Miklós Haraszti: I watched a populist leader rise in my country–That’s why I’m genuinely worried for America

Miklós Haraszti, author and director of research on human rights at the Center for European Neighborhood Studies of Central European University, is a familiar name to readers of  Hungarian Spectrum, both as an author and as a commentator. This opinion piece originally appeared in The Washington Post (December 28, 2016). I’m grateful for the opportunity to share it.

♦ ♦ ♦

Hungary, my country, has in the past half-decade morphed from an exemplary post-Cold War democracy into a populist autocracy. Here are a few eerie parallels that have made it easy for Hungarians to put Donald Trump on their political map: Prime Minister Viktor Orban has depicted migrants as rapists, job-stealers, terrorists and “poison” for the nation, and built a vast fence along Hungary’s southern border. The popularity of his nativist agitation has allowed him to easily debunk as unpatriotic or partisan any resistance to his self-styled “illiberal democracy,” which he said he modeled after “successful states” such as Russia and Turkey.

No wonder Orban feted Trump’s victory as ending the era of “liberal non-democracy,” “the dictatorship of political correctness” and “democracy export.” The two consummated their political kinship in a recent phone conversation; Orban is invited to Washington, where, they agreed, both had been treated as “black sheep.”

When friends encouraged me to share my views on the U.S. election, they may have looked for heartening insights from a member of the European generation that managed a successful transition from Communist autocracy to liberal constitutionalism. Alas, right now I find it hard to squeeze hope from our past experiences, because halting elected post-truthers in countries split by partisan fighting is much more difficult than achieving freedom where it is desired by virtually everyone.

But based on our current humiliating condition, I may observe what governing style to expect from the incoming populist in chief and what fallacies should be avoided in countering his ravages.

A first vital lesson from my Hungarian experience: Do not be distracted by a delusion of impending normalization. Do not ascribe a rectifying force to statutes, logic, necessities or fiascoes. Remember the frequently reset and always failed illusions attached to an eventual normalization of Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Orban.

Call me a typical Hungarian pessimist, but I think hope can be damaging when dealing with populists. For instance, hoping that unprincipled populism is unable to govern. Hoping that Trumpism is self-deceiving, or self-revealing, or self-defeating. Hoping to find out if the president-elect will have a line or a core, or if he is driven by beliefs or by interests. Or there’s the Kremlinology-type hope that Trump’s party, swept to out-and-out power by his charms, could turn against him. Or hope extracted, oddly, from the very fact that he often disavows his previous commitments.

Viktor Orbán (Thierry Charlier/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Populists govern by swapping issues, as opposed to resolving them. Purposeful randomness, constant ambush, relentless slaloming and red herrings dropped all around are the new normal. Their favorite means of communication is provoking conflict. They do not mind being hated. Their two basic postures of “defending” and “triumphing” are impossible to perform without picking enemies.

I was terrified to learn that pundits in the United States have started to elaborate on possible benefits of Trump’s stances toward Russia and China. Few developments are more frightening than the populist edition of George Orwell’s dystopia. The world is now dominated by three gigantic powers, Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, a.k.a. the United States, Russia and China, and all three are governed by promises of making their realms “great again.”

Please do not forget that populists can turn into peaceniks or imperialists at any moment, depending on what they think could yield good spin that boosts their support. Remember how Putin and Erdogan had switched, within months this year, from warring to fraternity. Or how Orban in opposition had blasted any compromises with Russia, only to become Putin’s best friend upon his election.

I have plenty of gloomy don’t-dos, but few proven trump cards. There is perhaps one mighty exception, the issue of corruption, which the polite American media like to describe as “conflicts of interest.”

It is the public’s moral indignation over nepotism that has proved to be the nemesis of illiberal regimes. Personal and family greed, cronyism, thievery combined with hypocrisy are in the genes of illiberal autocracy; and in many countries betrayed expectations of a selfless strongman have led to a civic awakening.

It probably helps to be as watchful as possible on corruption, to assist investigative journalism at any price, and to defend the institutions that enforce transparency and justice. And it also helps to have leaders in the opposition who are not only impeccably clean in pecuniary matters, but also impress as such.

The world is looking at the United States now in a way that we never thought would be possible: fretting that the “deals” of its new president will make the world’s first democracy more similar to that of the others. I wish we onlookers could help the Americans in making the most out of their hard-to-change Constitution. We still are thankful for what they gave to the world, and we will be a bit envious if they can stop the fast-spreading plague of national populism.

