of Hungary, unless it is criticism. Then they are all up in arms, because they swear to it, that except for themselves, nobody in the entire World understand Hungarians. Hungarians are the dumbest, most stupid people, because THEY REFUSE TO LEARN FROM ANYONE WHO KNOWS MORE THAN THEM AND DEMONSTRATES IT WITH GOOD RESULTS TOO. Ákos Kertész described the Hungarians and their attitude perfectly. He had to emigrate for it, his compatriots wanted to maim him, kill him, drown him, just as they did with all other historical figures who were critical of them in the past. The hill on Buda is named after StGellert, who wanted to teach Hungarians Christianity and Christian values, such as respect and love of each other and responsibilities to build their own lives, alas they put him in a barrel with nails spiked through from the outside, sealed him and rolled him down from the hill… Read more »
John3
Guest

To Gyula Bognar: it is time to end our miserable whining. Let us come up with the real diagnosis.
Poor Ms. Sarah Sewall.
She has to sharpen her tools.
In the middle of the weak, anti-intellectual officials of Hungary, she will not find allies.
The Hungarians are not stupid, but their leaders have been duped by the top crooks of this world.
The USA administration needs new vision to handle the current cold wars, hot wars, genocides, and disinformation floods.
Obama has failed us completely.
Hillary will fail us, too.
Trump will not be different in the ongoing tragic governance.

Member

It is not a US president’s, Senator’s or Representative’s job to solve and fix the problems, the Hungarians keep on amassing.
“Every nation has the Government it is fit for.” (Joseph de Maistre 1753-1821)
Hungarians elected the most corrupt, fascist maffia thieves that exist in Europe, THREE TIMES, since the death of Mussolini and Hitler.
If they don’t like them, do something about it!

Guest
“The Hungarians are not stupid, but their leaders have been duped by the top crooks of this world. “ Occasionally when commenters have leveled accusations against the Hungarian people I have written a comment to the effect that there is nothing wrong with the Hungarian people. The fault is with the Hungarian politicians. I have been particularly upset about the opinion held by many that the Hungarians deserve the misfortunes brought upon them by greedy, power hungry politicians who won elections by insincere promises and never tried to educate the electorate about contemporary realities. If I have understood the above quotation right its aim is to shift the blame further on from Hungarian “leaders”, probably an euphemism for politicians, to the “top crooks of the world”. In other words the benevolent Hungarian politicians have been lead astray by foreigners. I assume by Putin first of all. I don´t buy it. The Hungarians have an unfortunate cultural inheritance of submission passed from generation to generation though centuries. This inheritance is non-biological. It does not maker them stupid. It makes them passive, ignorant, xenophobic and unreceptive to the idea of the common good. The Hungarian people need leaders to guide them out… Read more »
john 3
Guest

To Jean P,

I repeat the Hungarians are stupid.

Most of them are great people.

In general, the poor and small nations are targets of the big crooks.

The major predator has been the Russian leadership. it messed up most African, Asian, Latin American, Arab and E. European leaders.

They weaponized the target nations to weaken the West by local genocides, and refugee waves.

Very few leaders could resist like Danish or Finish leaders in WWII, or the Czechs sometimes.

Obama and the rest of the Western leaders have failed to defend us against these plots.

This is my sincere diagnosis.

Member
John3, You claim that it is the rest of the world’ fault that Hungary has the problems they have? The US, top crooks as you say? But then whose fault is it when Hungarian seniors are going hungry? Whose fault is it that Hungarian school children don’t get a proper education and are also going hungry? Whose fault is it that the average Hungarian family cannot work enough hours in a day to make ends meet? Whose fault is it when they have to migrate to the west in order to get a decent pay even for the same job as they were doing back home? Who should they blame for all of the tax they have to pay on everything? Who should they blame when there aren’t enough health care professionals available to take care of them in the hospitals? Hungarians have not the US nor Brussels to blame for these things, they have to look to their supposed “democratically elected officials” and wonder where the money is going. They must look at why is it that politicians and their families and their friends are becoming rich all while they and their families suffer in poverty, even though they… Read more »
John3
Guest

Sarah Sewall could have been a Messiah for Hungary, but her works point to a sympathetic attitude towards the perpetrators.

