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Weeklies look back on the PM’s Dallas address

August 15th, 2022

Opposition-leaning analysts believe that the Prime Minister did a grave disservice to his country by taking sides with former president Donald Trump and his supporters in his address to the CPAC meeting. Pro-government commentators, on the other hand, take the event as proof that Prime Minister Orbán has become an important international actor.

In an editorial devoted to the echoes of the Prime Minister’s speech, Magyar Narancs finds it sad that critics and supporters of the Prime Minister passionately debated the insignificant question of whether the hall where the Prime Minister spoke in Dallas was crammed with people or half empty. The debate, they write, should centre instead on what Mr Orbán actually said. They also condemn the Prime Minister for joining that shallow debate by publishing a photo of the hall full of people listening to his speech and condemning the left-wing press for alleging the opposite.

In Heti Világgazdaság, former Foreign Minister and ambassador to Washington Géza Jeszenszky thinks the tactical decision of the Prime Minister to support Donald Trump in the United States is ill-advised because a small country like Hungary should not take such a risk. He believes in fact that Mr Trump only has a small chance of becoming President of the United States again. The Democratic administration is obviously highly critical of the Hungarian government and Mr Jeszenszky criticises Foreign Minister Péter Szíjjártó for having flatly rejected criticism by the new American ambassador to Budapest. Instead, he suggests, Hungarian officials should try and convince him that he was mistaken when he told Congress in Washington that the rule of law has been seriously undermined in Hungary.

In their editorial, the new editors of 168 óra admit that Prime Minister Orbán has become an important international player and is visibly engaged to find solutions to global problems. No wonder, they continue, since he has won four consecutive landslide victories in parliamentary elections at home and is therefore inclined to find the home theatre less inspiring. However, 168 óra thinks, problems have begun accumulating within Hungary and as the Prime Minister’s role is central in decision-making, he had better not be distracted by his interest in international affairs.

In Demokrata, András Bencsik interprets the Prime Minister‘s speech in Dallas as a catalyst for positive changes in the attitude of American conservatives,  discouraged by their defeat in the last presidential elections. He admits that Hungary has now no allies in Europe with what he calls her ‘organic democracy’. Europe, he continues, is sinking ever deeper into an existential crisis and the only chance of survival is a conservative takeover in America.

In Mandiner, Vajk Farkas remarks that Prime Minister Orbán’s figure has aroused unprecedented attention in America. The last Hungarian statesman to be known throughout America was Lajos Kossuth, the leader of the war of liberation in 1848/49, but he was in exile, whereas Mr Orban is an acting Prime Minister. Many right-wingers in the United States see him as a role model, while progressives describe him as the embodiment of evil. But even the negative reactions, Farkas writes, show that the Hungarian Prime Minister is an important factor in international affairs.

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