January 2, 2017
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Joe Simon
Guest

According to Noam Chomsky of MIT, all US presidents after WWII, and some before, could be hanged if judged by the laws of the Nurenberg Tribunal. Surely, Trump could not do worse than any of them:
carpet-bombing Europe, dropping the atomic bomb, invading Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, etc. I doubt if Trump could possibly outdo any one of them.

Guest

If we can believe his word Trump has no compunction about using nuclear weapons. He may outdo even Truman.

petofi
Guest

@ Jean P

Oj vay.
Another person who can’t help mouthing inanities.
Truman was a good president and did what he had to.

e-1956
Guest

We have to stay calm. No proof that a breitbart customer is a bad guy.

Trump may trump Truman.

I wish Obama and Hillary consumed lots of breitbart.

e-1956
Guest

Brief clarification: Trump trumps Truman in goodness.

petofi
Guest

@e-1956

I’m no Truman expert, but what’s in his negative ledger? The bombs?
I’ve answered that above.

And, surely you’re joshing about Trump’s goodness. (Where did you find it, by the way?)

My great mystery is not that Trump won the election–after all, it was one against one. But how on earth did it come to pass that he could beat 15 others in the Republican primaries???

Member

“My great mystery is not that Trump won the election–after all, it was one against one.”

Incorrect. In most states there were five people on the ballot for President: Clinton, Trump, Johnson, Stein, and McMullin.

And if you think that votes for the third-party candidates had no impact on the election results, then you’re also incorrect. Just take Jill Stein, the candidate for the Green Party: if everyone who voted for Stein in just Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan had voted for Clinton instead, Hillary would have won the election. It’s absolutely true, just look at the numbers. Now those Stein voters ended up with Donald Trump as President as a result of their actions. I hope they’re happy with what they achieved.

Guest

You should really either start thinking independently or f*ck off from here!
Breitbart is the ugliest Nazi type propaganda site I’ve ever seen, full of lies and crap!
And I don’t know whether to laugh at you or …

If you really believe what they’re writing …

Just the latest example:
http://www.snopes.com/did-obama-award-himself-a-distinguished-public-service-medal/#

Guest

I didn’t pass any judgement on Truman. I only referred to the fact that he used two nuclear bombs. Please consider that your interpretations may be wrong before you use nasty words.

petofi
Guest

@ Jean P

Perhaps your logic is lacking: America’s use of TWO bombs is precisely what justifies the use of ONE. Had the Japanese surrendered after Hiroshima, they could’ve claimed American cruelty forever. Having refused to surrender, it’s the Japanese leadership that has taken on the responsibility of cruelty for their decision
to subject their people to further attacks…

Guest

Read my above comment again. It contains nothing about one versus two bombs, no speculations about what else could have happened, no logical argument and therefore no logical deficiency. Please do not project your own lacking logic on me.

petofi
Guest

@ Joe Simon

You write horse manure.

Carpet-bombing–I presume you mean Dresden–came well on in the war after Hitler began indiscriminate bombing of cities in England.

Atomic bomb–I love this comment by political correctivists who haven’t the perspicacity of a gnat. They–those yelling about the inhumanity of Americans–should consider, for a moment, that the Japs had no qualms about sacrificing their population in a ground war on the mainland. The significance of Nagasaki is that the destruction of Hiroshima wasn’t enough to bring the Japanese leadership to end the war…

Guest

“… the Japs had no qualms about sacrificing their population in a ground war on the mainland.”

That was also Churchill’s idea in Britain.

Roderick Beck
Guest

That is a good point. But the reality is Japan had no allies and all of its supply routes were cut. The US guaranteed that Atlantic shipping lanes would remain hope. Churchill has hope that the US would enter the war and tip the balance of power. He was right.

Guest

“…the reality is Japan had no allies and all of its supply routes were cut.”

That is precisely why it is debatable whether nukes were the only option.

LwiiH
Guest

You are right there wee other options but at what cost?

Guest

And we shouldn’t forget that Hitler also did not want to end the war – he wanted all Germans to go down with him, ordered to destroy everything, every bridge, every occupied town, all the stolen artifacts etc …

There was a very moving story about pictures stolen from many European museums and put into a salt mine near Salzburg which was supposed to be destroyed but the Austrian miners closed off the entrance with some dynamite or similar. Later they told the US soldiers about it and thmine was reopened.

