The Washington Post ran a column on Wednesday pushing for the US government to punish Hungary’s right-wing government for trying to kick out George Soros-funded NGOs.
The piece, which is written by Dalibor Rohac, “a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute,” and Mate Hajba, “director of the Free Market Foundation in Budapest, Hungary,” warns Hungary is moving away from “Western democratic values.”
The pair write in the Post, “How the United States Can Stop Hungary’s Descent Into Authoritarianism”:
While Hungary is the United States’ friend and ally, the relationship between the two cannot be based on turning a blind eye toward each other’s failings. Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s leadership, the central European nation finds itself on a trajectory that is moving it away from Western democratic values.
Of course, moving away from “Western democratic values” in this context means they’re not letting Soros-funded NGOs destroy their country from within by pushing open borders, globalism and all manners of social degeneracy. They’re also organizing protests to try and foment another “Arab Spring.”
In the current edition of the “Freedom in the World” ranking by Freedom House, Hungary lags not only behind its Visegrad neighbors (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) but also behind Bulgaria, Romania and Tunisia. Emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, Orban launched an offensive against dissenting voices this year. Those include foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations, which are to be labeled as “foreign agents” under a law currently under discussion in Hungary’s parliament. A recently adopted bill will make it impossible for the Central European University (CEU), a U.S. educational institution with a charter from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, to operate in Hungary.
These propagandists completely leave out the fact Central European University is founded and funded by George Soros. The Washington Post clearly has zero standards when it comes to full disclosure.
They also ignore the reason the university is being indirectly targeted is because the degrees they give have an unfair advantage because they’re recognized in the US, despite them having no US campus.
As Orban’s press office said last month, “The existence of higher education institutions without actual activities operating as offshore mailboxes will not be permitted by Hungarian legislation in the future, either.”
The piece continues:
The administration and Congress must respond. Here are five steps that the United States can take to dissuade Orban from emulating the example of other aspiring authoritarians.
First, President Trump needs to appoint an experienced career diplomat as ambassador to Hungary. […]
Second, the administration has to make it clear that Orban is not welcome in the White House. After his phone call with the then president-elect, Orban claimed that Trump had invited him on an official visit to Washington. The invitation likely existed only in the Hungarian prime minister’s imagination. When Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto visited Washington in March, the most senior official he met was Sebastian Gorka, the controversial White House deputy assistant of Hungarian descent. Yet at home Orban continues to project the image of the new U.S. administration standing squarely behind him, including in his efforts to silence dissenting voices within civil society. There is no reason the administration should play along.
We can’t even talk to them because they’re trying to kick out Soros agents working to overthrow their democratically elected government.
Third, bilateral military-to-military cooperation can be temporarily reduced. The United States could impose a moratorium on joint exercises with Hungarian forces under the umbrella of the European Reassurance Initiative and on Hungary’s participation in programs within the International Military Education and Training. While Hungary is a NATO ally on Europe’s eastern flank, it is far from being the most vulnerable to possible military aggression by Russia. Moreover, unlike Poland or the Baltic states, Hungary’s government has long hesitated to treat the Kremlin as a threat. Quite the contrary, Vladimir Putin has received red-carpet treatment in Budapest on regular occasions (most recently in early February), and the Orban government also continues to deepen the country’s energy ties to Russia.
We can’t work with them militarily because they’re trying to kick out Soros agents working to overthrow their democratically elected government.
Fourth, if the “Lex CEU” stays in place and the new legislation on foreign-funded NGOs is adopted, Congress ought to respond by imposing visa bans on government officials involved in formulating, adopting and implementing the two pieces of legislation. Again, while Hungary is the United States’ friend and ally, there are precedents for such seemingly harsh measures. In 2014, the United States imposed a visa ban on six officials of Hungary’s tax administration, including its head Ildiko Vida, who were involved in a tax fraud scandal that affected U.S. companies operating in Europe.
We can’t ban the issuance of visas to Muslims from terrorist nations we’re at war with according to liberal judges in our own nation’s undemocratic, broken courts — but we should ban Hungarian government officials from getting visas because they’re trying to kick out Soros agents working to overthrow their democratically elected government.
Finally, Washington can’t care about Hungary more than policymakers in Berlin and Brussels do. But the administration can urge its European partners to stop being mere bystanders. In addition to the rule of law procedure, the European Commission can turn off the inflow of structural funds into Hungary. As long as it embraces authoritarianism, Fidesz cannot have a political home in the center-right European People’s Party, where it currently resides with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats or Sweden’s Moderates. While European leaders tend to be extremely cautious in their dealings with Orban, they would likely follow Washington’s example.
Even though Hungary is part of the EU and pays into the EU, we should pressure the EU not to give them any of their money back because they’re trying to kick out Soros agents working to overthrow their democratically elected government.
That’s basically a declaration of war.
Ultimately, the future of Hungary is in the hands of Hungarian voters, not policymakers in Washington. However, staying silent while a government of an allied nation dismantles democratic institutions, cracks down on civil society and chases a U.S. university out of the country would leave a shameful blemish on the United States’ reputation.
The deep state has been, and currently is working to overthrow our democratically elected president to prevent him from implementing the agenda he was voted in on, but we’re supposed to lecture Hungary on “Western democratic values.”