Crusade against Hungary

In stark contrast to the Left’s timidity in the face of actual authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia, the liberal media’s treatment of Hungary has aggressively crossed the line. Paul Krugman of the New York Times sounded the alarm after Hungary’s conservative Fidesz-KDNP alliance won 68 percent of the seats in Parliament in the 2010 elections. He foresaw a post-Soviet “re-establishment of authoritarian rule” in Hungary. The British Guardian fell into line, describing Hungary’s new prime minister, Viktor Orbán, as an “autocratic leader.” The Washington Post, not to be outdone, compared Hungary to Belarus and Putin’s Russia. Not long after, and with great satisfaction, Hungarian émigré professor Charles Gati announced in an op-ed in the Times that Hungary is “no longer a Western-style democracy.” Having been drummed out of the West by left-wing editorialists, Hungary became fair game for the next phase of the liberal crusade: U.S. intervention. Slander has turned into absurd policy prescriptions, intent on destroying one of the most electorally effective center-right parties in Europe.

Writing in the Washington Post last week, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary Mark Palmer, Gati, and another émigré professor, Miklos Haraszti, argue that the state of Hungarian democracy is dire and that Radio Free Europe (RFE) must recommence the type of broadcasts it made into Hungary during the Cold War. The goal this time, however, is not to destabilize a Soviet-imposed Communist regime but to undermine a democratically elected government. This unfortunate op-ed proposes that the U.S. government and American taxpayers get involved in combatting the specter of alleged tyranny in our NATO ally — an ally that has chosen to remain in Afghanistan until the bitter end, unlike several others.

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