And a few generals said no, even though they risked death by the fanatic SS. Here’s the “saviour of Paris” as an example:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_von_Choltitz

Also a moving story – just imagine if von Choltitz had done what Hitler ordered him to to …

Istvan
Guest
Having served in Vietnam as a young officer right out of college I can assure you Joe the USA did not invade Vietnam. Vietnam was a colony of France. The US aided a largely corrupt Vietnamese Catholic government in the South after the French were beaten by Vietnamese communists at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. French missionaries had been active in Vietnam since the 17th century, when the Jesuit priest Alexandre de Rhodes opened a mission there. In 1858 the Vietnamese emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty felt threatened by the French influence and tried to expel the missionaries. Napoleon III sent a naval force of fourteen gunships, carrying three thousand French and three thousand Filipino troops provided by Spain, under Charles Rigault de Genouilly, to compel the government to accept the missionaries and to stop the persecution of Catholics. In September 1858 the expeditionary force captured and occupied the port of Da Nang, and then in February 1859 moved south and captured Saigon. The Vietnamese ruler was compelled to cede three provinces to France, and to offer protection to the Catholics. I suspect there is some confusion in Hungary relating to Vietnam since the Kadar government fully… Read more »
webber
Guest

Istvan, really -After the French collapsed, the United States did not have to enter Vietnam. America might have let it go. In the end, that is exactly what the US did – AFTER intervening. What did American troops achieve, in the end, other than leaving a lot of people dead (Americans and Vietnamese alike)? The communists won. The US did not look like it was stemming the tide. It was a real low point. Better not to have taken part at all than to have gone in and lost it.
On those grounds, I think it is fair to say that the US “invaded” Vietnam.

webber
Guest

P.S. “Invitation” from a govt. of corrupt puppets… Is that an invitation? Really? Next will we argue that Custer was at Little Big Horn at the invitation of our allies the Crow?

aida
Guest

You maybe right that the US did not have to do anything. They decided to make the huge effort of trying to spread Communism throughout South East Asia and maybe elsewhere. The fact they failed is only to be regretted. In achieving that defeat the Communists were vigorously assisted by the media and others. Some were committed opponents of the free world and other just “useful idiots”.
It is ironic that when we arrived at Saigon by air we had to pay a visa fee, recently. The only currency they accept is USD.

e-1956
Guest

Aida – only few people know the phrase “active measures” Vietnam’s death sentence was crafted by the brilliant old fashion hackers of Moscow.

LwiiH
Guest

Did you actually read the entire paper or just cherry pick the click bait?

Guest
Chomsky has been ridiculously wrong and one-eyed about many things, whether in world affairs or in linguistics. His particular shtick is arguing out of context, omission of half the story or more, ignoring issues of causation, categorial conflations and obfuscations, and slick rhetorical sleights of hand. Horrible as they might be, wars of aggression and defensive wars have been part of the human condition from the dawn of history, and America has been no exception to this. Whilst invading Iraq was just dumb, Kuwait was an entirely different kettle of fish – or would you rather have had Saddam Hussein move on into Saudi Arabia as well? In retrospect, Vietnam was also dumb, though not in the context of what seemed a life and death struggle at that time against communist expansion. As to the atomic bombs, would you have preferred another million or two American soldiers and tens of million Japanese civilians and soldiers dead, with WW2 dragging out another year or two in the Far East? As to carpet bombing – NOT “Europe”, as you and Chomsky would have it, but German and axis industrial centers – wow, that was obviously for no reason at all, had no… Read more »
Guest

The above was meant to be a response to the post by Joe Simon @ January 2, 2017 5:04 pm.

Guest

As a German I totally agree with you!
What was started at Guernica and then in England (just forgot the name of the town) by the Nazis came back with a vengeance – and of course in every war the innocents are hurt most.

I’ve read so much about the German war efforts – it’s unbelievable what some people tried, without caring for the lives of their countrymen or the prisoners who were treated like animals or worse.

