Poor Tamas Fellegi. Hungary’s envoy to the International Monetary Fund had to spend last week enduring endless lectures on democracy and fiscal responsibility from the unelected head of an international financial organization that is largely funded with money stolen from the US taxpayer.
And poor Viktor Orban. Just over twenty years ago the young Hungarian had the temerity to stand up at the reburial of the hero of the 1956 uprising to demand that Soviet troops leave and that the communist regime agree to hold free and democratic elections. The communists didn’t like him very much. Orban and many other anti-communists of that era were fighting unelected Moscow-based occupiers who stole his country’s sovereignty and ruined its economy for ideological reasons. Now, as Hungary’s prime minister, he is fighting against an unelected Brussels and Washington-based force that seeks to steal (what’s left of) his country’s sovereignty and ruin its economy for ideological reasons.
The Europeans — and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — are bearing down on the Hungarian government, attacking its “authoritarian tendencies” and demanding that Orban restore democracy. Charles Gati, who briefly served in the State Department of Clinton’s husband, has gone even further, opining in the pro-opposition news weekly 168 Ora that, “there are opportunities indeed to remove this (Orbán) government — if possible in a democratic way, if not then in some other way.”
Gati, who has been joined at the hip to the renamed Hungarian communist party and its governing allies from even before the regime change in 1989, now threatens a violent overthrow of the democratically-elected Hungarian government — in the name of promoting democracy! (And if you wonder whether he is serious, click on the above link and you can see that he is pictured in front of the “Regime Change Factory” flag of the CIA-affiliated Freedom House).
(Incidentally, Gati’s tireless efforts on behalf of the former communists in Hungary were richly rewarded in 2009, when his friends in the Hungarian government awarded him the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. Hmmm… a star?)
So what is the problem with Orban? Well the “problem” for Orban and his center-right political party Fidesz is actually not a lack of democracy, but rather too much democracy! His party was elected with an unprecedented two-thirds majority in 2010 by an electorate brought to its knees by the financial mismanagement and corruption of the long-ruling renamed communists, now called the Hungarian Socialist Party, and its junior coalition partner, the Alliance of Free Democrats, which was literally obliterated in the last election.
The Hungarian voter became outraged when a recording at a private Socialist Party meeting was made public in which then-Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted that his government lied to the population and “screwed up” the country.
Spoke the loquacious Hungarian former communist:
“We have screwed up. Not a little but a lot. No country in Europe has screwed up as much as we have. It can be explained. We have obviously lied throughout the past 18 to 24 months. It was perfectly clear that what we were saying was not true. …we lied morning, noon and night.”
High marks for candidness — but one must always check for live microphones!
It should hardly surprise observers that after the admitted disaster of Socialist Party governance in Hungary the voters would turn to something new given the opportunity at the polls. But the problem for Fidesz, at least in the eyes of the EU and State Department, is that, well, just too many Hungarians decided to vote for them! More than two-thirds of the country wanted a change of leadership.
But worst of all in the eyes of Brussels and Washington, the Hungarian government actually began using the mandate that had been handed them by the Hungarian people. It is undemocratic to use power gained through the democratic process, apparently. I wonder whether that idea will catch on in the US.
What horrid things did the Orban government do? Well they initiated the replacement of the Stalin-era constitution, but included therein what are to today’s Washington and Brussels totally unacceptable language.
As explained in a this excellent editorial in the Scotland on Sunday,
“The new constitution makes the classic statement of Burkean philosophy: ‘Our Basic Law is the foundation of our legal system; it is a contract between Hungarians past, present and future.’ That recognition of the seamless continuum of history and the transience of generations stands head and shoulders above the trashy verbiage of EU treaties. Not only does it ‘recognise the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood’, it ‘professes that the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence’. No wonder it is anathema to the Frankfurt Marxists of the EU….
“It lists the crimes of Communism and lifts the statute of limitations that protected the criminals of the Soviet era who despatched 600,000 Hungarians to concentration camps. Hungary’s transition to democracy is often called painless, because the Red nomenklatura saw the game was up, liquidated state assets and became the new rich. The Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party dropped one word from its title and soon regained power: Ferenc Gyurcsány, prime minister from 2006 to 2009, was the former president of the Communist Youth Organisation. In a world where nonagenarian Nazis who should have been hanged in 1945 are carried into court in oxygen tents, why is it an outrage for Hungary now to target Red murderers? Well, er, because the right commits atrocities, the left commits mistakes.”
Orban’s other divergences from “democracy” according to the European Commission and the US administration include using his mandate to bring the Hungarian central bank under the oversight of elected officials rather than remain the purview of highly-paid bureaucrats who more often than not do the bidding of their foreign counterparts at the expense of those who pay their salaries. It is not quite an “end the Fed” movement in Hungary but it certainly could be seen as a move to curb the seemingly limitless power of an unelected Hungarian Ben Bernanke.
As financial expert Andrea Hosso observed regarding claims of Orban “threatening the independence” of the central bank:
“How independent is the US Federal Reserve with its consecutive bouts of Quantitative Easing, or the European Central Bank with its new venture into buying up hundreds of billions of Eurozone bonds to keep the big project afloat?”
No wonder the Obama administration is irritated.
It is particularly rich to see the European Commission threatening legal action against the Hungarian government unless it “return to democracy” by overturning laws such as the above curb on the power of the central bank and a new mandatory retirement age for judges. The European Commission, that paragon of democracy, is as we know an entirely unelected body that meets and votes in secret.
Unfortunately for him in this instance, Orban’s tendency to shoot from the hip can come back to haunt him. After declaring last year that no new IMF assistance was needed, Orban’s government experienced what seems to some a concerted effort to bring the country to its knees — to bow before the IMF and international finance. Bond yields soared, Moody’s downgraded the government’s debt to junk status, and the forint has lost 15% of its value. Orban sent Fellegi to Washington, tail between legs, to have his pound of flesh extracted by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.
Not so fast, said the unelected Lagarde last week. First Hungary must change several of its domestic laws and renew its commitment to democracy. Then the price of a bailout to Hungary’s creditors will be a new austerity program on its population. It seems the government is in a panic and will agree to anything for IMF assistance, but they would do well to have a look at Greece, where IMF “reform” is producing its usual results.
As if by design in these situations, the demanded austerity programs will make the ruling regime (who the West wants to change) extremely unpopular. A shocked and bewildered population will take to the streets demanding a change in regime, assisted by the generous support — and intoxicating lies — provided by the US regime change experts NED, NDI, and, IRI. Violence may ensue, sovereignty will be destroyed, and the Western-preferred malleable descendents of the old regime will sweep back into power.
Questions the Hungarian government might want to ask instead, looking at its debt obligations, are why should the current population be squeezed to death to repay the endless borrowing by the communist regime in the 1970s and 1980s? Where did that money all go? To build villas in the hills of Buda, no doubt.
The great Bill Bonner suggested last year, “Why Greece Should Default and Go Broke With Dignity.” He could be writing for Hungary as well.
Maybe Hungary should just tell Lagarde, José Manuel Barroso, and Hillary Clinton to “stuff it.”12:15 pm on January 16, 2012 Email Daniel McAdams