Orban: The Savvy Strongman Made in America and and Hungary
The complex American entanglements of the "Orban" persona
"The globalists can all go to hell, I have come to Texas," declared Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on August 4 at the CPAC meeting in Dallas. He received a standing ovation for his strongman performance in which he presented his country as "the last man standing" against a cabal of liberals, communists, puppets of George Soros, and other enemies of Western civilization and freedom.
Orban is a savvy communicator. His speech, which was replete with quotable phrases and far-right buzzwords, received wide media coverage across the political spectrum. His appearance in Dallas glossed a campaign to position himself as kingpin of the right-wing international order he is working hard to bring to fruition.
My own essay for MSNBC, focused on the ideological similarities between Orban and the GOP, which drive the Republicans' periodic pilgrimages to Budapest to see his autocracy in action first-hand. With Russian President Vladimir Putin too toxic now for many due to his terroristic war on Ukraine, Orban markets himself as the "acceptable autocrat," as I tell MSNBC host Ali Velshi in a clip embedded in the article.
Here I develop a few points that are essential to understanding the Orban-US Republican relationship.
First, the "Orban" of 2022 --the political animal who showed up at Dallas--is, in part, an American creation.