And I think I’ve said it before:

Many knew early that the war was lost – my father as a lieutenent was sure at the end of 1942 (he told me so often) when he got the Knight’s cross for defending the German retreat near Millerovo, just holding back the Russians with his few small cannons until the German soldiers had made it back to safety over the river …

But he was just a soldier – the French authorities “denazified” him as an also ran, he was not even a party member.

webber
Guest

The name of the town is Coventry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Blitz

Roderick Beck
Guest

Correct.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Please spare me the nonsense. Chomsky is a great linguist, but a left wing extremist who is best ignored.

Joe Simon
Guest

re: Roderick Beck
“One of Chomsky`s most important contributions is “The Political Economy of the Mass Media” as there had never been a succinct way to comprehend the systematic way Western governments use and influence the media for public diplomacy in support of the state.” A quote by a historian.

webber
Guest

Which historian??? Can’t find it anywhere.

Guest
@Roderick Beck Today 8:43 am You must be joking about Chomsky being a great linguist. He had a couple of scientifically interesting insights 50-odd years ago, but his main strengths were always as a polemicist and an academic infighter. As such, he has been able to gather around him a large coterie of admiring academic acolytes and for a while his theories became very fashionable among young up and coming men and women in academia. Until, that is, his theories and propositions were inconveniently, but incontrovertibly proved to be utterly hollow nonsense, one after another. All that vast intellectual effort and hullabaloo around his linguistic theories was just a horrifyingly enormous intellectual waste from their beginnings in the late fifties to their dying gasps today. Today, Chomsky and the remnants of his theories are totally passé among linguists seriously researching the nature of language, even though his reputation as a skilled polemicist and academic infighter (and that of his numerous followers who based entire careers on the falsehoods propagated by Chomsky the linguist), still puts the fear of God in many reputable linguists, who would otherwise cheerfully declare that the emperor has no clothes and never had any. Chomsky as… Read more »
Member

Harnad, S (2014) Chomsky’s Universe. L’Univers de Chomsky. À babord: Revue sociale et politique 52.

zsuka
Guest

Thank you so much Mr Harnad. I enjoyed your article very much.

zsuka
Guest

When I was a student and got to know the work of Chomsky I was fascinated by his theory. I have been fascinated ever since and- as you have mentioned – it has never been falsified.

ambalint
Guest
Sorry, Zsuka, you are sadly misinformed. As I have made clear above, Chomsky did have a small number of scientifically interesting insights 50-odd years ago. Harnad’s article covers a couple of those insights. However, the actual theories or models of grammar – which Chomsky misleadingly equated both to theories or models of language and theories of the nature of a supposed innate capacity to learn a first language – that were serially proposed by Chomsky from the early sixties to the early nineties in practice completely failed to work out, primarily under pressure from semantics and pragmatics. His serial theories/models of grammar/language in effect proved to be about as relevant to actually understanding the nature of language as the 19th theories of phlogiston and ethere was to understanding chemistry, and were therefore serially withdrawn upon having been serially falsified by empirical evidence principally from semantics and pragmatics. The reason why you do not know of their falsification is because each falsification of a previous theory/model that just failed was cunningly disguised as piece of “scientific advance” by the simple means of introducing a new or replacement theory/model in place of the failed one. And when that one failed too, the… Read more »
petofi
Guest

“…exemplary…” ?

You must be joshing.

Exemplary con artists (Hungarians)–maybe…

JLW
Guest

Thank-you Eva for your thoughtful insight. I was hoping I was only imaging the parallels I saw between Orban and Trump. I’m afraid we have few too few journalists with the time and resources to investigate future corruption. Worse I’m afraid that most people in the U.S. either tune out the news because they are disgusted with politics or consume only the media that fit their preconceptions.

Some of our journalists seem to only now be comprehending that Trump is not going to follow the usual precedents. It’s certainly taken the a long time for the media to understand that there may be no blind trusts, presidential press conferences or publication of tax returns.

I’m afraid our media outlets prefer to spend time on discussing who will have the role of First Lady. A popular news item more easily digested and debated by the public but of very little real consequence. Faced with the problems of unemployment and unequal distribution of income people are looking to autocrats for solutions and sadly it seems to be a worldwide problem.

Roderick Beck
Guest

I disagree. I read the New York Times and Huffington Post every day. I catch every Trump Twitter. Trump is already a laughingstock. He will not have an easy ride. If he cannot discipline himself and makes foreign policy by Twitter, he is in for a rough time.

