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Weeklies on President Biden’s first week in office

February 1st, 2021

A liberal jurist believes the Biden administration must be a source of concern for the Hungarian government, but he does not expect it to produce fundamental changes in Hungary. A pro-government columnist wonders where the ‘identity politics’ ostentatiously represented by the new administration will lead the United States.

In 168 óra, constitutional lawyer Richárd Szentpéteri Nagy welcomes the new US administration and predicts that its foreign policy will do Hungary good while it will certainly not be favourable to the government. He admits that Hungary is very low in the priority list of the Biden administration, and the whole region is hardly considered important. Moreover, he adds, Europe itself trails far behind the other regions and problems the new Democratic administration must face. Nevertheless, former President Trump was certainly nearer to the ideological space the Hungarian government is familiar with, he writes, although Mr Trump didn’t have particular projects in mind apart from staying personally in the limelight as much as possible. Szentpéteri Nagy finds it almost incomprehensible, why the Hungarian government invested its faith so heavily in Trump, but in any case, the gamble failed and now it has to work with a US administration that will consider it unfriendly. The analyst cautions the Hungarian opposition from believing that its problems will be solved by the Biden administration, although the latter is obviously a supporter of liberal democracy, which is something the opposition wants to re-establish. The new leadership of the United States will, after all, devote more attention to Hungary than the previous one, but Hungary’s fate is in the hands of the Hungarians, Szentpéteri Nagy concludes.

In a very different vein, Demokrata’s László Szentesi Zöldi interprets the composition of the new administration as proof that what he calls ‘socialism’ is being built in the United States. He finds it characteristic that President Biden follows certain ethnic quotas in nominating his secretaries. He objects to that method, recalling the experience of the peoples of Central Europe who have horrible memories in their recent history of citizens being categorised according to their racial or ethnic origins. He lists a few of the first executive orders issued by President Biden, including introducing non-binary restrooms in schools and allowing trans people (whom he describes as being, in reality, sick men or women) to compete in sporting events among representatives of their chosen gender, as further proof of the direction the new administration is taking towards expanding the scope of identity politics. Szentesi Zöldi predicts that another swift decision to give 11 million undocumented immigrants citizenship will trigger new waves of immigrants arriving through Mexico from Latin America. If they also end up being granted US citizenship, their sheer numbers can guarantee eternal numerical superiority for the Democrats over the Republicans, which will produce a virtual one-party system in the United States, he laments. In this sense, he describes the new system that will emerge from the Biden administration as ‘quota socialism’.

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