Last week in the Washington Post, former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote that America needs to do a better job telling its own story overseas. The idea—a self-serving one for US elites—is that if people around the world are turning against America, or at least not as willing to identify with her, then the problem must be that they don’t understand how good we Americans are, and how righteous is our cause.
Well, gosh. It never seems to occur to these people that many around the world may understand perfectly well what America’s program is—and they reject it. We Americans have many virtues, but the humility that comes from self-knowledge is not one of them. It might come as a shock to American elites like Bob Gates, but trying to put lipstick on a pig does not conceal the fact that the old girl is, in fact, a pig.
Ambassadors are supposed to represent their country’s interests in overseas capitals, including advocating for their government’s policies. But they are also supposed to be prudent and, well, diplomatic. Do the American people understand how David Pressman, Washington’s man in Budapest and the chief cosmetician of swinish policies, is coming off like a ham-fisted bully?
The US Embassy is behind a new campaign to post signs throughout Hungary, likening the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. The intention, obviously, is to activate patriotic memory among Hungarians, and motivate them to oppose the Orban government’s moderate stance on the war.
The Russia-Ukraine was has been going on for well over a year now, and the Orbán government’s stance is the same as it always was: condemning Russian aggressive violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and calling for a negotiated peace. This was the same platform Viktor Orbán ran on last spring, in which he won a landslide fourth term in office.
To Washington’s chagrin, it is a popular position with the Hungarian people.
And the polls show that in the United States, despite heavy pro-war messaging in the media, more people are coming to share Orbán’s skepticism.
And yet, comes the US Embassy with this clunky campaign. Washington is certainly at liberty to say whatever it wants, but it should not be surprised if this initiative fails to change Magyar hearts and Magyar minds.
You also have to consider the context. The ‘Russians Go Home’ campaign comes weeks after USAID Administrator Samantha Power came to Budapest to announce a $20 million US taxpayer grant to Hungarian NGOs to fight for ‘civil society’ and ‘democracy’—democracy, of course, having been achieved
when voters choose as Washington would have had them do.
The recently leaked Pentagon files revealed that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán considers the US to be one of the top three adversaries of his Fidesz party. (A pro-government source later said the prime minister was not speaking of the United States per so, but of the Biden Administration.)
If so, it’s hard to blame Orban. How many other American allies receive Washington’s help in trying to undermine their elected governments? This is Color Revolution stuff. Hungarians are not fooled. The recent meeting of Ambassador Pressman with some senior Hungarian judges might have been perfectly innocent, but in the light of Power’s visit, and given the history of the US supporting Color Revolutions in this region, one mustn’t be naïve.
Samantha Power, in Budapest to bring the light of progress to the darkness-dwelling Huns of the Pannonian plain, said that the United States would stand by ‘LGBTQI+’ people.
Like Poland, Hungary is targeted by Washington because it does not wish to queer its children,
as Americans and Western Europeans do.
In the United States today, some states have passed laws that allow the government to seize minor children claiming to be trans, and put them on cross-sex hormones, or administer surgical alterations of their bodies, over the objections of parents. This totalitarian landmark has been reached only a few years after schools and the media began propagandizing young people with gender ideology. Power came to Hungary to announce to the people of the American Empire that Washington will liberate them from their backwards culture, whether they want it or not.
Hungary does not allow same-sex marriage, a fact that offends Washington, and which is taken by many Hungarians to be the reason why President Biden dispatched a married gay man as US ambassador. Do you know who else doesn’t allow same sex marriage? Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea – all key American allies, whose governments Washington would take care not to insult.
Team Biden does this to Hungary because it can. Hungary is small. This is bullying.
Magyars know it when they see it.
Some American conservatives living here know it too. In fact, I tell visiting Yanks, who usually arrive knowing only what the outrageously biased US media tell them, that if you want to understand how Hungary stands vis-à-vis the United States, imagine that the American government, media, and other institutions treat it like they treat us conservatives at home. That clarifies things immediately.
In fact, living here in Central Europe has been, for me, a series of such clarifications. As an American who loves his country, I have been shocked and dismayed by how the US—both the government and private actors, like NGOs and corporations—seems determined to ridicule and shame the region’s more conservative countries over the LGBT issue. In Romania recently for Orthodox Easter, I spoke to religious conservatives who despair at what both Washington and Brussels are doing to their country in terms of cultural imperialism.
Over and over, I heard ordinary Romanians tell me that they’re afraid for the future, because they can feel the tensions rising within their families, and don’t know how to resist the cultural attacks coming from the West. These are Christians, and democrats, men and women who used to look to the West for hope when they suffered under the yoke of Communism. Now they see us as a threat.
This is dizzying for a middle-aged American conservative who grew up in the last decades of the Cold War. When I was in college during the Reagan years, it was the left that yelled against ‘American imperialism’. Back then, people like me naively believed that the rest of the world wanted and needed to be like us Americans. And, to be fair, there was a lot about the way we lived, and the things we believed, that were admirable.
But the Iraq and Afghanistan experience, and President George W. Bush’s messianic delusions about defeating evil around the world, cured me of that. Living through the radical corruption of US institutions by the left, and its use of power to compel Americans to accept their woke cultural revolution, also disillusioned me. It is, sadly, no surprise to see that the same people are doing the same kind of thing to foreigners who resist.
It’s touching, actually, that
so many Hungarians I meet really do love and respect America,
despite the high-handed, neo-colonial way Washington treats this country. They prefer to focus on the hope they have in America, over their experience with its government, its woke-capitalist corporations, and its destructive cultural forces. You will not soon see signs in the Hungarian countryside reading, ‘Jenkik haza!’ (Yankee Go Home!)
But will this last?