Instead of supporting the freedom of the ordinary people, she advocates peace at all price, even if it includes the oppression by the aggressive elements.

https://www.hks.harvard.edu/content/search/(offset)/10?SearchText=sarah+sewall&subtree=2&limit=10

Guest

???

Member
Live long and prosper
Guest
Live long and prosper

Hahahaha

Guest

Mr. Szijjarto with the upset stomach losing 4.5 billion because of the Russian sanctions. Now that’s for just little old Crimea. Hope he’s looking ahead for life support if Vlad ever bags France and Spain in his pocket…. ..;-)…

Alex Kuli
Guest

“Regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats run the United States there is János Martonyi, everybody’s favorite. If I just knew why.”

He portrays himself as a brave defender of Trans-Atlantic values, speaks excellent English, and has a funky mustache. He partners with big-name UK law firms such as Baker & McKenzie, which handled major privatization deals back in the day. Sometimes, image counts for a lot.

petofi
Guest

Martonyi and the Hungarian expertise with ‘facade’…

So they trot the old-world mustachio out to give visitors the verisimilitude of ‘genteelHungary’–it’s virtues and grand hospitality intact.

Dealing in appearances–the specialty of Hungarians.

petofi
Guest

Immediate message on the tape…

The subliminal signal of these asshole Hungarians: no EU flag…as if Hungary was laready out of the organization.

Disgusting.

petofi
Guest

Talk about baptism by fire!
Who in the State Department thought that Sarah Sewall deserved the punishment of engaging the Lilliputian brains of Hungarian government officials and ‘intelligentsia’…?

(I’ll bet she had to change her clothing, and disinfect her hands, after that meeting..)

petofi
Guest

Does anyone know if Szigetvari had stepped up, like an equal, to face Sewall and declare that he, too, had a PhD, just like Sewall?

Guest
London Calling! János Martonyi has the dreaded ‘Nomenklatura’ ‘Old Communist’ moustache! Just like Ader and co – the throwback communist families that still hold the power. He looks like the old bank-manager duffer in one of our retro-comedies here in England called ‘Dad’s Army’ who runs the platoon of civil defenders who were too old to enlist in the army during WWII. Except he is not so harmless. I believe he is one of the reasons the Orban government won’t open the ‘files’. He’s managed to play down his role as an ‘informer’ so far but doubt lingers on … and on. It is a mystery that the US seems to encourage his ‘endorsement’ – maybe his involvement in International Corporates gives him the stamp of US approval . It just devalues their integrity. Just as the BBC who made a very good analysis of the EU yesterday but completely devalued it with too much input from chief lying toad Zoltán Kovács. This ‘stamp of approval ‘ immediately dismisses the integrity of the content. When you sup with the devil you should use a long spoon. I’m not surprised few Hungarian reporters attended – very few ‘have’ workable English. I’ve… Read more »
Guest

Re: ‘They were using the long spoon’

For sure.

‘Men that make
Envy and crooked malice nourishment
Dare bite the best’… Henry VIII

12Dalma12
Guest
As always the US is clueless and wants desperately to appease. Orban long ago won. I agree that inviting Martonyi is totally absurd (but it is part of the appeasement policy). Martonyi is a former communist spy yet he is beloved by the diplomatic community. It is apparently very easy to fool diplomats. For the Americans a person who can use a fork and a knife and doesn’t fart at a dinner is already a top connection. Martonyi’s family (his children) is in bed with Orban’s family when it comes to looting Hungary (for starters just read the article in Magyar Narancs this week about the dealings of the Orban family and certain Turkish oligarchs). This lady seems like a reserved scholar. The usual well-educated Westerner who has risen the ranks given her credential but who has no clue about the realities of Hungary (or Eastern Europe). She and her aidies are no match for cynical Eastern European siloviki and politicians. How can anyone seriously think that she can get results, any results? One of the reasons why HVG and some opposition parties failed to show up at the talk was – besides their obvious laziness – is that they… Read more »
Guest

The US is smarter than you think – and the handover to Hillary will be more than comprehensive.

