Hungary’s Prime Minister to NATO: Try Diplomacy Instead of War

On July 9, NATO leaders gathered in Washington for a three-day summit in a much gloomier atmosphere than was expected even a few weeks ago. The main participants include the mumbling and disoriented U.S. President Biden, who shows signs of dementia; France’s President Macron who has just gone from one stunning electoral defeat to another; the U.K.’s new Prime Minister Starmer, who was swept into office on little more than the rejection of his Tory opponents; and a German Chancellor Scholz, whose government could fall at any point (cf. more below).

Despite their weaknesses, the leaders are expected to commit to hundreds of billions of dollars more for Ukraine, to escalate the provocations of both Russia and China and to expand the drive for a “Global NATO”.

The other big factor adding to the gloominess is the surprise initiative taken so forcefully by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, once he assumed the presidency of the European Council on July 1. The very next day, he flew to Kyiv to discuss with President Zelenskyy conditions for a possible ceasefire and the opening of negotiations, followed by a quickly organized visit to Moscow on July 5, for a 2.5 hour meeting with Vladimir Putin. After a busy weekend, he was off to Beijing July 8 for a discussion with President Xi on China’s and Brazil’s peace proposal for Ukraine, before flying to Washington to attend the NATO summit.

Orbán stressed in all his many comments and interviews how much “Europe needs peace”, which cannot be achieved without diplomacy, without talking to all the parties involved or concerned. It so happens that Hungary is uniquely situated today to discuss with both Russia and Ukraine. Whether one agrees or not with all of the Prime Minister’s policies, in particular on the Middle East or immigration, he is on the mark as concerns this critical issue.

Indeed, in advance of the NATO summit, Newsweek, a major U.S. news magazine, published July 5 an op-ed by Orbán, titled “The Point of NATO Is Peace, Not Endless War”. For the war mongers in Washington, London and Brussels, he recalls that the military alliance “started as a peace project, and its future success depends on its ability to maintain peace. But today, instead of peace, the agenda is the pursuit of war; instead of defense it is offense. All this runs counter to NATO’s founding values.”

And further: “today, ever more voices within NATO are making the case for the necessity—or even inevitability—of military confrontation with the world’s other geopolitical power centers. This perception of inevitable confrontation functions like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more that NATO’s leaders believe conflict to be inevitable, the greater will be their role in precipitating it….”

Hopefully, his voice will be heard by others at the summit. A wild card for the alliance is Donald Trump, whom Orbán met in March, should he be elected in November. That subject also came up in Orbán’s discussion with Putin. Support for talks to end the war in Ukraine has also come from Slovakian Prime Minister Fico, Bulgarian Prime Minister Glavchev, and Turkey’s President Erdogan. Still a small minority, but growing…

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