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Conflicting views on the Ukraine war

August 8th, 2022

Conservative and right-wing pundits accuse the West and the US of provoking Russia into war, adding that peace can be negotiated only by Washington and Moscow -a bullet point underlined by Viktor Orbán in his keynote speech to Republicans in Dallas. A liberal analyst, on the other hand, deems it crucial for the EU and NATO to stop Putin in order to avoid another world war.

On PestiSracok, Kristóf Trombitás writes that under Donald Trump’s presidency, the US did not start any wars or foreign interventions but, at the same time, the former President demanded increased funding for NATO from all member states. Commenting on the Taiwan conflict, the pro-government pundit contrasts Trump’s foreign policies with what he calls the Biden administration’s belligerence, which ‘provokes everyone and prolongs wars as much as possible’. Trombitás hopes that the Democratic presidency will end in two years – and also that ‘US liberals will not provoke another world war until then’.

In an interview with Inforadio, László Bogár accuses the US and NATO of pushing Russia into war. The economist, who is often accused by liberals of spreading conspiracy theories, contends that the ‘US is behaving like a cynical empire’, adding that Russia has a legitimate reason to keep ‘hostile powers’ far from its borders.

Magyar Nemzet’s Gergely Kiss likens EU sanctions on Russia to ‘an act of suicide’. While the sanctions on Russian energy will create a devastating economic shock and social crisis in several EU countries including Germany, Russia does not seem to be shaken by them, the pro-government columnist claims. Quoting American foreign policy analyst George Friedman, Kiss speculates that the war in Ukraine serves the interests of the US by severing European economies from Russian natural resources.

Writing in the same daily, Károly Lóránt contrasts the two main narratives on the war in Ukraine. The pro-government pundit believes that liberals who see the conflict as a crazy act by Russia only want to prolong the war. On the other hand, he places those conservatives who take into account the broader geopolitical realities and left-wing politicians who ‘have always condemned US imperialism”. This camp, Lóránt goes on, realizes that Moscow did not want to occupy Ukraine but only to pre-empt Western efforts to ‘make Ukraine a springboard for Western aggression against Russia’. Lóránt concludes by suggesting that peace is impossible as long as the first narrative prevails in the West.

In Magyar Demokrata, Gábor Stier acknowledges that Russia started the war by launching an armed aggression, but he also lambasts the EU for having assisted US efforts to turn Ukraine against Russia ever since the 2014 ‘Maidan coup’ that, according to the official Russian version espoused by the commentator, was financed and supported by the US. Stier adds that the EU did nothing whatsoever to ensure that Ukraine complied with the Minsk Agreement, including to respect the rights of Russians in eastern Ukraine. Stier agrees with Prime Minister Orbán that in order to end the war, Russia needs to negotiate with the US.

In Élet és Irodalom, János Herman, Hungary’s former NATO ambassador deems it absolutely necessary for NATO and the EU to remain united and show determination to stop Russia. Herman believes that unless Ukraine prevails, Russia will proceed further West. He goes on to liken Russia’s expansive geopolitics to those of Nazi Germany, and hopes that this time, Western European powers will not stand idly by as a bellicose state undermines peace on the continent. Herman suggests that is a prime interest for Hungary, too, that Russia ends up defeated. He criticizes PM Orbán for suggesting that Hungary should stay out of the war and should not share the burden of its costs.

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