And Bill is on the case.

And btw…. Orban is losing.

gergo
Guest

You’re dreaming, Charles. Hillary will never be president. Trump almost overtook Clinton and Clinton is just not being talked about, she is nowhere in media (except when her email issues are the topic or the fact that she is unable to react to Trump, she just doesn’t know what to do), and nobody cares about her. She is boring and way too establishment. Trump is also disliked but at least he gets the media exposure and he is something new. Sanders may become president, but it’s very difficult for him to get the nomination in the first place and Florida is way too conservative for a self-declared Socialist (and if Florida is out then the options are very limited). Plus I don’t think foreign policy would be a priority for Sanders, nor for Trump.

FreeWheeling
Guest

“Hillary will never be president.”

Thinking that the US election is already been decided almost half a year before it will take place shows that you are naive and not to be taken seriously. Sober minded professionals, even those who favour those on the right-wing of the spectrum, think that Trump has less than 30% chance of winning at this point. (see electionbettingodds.com)

I would not even dare to presume who will be the next election as a lot can occur including some unthinkable surprises.

But back to the point: Ms. Sewell is an experienced and highly-placed government official who has served in two different Democratic administrations. Whichever Democratic administration in the next decade or so would have a tough time not placing her in a position of weight within their foreign policy teams, whether it be in the UN, State Department, NSC, or Defense Department.

milesaway
Guest

Yes, Ms. Sewell is indeed experienced and smart. She is extremely well educated and with a Rhodes scholarship under her belt she is super elite. But are these enough to deliver results when dealing with cynical tyrants who obviously care about their own continued survival more than the US will ever care about them? I have very serious doubts.

Look, if Martonyi and Pröhle (and by proxy Orban) can still fool Americans as the “reasonable guys whom we can deal with” than the US diplomacy is hopeless. Alas facing sad truths is never easy and especially not for the US foreign relations establishment.

Guest

Why should the USA care too much about an insignificant crazy Balkan state and its mafia government?
As long as Hungary stays in NATO and the EU, there’s no big problem – and the USA know that Fidesz needs the EU’s money, so they won’t leave …
What happens in the end is a different question – just remember Mussolini and Ceaucescu …

FreeWheeling
Guest

…if Martonyi and Pröhle (and by proxy Orban) can still fool Americans as the “reasonable guys whom we can deal with”…

Pray tell us, how exactly did they do that? It would be great contribution of unique insight to this blog.

Unfortunately you are drawing a hasty conclusion. Do you really think that this is the first time that Ms. Sewell has had to deal with unsavoury go-betweens and “cynical tyrants”?

If the Hungarian people truly don’t like a true democracy then they’ll continue to follow the same course and there’s nothing that the USA will be able to do about it except to protect its interests within the region. After all, there are other nations in the region whose leaders and their followers aren’t so easily turned by Putin.

Guest

Do the Fidesz trolls here really hope for Trump as POTUS?
They might get very disappointed if this really happens – Trump is an isolationist and doesn’t care at all about those little insignificant Balkan states – so then Hungary would totally be at the mercy of the EU …
And if the EU wakes up finally or should get into trouble (which some of the Fidesz lunatics are praying for it seems) then the flow of money into Hungary would be shut off and all hell might break loose …

czakczak
Guest

The North Koreans and the Russians openly support Trump. If Putin could fool George W. Bush and he was supported by many paranoid (though as it turned out clueless) neocons, then he’s sure he could fool Trump and his people (many whom are pro-Russian anyway).

Trump is like Berlusconi, a consummate wheeler-dealer, uninhibited showman and Orban and Putin have good experiences with such men, that’s all.

Guest

Nonsense from a Fidesz troll again!

She said it quite clearly and in strong words that the USA doesn’t approve of what’s going on in Hungary – have you never heard of “Diplomatic Language”?

Guest

Good riposte to the goings on in Magyarorszag by Ms. Sewell representing the United States. The communication was appropriate and to the point. No muss no fuss I think. I hope the firmness and professionalism continues with US communications to Orban and co. I’d say the US has their number and machinations.

