Being “under siege” from Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin has earned George Soros the FT’s ‘person of the year’ title. Eyebrows were raised over the not-at-all biased description of the billionaire as a champion of democracy.
For thirty years, liberal businessman and philanthropist Soros has used his vast wealth to crusade against "authoritarianism, racism and intolerance," the FT profile reads.
Armed with his expansive grant-giving network, Open Societies Foundations (OSF), the Hungarian-American spread his influence to some 100 countries across the globe. The NGO currently has annual expenditures of over $940 million, with 26 national and regional foundations and offices.
There's hardly a question over whether the Soros-funded apparatus is doing the right thing. The first paragraph of the story says it just "helped thwart an allegedly corrupt nuclear power plant contract with Russia" – a feat to be admired in the liberal world.
"We haven't stopped having a beneficial influence," Soros is then quoted as saying.Also on rt.com George Soros’ Open Society foundation ends operations in Hungary
But there's a worrying trend for the Democrat mega-donor, passionate advocate for open borders and outspoken critic of Brexit. More and more detractors see his work as an existential threat to conservative values and even state sovereignty.
The "standard bearer of liberal democracy and open society" has found his ideals "under siege" as he "has attracted the wrath of authoritarian regimes and, increasingly, the national populists who continue to gain ground," writes FT.
At one point Soros sounds a bit more critical of himself than the paper, as he acknowledges he's a divisive figure, something he still believes indicates his effectiveness as an activist.
"I'm blamed for everything, including being the anti-Christ," Soros says. "I wish I didn't have so many enemies, but I take it as an indication that I must be doing something right."
Soros wasn't joking. Hungarian lawmaker Andras Aradszki of the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) once declared that it is a Christian's duty to oppose Soros' calls for Europe to take in asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East – what Aradszki called "Satan's Soros plan." The lawmaker added that "Soros and his comrades want to destroy the independence and values of nation states."
In May, the OSF ended its operations in Hungary, citing an "increasingly repressive political and legal environment." A month later, Hungary's parliament passed the 'Stop Soros' law which threatens jail time for anyone helping illegal immigrants claim asylum.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban accused Soros of attempting to use mass migration to undermine Europe's stability.
"Soros has antagonized not only us but also England, President Trump and Israel too," Orban said in February. "Everywhere he wants to get migration accepted. It won't work. We are not alone and we will fight together… and we will succeed."Also on rt.com Hungary approves ‘Stop Soros’ law criminalizing aid to illegal migrants
In the UK, the billionaire has been sharply criticized for his donations of over £800,000 ($1,062,000) to pro-EU campaigns. The pledges included £400,000 to Best for Britain, a campaign group that has been at the forefront of anti-Brexit activism.
The businessman's activities have received similar hostility in the United States, where some have accused him of providing assistance to the so-called "migrant caravan" which made its way from Central America to the US' southern border. "The venom, long concealed among extreme right networks, has leaked into the mainstream," laments the FT.
Soros, along with other notable critics of Donald Trump, such as former President Barack Obama, the Clintons and CNN, was recently targeted by an alleged pipe bomb mailed to his home in New York.
A prominent backer of the Democratic Party, Soros has called Trump a "danger to the world," and once (wrongly) bet that stocks would collapse if Donald won presidency. The bet reportedly cost him $1 billion – quite affordable for the investor who is currently worth $8.3 billion after his 2017 transfer of $18 billion to the OSF.Also on rt.com ‘Lock him up!’ Smiling Trump joins chant against Soros (VIDEO)
For a man who made billions short-selling the UK pound sterling and has been accused of several more currency crises in Asia, FT's Soros comes across as a wise old benefactor "looking beyond his formidable legacy" in his "twilight years."
But for all the accolades, the paper may have forgotten that the businessman has long had his sights set on a title more ambitious than merely the 'person' of the year. In a 1993 interview with the UK Independent, Soros actually confessed that he suffers from a god complex.
"It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out," he said.
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