Guest

Reading this article also prompted me to watch a relatively recent ATV interview of Haraszti by Olga Kálmán. I fully agree with the points he is making in both the above article and in the interview, but wish to God he was less of a waffler in either of his languages. Clear thinking and the concise articulation of thoughts – whether in English or Hungarian – do not appear to be among his strengths.

Alex Kuli
Guest
Dear Miklos – If you are reading these comments, thank you for a thoughtful article on the threat that populism poses to both countries of which I am a citizen. While I am concerned about the issues you raise, I do not share your pessimism. We must remember that the U.S. president, unlike Hungary’s current prime minister, never has carte blanche to enact policy. The U.S. Congress holds the purse strings and therefore remains an effective check on presidential power. Clinton was unable to pass his healthcare-reform package, even with a Democrat-controlled Congress. Obama was forced to accept a watered-down version of his Affordable Care Act because a single senator, Ted Kennedy, died before the final vote. Most U.S. legislators have power bases that are broadly independent of the president’s. Thanks, in part, to the first-past-the-post electoral system that exists in almost all 50 states, Congress members’ first responsibility is to the voters in their states, not the whims of the president. That’s why straight party-line votes are unusual in the U.S., but are the norm in Hungary. At present, Trump’s legislation will fail in the Senate if just three Republicans join the Democrats and Independents in opposing it. We… Read more »
Guest

Alex, thanks for these clear words!
You just gave me hope again, though I’m still worried a bit about the USA and the EU – but I’m an optimist at heart!

e-1956
Guest

Wolfi – it is time to read reports from the American soil.

Ignore the speculation of Hungarian, German, Russian etc journalists, and pundits.

Roderick Beck
Guest

The Hungarian political system where politicians get all their financing form the party is not the American system. America is the Wild West compared to Hungary. Our best universities are private, not public. Our biggest companies are run by gay marriage loving liberals like Google, Apple, etc.

It is easy for Orbán to centralize power in a country where everyone depends on the State from religious groups to universities to companies, etc.

The US government does not finance the great private universities or any religious group (prohibited by the 2nd amendment).

The Hungarians need to recognize that their predicament is the result of their system. They have told themselves that they are great people that have lost ability to understand their specific weaknesses.

Istvan
Guest

Possibly Eva could enlighten Roderick about the Federal role in funding Universities in the USA through its supported student loans in the billions of dollars and research funding.

So at Yale where Eva taught there is a research center, the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. The National Resource Centers program
and the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) program, both administered by the U.S. Department
of Education, awarded the MacMillan Center nearly $5.6 million in funding to be used over the course of four years,
2014-2018. Another program at Yale the
Political Violence FieldLab, founded in September 2014
is devoted to the study of political violence
and its effects on combatants and civilians in wartime conditions. That program is supported by a $1.8 million grant from
the Air Force Office of ScientificResearch (AFOSR).

The Federal government provides millions upon of millions of research dollars to private and public Universities in the USA. There are University level progams that are 100% funded by the federal government too, like those at the US Army War College where I attended.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Istvan,

I don’t need to be enlightened. I am well aware of the US Federal government’s role in funding. It is not a politicized allocation system as you well know. Moreover, US universities have their own endowments and sources of funding outside of the Federal governments. The Harvard endowment alone is $36 billion and has a very successful alumni base. How much does Corvinus have?

The difference between the US and Hungary is quite clear. The only real source of money in Hungary is the government. Recognized religious organizations are dependent on the government, major performing art institutions, most of the universities, research institutes. The US government role is so low in many sectors that it ensures that pluralism is less vulnerable. It is the Hungarian statist model that makes autocracy so easy and tempting.

As a final note, the non-profit sector of the US economy is about 20% and the government’s financing role is minor.

Hungary society has never broken of the statist model. Everyone comes to the government trough to feed.

Member

Good points, all.

Incidentally, Ted Kennedy also frustrated Pres. Carter (from the same party as him) on the issue of health care in the 1970s. And this was also during a Democratic-held Congress.

