Has Viktor Orbán stepped up, is he becoming an international opinion leader?

On Thursday, Viktor Orbán gave a speech in Dallas, at one of the largest conservative political events in the world, the American CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), which we reported in detail here.

János Kovács sees Viktor Orbán’s ambitions as an international opinion leader coming to fruition.

It may be that the concept of state and society he represents is currently in opposition or in the minority in Western societies, but there are few political leaders who try to give politics a strategic vision, an alternative for action, and a metaphysical content – as a model.

underlined the analyst.

The CPAC Hungary event was held in Budapest at the end of May, and the prime minister summarized the recipe for success in 12 points, which was more of a program speech. In Dallas, on the other hand, a “visionary campaign speech” was delivered, one of the barely concealed goals of which, according to the analyst, is for the Hungarian and American right-wing parties to enter into a strategic alliance with each other, discovering the ideological kinship and the common enemy – this was felt in the civilization stakes, as well as the overseas and also from the connection of European socio-political processes.

If we put the ideas presented in Dallas next to Viktor Orbán’s speech in Tusvány two weeks ago – the sentences he uttered about the mixing of races caused a great storm – then the “problem spectrum outlined by the head of government also receives a geopolitical and political philosophical framework, although due to the different target audience, the less impressive to American ears – be it about the “mixing of races” or the changing role of the United States in the global power formula.

János Kovács added: the prime minister also tried to neutralize the accusation of race theory in front of the Republican audience when he spoke about how a Christian cannot be a racist, and when he praised the achievements of the Hungarian family support system and jokingly remarked to the male audience that they should find themselves a Hungarian wife.

Viktor Orbán, as an experienced orator and a veteran politician, is obviously able to frame his speeches in such a way that, depending on the context and audience, they are well received, but at least attention-grabbing

said the analyst.

Symbolic piles

According to Kovács, it was not by chance that the “identity-giving challenges with symbolic power, through which the overseas right can easily discover ideological kinship, can at least partially look at the Orbán government as a recipe for success that can be adapted”. János Kovács listed: “illegal migration and border protection, national sovereignty and pride against global elites, traditional values ​​that can be opposed to “woke” social engineering, individualism instead of the collectivism of the progressive left, which is also beneficial for liberalism, against gender theories, traditional the concept of family, the protection of the civilizational heritage of the Western culture”.

The head of government also assured his audience that he considers the Russian side to be the aggressor in the Russian-Ukrainian war, but at the same time he blamed the failure of peacemaking on the part of the Biden administration, barely covertly calling the American president a weak leader.

János Kovács also pointed out that “Viktor Orbán wanted to give an ideological refresh to the American right, which was searching for a way, and at the same time he used the opportunity to influence American domestic politics through his position, to praise his allies preparing for the midterm elections, and to draw parallels with the 2024 between the stakes of the US presidential election and the European Parliament election, also indicating that they are fighting the same global network on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Tactical cloak

The prime minister mentioned several issues in the economic field: the global minimum tax, the single rate tax, family tax benefits and the favorable investment environment. In this regard, the analyst noted that the Prime Minister somewhat disguised “the essential differences between the slimmer state of the American right and its willingness to redistribute, and the Hungarian social market economy”.

János Kovács also drew our attention to the fact that “in the mid-1990s, Fidesz drew on the republican bourgeois conservatism of which the Prime Minister outlined to the audience in Dallas a more radical, sharpened, culture-warrior form – subtly masked by the Hungarian and American right-wing its different relationship to state intervention.”

Orbán’s political habits and public policy solutions attract the most extreme adjectives among the opinion makers of the Democratic Party, but even among the Republicans, the Hungarian prime minister can be considered a hard-line right-winger. At the same time, the attention paid to him and his personality shows that, compared to Hungary’s geopolitical weight, he has now become a highly influential leader, who is also being paid attention to by his opponents.

explained the analyst.

János Kovács also told our paper that the Prime Minister spoke “at the CPAC as one of the renovators of the western right-wing, while at the Bálványos Free University event he spoke as a thinker defining Hungarian interests and sense of life against Western progress”.

A few taboos remain

The analyst recorded that Viktor Orbán “although he did not question Hungary’s EU and NATO membership at Tusványos, he stated that the EU also needs a “historic treaty” with Russia, and it was clear from what he said that, according to his perception, Europe in the global competition The United States is not only a partner, but also a competitor, and in contrast to the West, there is a specific Central European community of values ​​and destiny, which is embodied by the Visegrád group”.

Both the speech in Tusnádfürdő and the Prime Minister’s speech at the CPAC events (in Budapest and Dallas) tried to contrast patriotic governance, localism, and the doctrine of openness that feeds internationalism and cultural relativism professed by global elites. However, the Prime Minister shamefully remained silent about the “end justifies the means” power engineering tools at all forums, even though criticisms of the illiberal features of his system – mediated by the Hungarian opposition – often draw on these examples

– the analyst summed up the three speeches.

(Cover photo: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gives an opening speech at the summer conference of the American Conservative Union (CPAC) in Dallas on August 4, 2022. Photo: MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office/Benko Vivien Cher)

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