No use in replicating the apparently new Magyar diplo ‘style’ which in a way shows no ‘style’ as diplomacy is restricted to only one room now in the house of Fidesz and probably social media where the easy and efficient dissemination of propaganda puts diplomatic corps out to pasture. 5 tweets and looks on Fbook and the earth moves where the diplos are now government ‘overhead’ and mouth simply from a defined script.

Guest

Yes Istvan (below!) – exactly.

Colleen Bell May 17 at the CEU:

“That consistency and legitimacy is the basis of our position toward Ukraine as well. We consider Ukraine’s sovereignty to be supreme, and Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be illegal. Period.

Nothing from Sarah Sewall.

Not exactly singing from the same song sheet.

She doesn’t see Orban as a Trojan.

Istvan
Guest
I am familiar with the work of Dr. Sarah Sewall primarily through her interaction with (PKSOI)Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute at the US Army War College which was established in 1993 and her authorship of the MARO Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook. ( http://carrcenter.hks.harvard.edu/files/carrcenter/files/maro_handbook.pdf ) She has the highest security clearances and would have access to intelligence information directly relating to Russian penetration of Hungarian security operations prior to her visit. I found it interesting that her presentation totally avoided the Russian question even using toned down diplomatic language to come near discussing that issue. She was given the opportunity to opine on the Russian question by the reporter for the Budapest Beacon who directly referenced Fidesz commentators who mimic the Russian line that the USA is strategically facilitating European instability by promoting Islamic emigration in “cahoots” with Soros. She simply said it wasn’t true and declined to go further. When asked by a reporter directly whether or not the US government still believed Hungary was a democracy or had effectively evolved into something else she said point blank – Hungary remains a democracy. Her repeated references to checks and balances took into no consideration what so… Read more »
PeterArany
Guest
Orban and his people (just like Putin) do not get diplomatic language. It’s a cultural issue. They only get powerful action. Anything less than a clear and credible threat of a tough action is laughed at or simply misunderstood. Hungarians are not very good at English language understatements and niceties. They can’t make much of those. Orban on the other hand does understand raw power. If Putin calls threatening to turn off the tap or to publish Orban’s secret service documents from prior to 1990 then he gets Orban’s attention right away. What’s more Putin doesn’t even have to refer to these, given Putin’s personality the threat is always implied. As such Orban obliges (it also helps that Orban is a real admirer of Putin, and of Erdogan too). The US can send as many diplomats to Hungary as it wants to but Orban won’t do shit. At most he can play a bit of backchannel peacock dance to buy time and have some fun (hoping that a new administration will need years to turn to Hungary again). Either the US gets tough and acts credible, and with determination or it might as well save the cost of another transatlantic… Read more »
Member

“It is a very firm belief of Orban’s that negotiations, compromises, diplomacy are for pathetic losers”

Orbán does these things as well, don’t kid yourself:
-Hungary always votes for EU sanctions against Russia
-Internet tax proposal rescinded
-Sunday store closing law rescinded
-I. Vida tossed out on her butt
and so on

It’s no big deal though – we all have to make compromises and negotiations to survive in this world. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that Orbán is somehow different in this regard.

Guest
Re: ‘But the United States cannot live with a NATO member that is a Russian Trojan horse and a Hungary that may covertly support the Russian annexation of the Crimea’ That sure will be difficult but we must live with the current reality. And arguably the only way to take down the ‘Trojan horse’ is to dispose of it from the inside. A tall order under the already contentious and embattled communication environment between the two countries. If we are in a ‘war’, one piece of ground it is being fought on is the one of ‘ideas’. We won one ‘war’ back in the late 18th with a confluence of pressure, attitude and belief in the face of repeated disrespect and disregard for an ‘idea’. Once again in a somewhat different context history repeats where disdain for an idea presents itself with all its challenges. Magyarorszag would do well to constantly think while continually throwing down the gauntlet against the bogeyman West. There are some fights that may give a little victory here and there so some Magyar ‘general’ can erect a triumphal arch in his name as the ‘plebs and patricians’ praise him on the Campus Martius. But at… Read more »
John 3
Guest

Remember, the co-writer was a descendant of Hungarians immigrants, John A. Kardos, Col. ret.