Miklós Haraszti
Guest
Dear Alex — I mock myself as a pessimist in the piece, as most readers would associate gloom and doom pessimism with a Hungarian anyway:) What I object is a specific type of hope: expectations of a returning normalcy under Trump, just because of what you cite, and where I agree, the stronger than usual American guarantees of checks an balances, independence of branches of power, and, if everything goes wrong, the term limits. You have to be an optimist in order to minimize his wrongdoing, but you have to understand that, with illiberal populists, you cannot expect an automatic rectifying effect from pluralistic institutions and hitherto habits, and even a bitter fight to rein him in will not lead to a sustainable result. This is so because these institutions and a deliberative political culture are the actual target of these types, even as they have to pay lip service to them. These guys are free-range, electioneering, post-modern Leninists, their common slogan is: “I do not play by your rules, or by any rule that would constrain me.” Trump, on the top of this, as an American friend pointed out, lacks the iron discipline and Willenskraft of Putin or Orban,… Read more »
Roderick Beck
Guest
As an American, I understand the Trump threat. But the reality is that American society is radically different from Hungarian society in so many ways that I don’t know where to begin. To be frank, American society is vastly superior. Our identity is not based on some myths abouit Hungarian supermen rising out of the steppes of Central Asia. 1. Hungary’s statist model makes everyone and every institution dependent on government money. Orbán basically subverted many institutions because they are all dependent on government handouts. 2. Trump did not achieve a mandate for change. Hillary got 3 million more votes than Trump. Orbán slaughtered the opposition in 2010. Trump did poorly on both coasts. The US is a bi-coastal economy. 3. American checks and balances are vastly stronger. In particular, judges serve for life and 60 votes is the requirement for getting things done in the Senate. Trump cannot transform the US judiciary. US judges sit for life or until they retired. 4. Trump appears to barely competent based on the last 30 days. That is not an exaggeration. He is an easy target. 5. American culture is far more individualistic than Hungarian culture. Hungarian culture has an ethnic identity… Read more »
Roderick Beck
Guest

Yes, typical sour Hungarian pessimist. Pessimism has led to Hungarian passivity. The proper response to Trump is resistance, which is always on optimism. As I noted in another post, there are few parallels between Hungary’s highly limited democratic history and America.

petofi
Guest

Sorry to snip your optimism, Beck, but I strongly suspect that what the basement KGB boys have discovered was the step-by-step eradication of opposition; or, the reduction of principled opposition by the precise use of power and corruption. And, I’m afraid, the US will not be immune to that.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Petofi, your comments are just annoying. Not enlightening. Tell me what the history of democracy in Russia have in common with he United States.

Ferenc
Guest

But please never forget that an American president (Bush Jr.) could start a war on (by him known!) false grounds!
If the USA are such an example of democracy, he should be put for an international court. Given the current situation this will probably never happen…..

webber
Guest

Ferenc, this may come as a surprise to you, but war is not a war crime.

Ferenc
Guest

Strange, isn’t it?
Starting a war seems to me one of the biggest posible war crimes!
Let’s try to keep referendums about this in every country, where possible.

Guest

Probably not a good idea – even today some gullible people want the use of force on their “enemies”.

And a hundred years ago?

I still remember pictures and films even of the Schwab students being eager to get to the front and fight against the bloody French and kill as many of them as possible …

Roderick Beck
Guest

Your idea is extremely naive. And it is also a little ironic since so many of your countrymen that the West should have started WWIII in 1956 to save Hungarian revolution.

petofi
Guest

@ Ferenc

Odd how everyone assumes that there were no weapons…

How about this: there were weapons but they were removed by the Russians/Chinese…Everyone here is sure that THAT didn’t happen?

Ferenc
Guest

Even ‘odder’ that a ‘leading democracy’ can start a war based on false grounds, and on top of that now, almost 14 years later, still hasn’t started any serious investigation into it.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Ferenc, your idea is that genuine democracies never initiate wars? Now there is a non sequitur.

I am sure I can find you some peace loving dictatorships!

Roderick Beck
Guest

Ferenc,

The US has an extremely strong democracy that has existed continuously since the founding of the Republic. It is in fact older than most of its European counterparts. In contrast, Hungarian democracy only really emerged after the Wall fell. And Hungarian political institutions have always been weak. Nationalism is the Hungarian forté, not democracy.

Joe Simon
Guest

re: Wolfi7777
Just for accuracy, Churchill started the bombing of German cities.
By the end of WWII, the equivalent of 100 atomic bombs were dropped mostly on Germany. Surely, evenTrump can not outdo such a feat.

webber
Guest

Just for accuracy, Germany’s major bombing attacks against British civilian targets started in August 1940. Coventry was nearly wiped off the face of the earth at the end of that year.

