The conservatives were also amazed, Viktor Orbán was harming Hungary’s foreign policy interests

CPAC; Texas; Viktor Orbán; speech;

2022-08-06 09:30:00

Viktor Orbán promoted himself at the CPAC conference in Dallas, but some of his comments hurt our country’s foreign policy interests, say experts speaking to our newspaper.

Viktor Orbán tried to place himself at the center of the struggle against Western liberal forces, including the incumbent American government, in his speech at CPAC, the Texas military parade of American conservatives, on Thursday. However, according to the experts interviewed by Népszava, he did more harm than good to Hungary’s foreign policy interests with some offensive, anti-Western comments. And they consider it inconceivable that his participation in a party event was obviously financed with Hungarian taxpayers’ money.

Former ambassador to Washington András Simonyi believes that Orbán ignored the fact that, in the midst of the current energy crisis, the only country besides Norway from which additional gas and oil shipments can be obtained without political concessions is the United States. Compared to this, the prime minister repeatedly “kicked” the current democratic government, and did not mention the energy role of Texas, the host of the event, as the center of gravity in the United States, which indicates a lack of adequate preparation.

In addition, Viktor Orbán re-presented Vladimir Putin’s proposal that American-Russian peace talks are necessary to stop the war against Ukraine. – The essence of this is that the Russians definitely want to be considered a great power, and only the United States could approve of this if it raised Russia, which has committed war crimes, to its level. Orbán is assisting in this, the former American ambassador indicated.

According to him, there is no doubt that Viktor Orbán gathered everything that his audience in Dallas wanted to hear, and he fulfilled this expectation, for better or worse, in some places he slipped. But there were several side effects. Most of the audience had no idea about the Tusványos background of his explanation regarding the charge of racism. They could not understand a single word of the history of Hungarian resistance to the global minimum tax and the American termination of the double taxation agreement.

– Viktor Orbán traveled to CPAC to gain the support of Donald Trump, but this will by no means make him a world political factor, no matter what the Hungarian state propaganda suggests. America has already moved beyond the speech this morning, and from what I have seen so far from the comments, even the conservative press is amazed to comment on all of this – said András Simonyi.

According to István Szent-Iványi, a former member of the European Parliament and former Slovenian ambassador, Viktor Orbán tactically did not repeat the two biggest scandals of his speech in Tusványos: he did not talk about the threat of racial mixing. All he said was that anyone who claims that he is racist and anti-Semitic is fake news and an idiot. Regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he did not repeat the pro-Kremlin narrative that the West was responsible for the outbreak of the war.

He brought it up again with the fact that the West is at war with itself, although there is no such thing. Instead, he is trying to stop an authoritarian dictatorship in the East, isn’t it Russia, and in a certain sense China as well. It is Orbán himself who is trying to wage war against the West.

– It is true that he courted the conservative audience with what he had to say, but I am afraid that the benefit in this is very small, while the damage is quite large, because as I can see in the first reaction of the world press, they will not reward what he said there, and in the short term he can hardly hope anything from the company that welcomed him here – thought István Szent-Iványi.

According to the former diplomat, in light of everything, the question can be raised as to who covered the costs of this entire visit. The Funded Fundamental Rights Center (AK), which organized the prime minister’s participation, appeared as a leading sponsor on the CPAC website and on local billboards, and the center also hosted a reception for the distinguished guests of the conservative army review. All of this could have cost a lot while Viktor Orbán did not meet with the leaders of the American administration. It is unacceptable that he traveled to a party event with taxpayers’ money – said the former EP representative.

According to public information, participants chose from sponsorship packages ranging from 2.5 to 75 thousand dollars (roughly 1 to 29 million forints) at the previous CPAC conference in Florida. Our newspaper made a public interest request to the AK to reveal how much was paid for the participation of Viktor Orbán and the delegation accompanying him.

From Ronald Reagan’s Shining City to the alt-right

Five years ago, Richard Spencer was kicked out of the Gaylord Hotel in Maryland with noble simplicity. According to the organizers of the 2017 CPAC event, the repulsive activities of the neo-Nazi barrel speakers have nothing to do with true conservatism, one of them even added that the “alt-right”, i.e. the alternative right, is actually ordinary left-wing fascism. Spencer is best known for his belief that the European Union should be reorganized so that diverse ethnicity is replaced by a homogenous “white identity”. He was one of the keynote speakers at the August 2017 neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, where supporters from across the country chanted in a torchlight procession that they would not be “replaced” by Jews. One of his students, enthused by this, drove his car into the counter-protesters and ran over a young woman to death.

Of course, CPAC has changed a lot since Richard Spencer was kicked out, the alt-right has become part of the conservative mainstream or even the mainstream itself. On the closing day of this year’s conference in Dallas, at the cattlemen’s ball, those who wish to personally listen to one of the leaders of the movement, Steve Bannon, will have to pay $375 (HUF 145,000), as the entrance fee is not included in the conference’s $295 (HUF 114,000) participation fee. .

The American Conservative Union (ACU), which organizes CPAC, is not a charity. It was originally created in the 60s by thinkers on the right side of the conservative movement at that time. The narrow intellectual organization has now become a business that combines ideology with economic profit. The keynote speaker at their first conference in 1974 was presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, who explained his much-quoted vision of an America standing on a hilltop, shining like a bright city – i.e. a happy country that shows the way to the whole world, accepts immigrants and is attractive to everyone.

In 2019, the rainbow atmosphere turned gray when the organizers withdrew Milo Yiannopoulos’ invitation. The English bastard of the alt-right, who adopted the Greek name, defended sex between adult men and 13-year-old boys based on his own experiences with a Catholic priest in videos uploaded to the Internet years ago. (In Fidesz circles, both Bannon and Yiannopoulos, who were convicted and threatened with prison terms, are popular figures; both have visited and performed in Hungary through foundations linked to the government.)

Since 2017, CPAC has been completely under the influence of Donald Trump. Mercedes, the wife of ACU director Matt Schlapp, with whom they also share a lobbying firm, was previously one of Trump’s White House communications managers and participated in the 2020 re-election campaign. The annual conferences were also held during the coronavirus epidemic, the participants regularly violated health regulations, and the keynote speaker was Donald Trump in each case, with the most extreme figures of the Republican Party taking supporting roles. The situation has gotten so bad that conservative politicians who disagree with Trump’s lies about rigging the 2020 presidential election and his plans for a coup cannot speak in Dallas. There is also no question of allowing the fallen president’s potential primary opponents to the podium: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In their place, Texas politicians will get the opportunity – although it is also true that the Dallas one is already the third CPAC this year. The first, which was the regular annual conference, was held back in February in Florida, where they couldn’t avoid DeSantis’ inclusion. The second one memorably took place in Budapest, where the absence of Donald Trump was noted with some disappointment in domestic government circles.

Incidentally, the one in Hungary was CPAC’s first trip to Europe. Previously, there were events in Australia, Brazil, South Korea and Japan – in each case as a guest and with the financial support of the local right-wing government.


Source: Népszava by nepszava.hu.

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