In what is supposed to be a piece explaining Viktor Orban’s bad behavior and what to do about it to the elite globalists on both sides of the Atlantic, Caroline de Gruyter actually lifts the veil on the ugly attempts by European imperialists to stamp out Hungarian independence—be they EU functionaries in Brussels today, or the Habsburgs of Vienna circa the 1860s. She writes in Foreign Policy, with seemingly little reflection:
Viktor Orban is playing poker in Brussels these days. By blocking decision-making on important issues such as European Union enlargement, Sweden’s proposed membership in NATO, and the European budget, the Hungarian prime minister has been exasperating colleagues from other EU member states. This week, 27 national leaders have to travel to a summit in Brussels for one main reason: Orban’s continued refusal to agree to a 50 billion euro ($54.2 billion) financial aid package for Ukraine.
Orban’s tactics, however, are not very surprising when seen in historic perspective. The use of blackmail has been part of the Hungarian political playbook for centuries. In the Habsburg Empire, which Hungary belonged to until its collapse at the end of the First World War in 1918, it behaved in a similar way—and this included taking the common budget hostage.
For those wondering how the EU should deal with Orban in the future and whether he will ever stop being so difficult, this historical parallel is particularly instructive.
(Spoiler: He will not stop being difficult.)
Hungarians were a stubborn people in Habsburg times, too. Of all the nations and languages and religious groups within the multinational empire, they were easily the most demanding. They knew that Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916) wanted to prevent the empire from falling apart at almost all cost and would go far to accommodate them.
In the mid-19th century, when Hungary was the empire’s largest grain producer, the Hungarians even stopped food production to the rest of the empire for several years, producing just enough flour to be able to feed themselves. In what was called the Passive Resistance movement, Hungarians also stopped paying taxes and boycotted public offices.
This was their reaction to the harsh way that Vienna had squashed their political rebellion during Europe’s revolutionary years in 1848-1849. Their main demand was far-reaching autonomy. And sure enough, in the end, their civil disobedience was effective: In 1867, the empire was transformed into the so-called Dual Monarchy, a kind of alliance of two sovereign states, Austria and Hungary, each with far-reaching powers within the empire. From then on, the Hungarians were allowed practical self-rule on matters such as education and health care in their half of the empire (which also included present-day Croatia, Slovakia, and Romania). Foreign policy and defense, however, remained federal. There, the kaiser was firmly in charge.
Many historians agree that the Hungarians got the best deal of all constituent parts in the empire because of their stubbornness and tough negotiating tactics. In the Double Monarchy, Hungary prospered. Yet it was never satisfied and always pushed—or rather squeezed—the emperor for more.
Read more here.
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