Guest

You really are an idiotic liar, Joe! Eva should ban you imho.
Look here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Guernica
Btw our German president Roman Herzog asked for forgiveness in 1997
Look up Coventry or this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpet_bombing
Webber beat me to it, thanks.

Guest

OT:
DK politician György Kakuk just died – it’s all over the news. Here’s an interview with him – he was a fighter for the refugees, we need more people like him, sad to see him go.

https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2016/07/13/gyorgy-kakuk-in-the-footsteps-of-refugees

petofi
Guest

How old was Kakuk and what did he die of?

Guest

He was just 52 – don’t know how he died.
http://444.hu/2017/01/03/meghalt-kakuk-gyorgy

Ferenc
Guest

György Kakuk was 52, he got a heart attack early this morning (so probably in his sleep).
Here’s more about him in Hungarian: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170103_kakuk_gyorgy_halalhir

Guest

His brother Peter announced it on facebook and got more than a hundred replies – one by Andre Goodfriend …

webber
Guest

Why “probably in his sleep”? The people I know who had heart attacks were all actively doing something when they were hit.

Thomas
Guest

The article is good, but ever since he suggested to for the opposition parties to work with Jobbik, he lost credibility for me.

Guest

Not too much OT re atomic bombs and their use on the Japanese Cities:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard
Even for non-physicists a fascinating read.
A life full of adventure and scientific breakthoughs – if the USA had followed Szilard maybe some things would have developed differently. He was one of those who did not want the bomb to be applied in war – just a demonstartion would have suffice in his opinion.

Roderick Beck
Guest

A demonstration would have been a good idea. But remember, it took nuclear strikes to force surrender, not one.

petofi
Guest

Here’s one thing about the Obama presidency: during the 8 years of his leadership, there wasn’t even a whiff of scandal.
Now, as a measure of competency, let’s remember THAT as
Trump takes over and a curtain descends on Decency and Propriety in the nation’s capital…

e-1956
Guest

Refreshing your memory. Remember the FBI investigations on his Chicago contacts. Some have been jailed.

Obama and Valery Jarrett were products of Chicago. That illuminates their characters.

I guess that about 8 trillion dollars could have been saved in the last 8 years if a strictly fair administration ruled.

webber
Guest

Slow down. Was everyone in Chicago corrupt? Do you want to say that? I don’t think so. There is no evidence at all of that.
Surely Rod Blagojevich (now in prison) would have squealed on Obama if he could have, to save his own skin.
Obama was clean in office, like it or not (apparently you don’t).

Roderick Beck
Guest

Spare me the nonsense. No one was jailed. Guys like you fit perfectly into facts-don’t-matter Trump ra.

TKT
Guest

“Populists govern by swapping issues, as opposed to resolving them.” Well, at least the Populists GOVERN. Looking at the Western European and American “leadership”, nobody can make a decision, nobody is in charge… Merkel? Obama? Hollande? etc. Are you kidding me?

Guest

You mean like Hitler, Stalin. Mao – I’m sure you know more dictators …

Democracy is about finding compromises – which you are obviously not interested in, Hail Orbán!

Roderick Beck
Guest

Populists thrive on fear. That is why they ooze prejudice, xenophobia, racism from every pore in their skin. They also tend to create one party states and have lousy economic records like Argentina and Venezuela.

Guest

Just found this on the workers’ situation in the USA – didn’t know it was so bad!
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tough-challenge-for-trump-getting-more-men-back-to-work/2017/01/05/1ede3794-d371-11e6-9651-54a0154cf5b3_story.html?utm_term=.126374ec0487

Two really shocking points:
— Criminal records. Stricter criminal laws have left over 20 million Americans with felony convictions and prison records — a fourfold increase from 30 years earlier. That background has made it hard for them to get hired.

— Prescription drug use. Nearly half of jobless men who are no longer looking for work are on pain medication, research has found.

Member

…@RivaroLOV/A’S Insidious Signature Taunts Via Á Non-stop mutating of his/her aliases …
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Member

The above requires a bit of explanation: A frequent Turul troll, sometimes using the alias @Rivarov, sometimes @Donbass, etc. again posted his usual diversionary detritus here last night; I outed him as above. And then Éva wisely deleted his spoor. For the curious, there is still an unbinned sample below http://hungarianspectrum.org/2016/12/26/you-dont-want-to-be-a-grade-11-student-in-hungary/ — but it helps to be anosmic…

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