On Tuesday, 21 February, the Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ, AK) held an event to welcome Shea Bradley-Farrell, a foreign policy expert and the president of Counterpoint Institute in the US, as their first guest lecturer and research fellow. Titled ‘Hungary: The Last Bastion of Freedom in Europe’, Dr Bradley-Farrell took part in a roundtable discussion with geopolitical analyst at AK Zoltán Koskovics. The talk took place in front of a packed house at the Center’s Buda headquarters.
Before the guest of honour took the stage, the Center’s Director General Miklós Szánthó made short opening remarks. He highlighted that his organisation’s prior successes allowed them to start a new partnership with Dr Bradley-Farrell. He also stressed the importance of a strong transatlantic alliance between conservatives in Hungary and the United States.
‘The United States is more than just Joe Biden, David Pressman, and the Democratic Party. There are also reasonable voices in America
that agree with us Hungarian conservatives on the issues of peace and security,’ Miklós Szánthó nailed down.
Dr Bradley-Farrell started the discussion by recanting what pushed her to the conservative movement. While working in the capital city of Washington D.C., she felt she was constantly being pushed to accept the liberal views on family and other important social issues. She also lamented that belief in God, family, and even patriotism, which used to be unquestioned values in her homeland, are now routinely attacked.
The speaker also made no secret of the fact that she is especially fond of our country, Hungary. In fact, she is currently working on a book about Hungary, intended for an American audience. Also, this is her third time visiting our nation in the middle of Europe.
During the discussion, Dr Bradley-Farrell described Hungarian people as ‘cheerful warriors’ in the culture fight against the wokeism coming from the Western mainstream—in her view, we generally object politely, and with a smile on our faces. She also drew parallels between 1776 and 1956, the year the United States declared its independence from Great Britain and the year when Hungarian civilians took up arms against their Soviet oppressors.
Evidently, the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war was a prominent topic of conversation at the event. Dr Bradley-Farrell shares the viewpoint of the Orbán administration that a negotiated peace is the best resolution to the conflict. She explained:
‘I have a very unpopular view of the war in Ukraine, in the United States. I am more welcome here in my view than anywhere in the United States. I will start by saying that I believe in Ukrainian sovereignty. However, I do not believe that it is in US interest to do what we’re doing. I believe we are enabling a war that has weakened Europe because of the energy crisis, has driven Putin into the hands of China, which is, really, where the United States should be focusing, on bringing down China’s infiltration of the United States. I also believe that it is also enabling a war that will grind on. (…) I believe that we are enabling a war that is killing many more Ukrainian than must happen. (…) I am also tired of the money we are sending.’
She also talked about an open letter by the Counterpoint Insitute that asks the US government to call for an immediate ceasefire and negotiate peace in Ukraine.
However, it currently only has eight signatures, not enough to publish it, as this is an opinion that is scarcely supported in the US, even in conservative circles. Despite that, she also expressed hope that if a new, conservative administration is elected in there in 2024, the country can get back to a more pragmatic, deterrence-centric approach to foreign policy. Dr Bradley-Farrell asked everyone in the audience to pray that would happen.