Member
I have a lot more questions than Eva@, but I have even less answers than Istvan@ usually does. The only thing is clear by now that the government of Hungary asked the US government to be silent in public diplomacy and for some mysterious reasons it seem to comply with this suggestion (with the mild exception of Mrs.. See-wall). There should be a big enough cause to do so. What is it than? For what Hungary is important enough to risk a big media-bang right in the middle of an election campaign back in the US? We know for sure that the Alien Sinister of Foreign Trade visited the US three times just recently without any obvious or explicable reasons. The same happened to great O with even less justification. Than we had Mr.Lavrov in Budapest, again no obvious cause. Than came Sarah (no Palin, thanks God). Am I supposed to believe that the U.S. undersecretary made all the way this three-day journey to see MoJ Trocsanyi? I do not even grasp why Sarah had to visit Budapest in the first place when she could have chosen a way friendlier place for her regional anti-corruption meeting. Maybe these reports are… Read more »
webber
Guest

Maybe she delivered a message in private – a “do this, or we will do that” sort of message.

Member

Sure, Webber, I more than agree. What I am saying is that such a level US official would not travel without assurances for a high (highest?) level meting with the counterpart. So I don’t buy it (disregard the US Embassy note and posting the speech).
I am not surprised that we don’t have any US source reporting on Petike’s endeavors in the US but even they keep silent back in Hungary; (see, not a single word of her visit here: http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade/news?page=2 or here: http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade/news?page=2)
Moreover they put a silencer on the mouth of the “opposition” media, too, Petike’s way: http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade/news/statement-by-the-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade-regarding-the-hungarian-delegation-s-visit-to-washington (just an example)

sbath
Guest

Zorroaster, a very important observation. The US does not openly criticize Hungary (even when Soros is attacked on a daily basis). Why is the US appeasing Orban? That’s the big question.

For Orban, this is a huge support and the most he can get from the US which for him is irrelevant as it is far away.

If the US says something in private then rest assured it is just disregarded.

Orban won. He somehow silenced the Americans who are otherwise powerless over him, what more can Orban ask for?

Member

Sarah Seawalls’s speech and answers were expertly nuanced.

Accounting for the lack of any checks and balances within Hungary; this type of intervention is the best warning Fidesz can understand.

Their actions, being monitored via a serious world power, can, hopefully, temper some of their personal fanacial greed.

Sarah stopped short of making the connection between corruption and state corruption, although it was implicit.

sbath
Guest

Implicit to whom? There is no way Hungarians will get such subtle messages and even if they do get the messages they will plead ignorance (so that the US will conclude that given the cultural differences the Hungarians unfortunately did not get the message). In both cases the result is that Orban, Szijjarto et al will, as we say it in Hungary, shit on the such subtle, private warnings. Meanwhile the caravan goes on which is the number one objective of every politician.

Guest

Yes, the caravan goes on – until it reaches the Russian border …
And then?
Good bye, Hungary, from the EU into Putin’s Eurasian Empire?
Have fun there!

Guest

Re: ‘ In both cases the result is that Orban, Szijjarto et al will, as we say it in Hungary, shit on the such subtle, private warnings’

Such ‘diplomacy’, eh? I call it ‘mook diplomacy’ since there us nothing of substance in the ridiculous attacking retorts attempting to shackle the US in constant defensive positiins. Their vacuous communications are just used to get a rise so to speak.

Probably good to remember the extent of vociferous and unyielding communication is directly proportional to the extent of how much the Fidesz ‘consiglieres’ can’t get the sharp US bone out of their throat. They gag bad when they can’t muscle somebody.

András B. Göllner
Guest

@ Dalma 12

For the Americans a person who can use a fork and a knife and doesn’t fart at a dinner is already a top connection.

I think the qualifications required of Martonyi are not as stringent as Dalma suggests. I had the bad fortune of standing next to the ex minister at a dinner-reception. In his case the only demand, it seems is, the ability to use a knife and fork.

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