Editorial: Desperately seeking enemies


From the Budapest Business Journal print edition: The mobilization promised last October is unfolding before our eyes, as four years of belligerent rhetoric is finally building up to an actual “battle” in the form of the general elections. Not willing to ease the momentum, the government is going out of its way to identify as many enemies as possible.

It’s interesting to see the different realities that determine the lives of Hungary, its neighbors and allies. U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for an end to the derisive partisan politics that have already led to a government shutdown from the most ineffective congress in the history of the country. For the States, the biggest challenge is obtuse political opposition that has made a life mission out of obstructionism.

In the meantime, the warscape that Viktor Orbán is broadcasting as a concept to his camp has become an all too vivid reality in the Ukraine, where the authoritarian drive of the governing political forces is being met with extensive riots that have already led to several fatalities and numerous injuries. As events evolve, there is a painfully realistic chance of an genuine civil war just east of our borders, and one that doesn’t only exist within the heads of a few.

But, since Orbán’s verbal arsenal is limited to keeping troops motivated in times of strife, he has so far failed to develop speech patterns that would be fit for peacetime. No wonder he has spent all of his governance rallying enemies, the more the better, even if there was no reason for antagonism.

As such, the axis of the forces that are busy conspiring against Hungary as a top priority on their daily agendas includes the rating agencies, the banks, international financial organizations, Brussels, Washington, the political left abroad, not to mention the political left at home, the loyal, treacherous proxy of all the external forces.  

The fact that these sides have seldom actually wanted to do the things they are accused of, like taking away social benefits, forcing the introduction of new taxes or going against the government’s centerpiece drive for utility cost reduction has never really bothered anyone.  

It is no surprise that stoking paranoia is the central theme for the campaign, the main message being “look at all we’ve given you. If those others win, all of this will be taken way.” In contrast, the political opposition has yet to give existing and potential supporters a message to rally behind, because their promise of peace is easily trumped by the will to reach scramble-readiness against real or imaginary enemies. To quote a classic song: “Peace sells, but who’s buying?”

Then again, why would anyone change a winning formula?


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