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Is Hungary’s Covid-19 emergency an ‘Orban’s power grab’ – or fake news by globalist hypocrites?

Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

Is Hungary’s Covid-19 emergency an ‘Orban’s power grab’ – or fake news by globalist hypocrites?
Western liberals are denouncing Hungary’s parliament for giving Prime Minister Viktor Orban dictatorial powers to deal with Covid-19, even as they advocate similar measures at home, due to a peculiar understanding of democracy.

Even as it acknowledged that dealing with the coronavirus pandemic “requires harsh measures which curtail individual freedoms,” the Guardian was shocked – shocked! – that the Hungarian parliament gave Prime Minister Viktor Orban essentially unlimited dictatorial powers.

“This will be another bad week for Hungarian democracy,” the paper proclaimed in an editorial titled ‘Orban’s power grab’ and lamenting what it called “an indefinite period of what amounts to one-man rule in an EU member state.”

While French President Emmanuel Macron has enacted “wide-ranging and draconian” emergency measures, and UK’s own PM Boris Johnson also got sweeping new powers, the Guardian argued, those were different – because both were time-limited, whereas Orban’s are open-ended.

The shrillness of their reactions might make one think the Orszaghaz  just passed the Hungarian version of the Enabling Act. Worse, even – to borrow Guardian’s logic – as even Hitler’s emergency powers had to be rubber-stamped by the Reichstag every four years, while Orban’s are unlimited. Except that’s not true at all, according to Orban’s press secretary Zoltan Kovacs.

“I don't ask for a week, two days, neither for ninety days. You misunderstand the situation. I don't need a fixed deadline. You can take it back tomorrow morning if you consider it inadequate,”Kovacs quoted Orban himself as saying in the parliament a week ago. If true, this would mean Orban’s unprecedented dictatorial powers are actually far less sweeping than those currently delegated to Macron, Johnson or any other “western liberal democrat” given the presumption of virtue by the Guardian. 

As for the paper itself, Kovacs blasted the editorial as “liberal media so blinded by their own ideological view of the world, so out of touch with the people, that it’s as if they lived on another planet, far removed from the life and death decisions that leaders are compelled to make in this pandemic.”

Kovacs has a tough row to hoe in correcting the record, however. The Guardian was merely the first Western media outlet to frame the Hungarian emergency as the demise of democracy itself. Others quickly followed. On Monday, the same exact talking points were regurgitated by Congressman Eliot Engel (D-New York), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives: blatant power grab, latest overreach, “serious affront to democracy anywhere”... 

Engel’s home state is in far worse shape regarding Covid-19 than Hungary, New York City is on a draconian lockdown, and its mayor just threatened to “permanently” close churches and synagogues that dare defy him by continuing to operate – but never mind any of that, let’s hear what the congressman has to say about the fate of Hungarian democracy!

As for the Guardian, even if its editors were right – which according to Kovacs, they aren’t – the UK has left the EU months ago, meaning that what happens in Hungary is no more their business than Engel’s. 

Hungary has long been a target of internationalist busybodies. In mid-March, as the Covid-19 quarantines were ramping up, a Swedish institute lamented its slide from democracy to “authoritarianism,” citing as proof Orban’s crackdown on globalist billionaire George Soros’s university and networks of “civil society” NGOs and media. 

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Apparently, these days democracy is not so much a method of decision-making, but a measure of one’s agreement with Soros. That’s the only explanation that can make sense out of the behavior of the liberal media such as the Guardian and globalist leftists like Engel. Both have shrieked bloody murder at the mere possibility the US or the UK might not be totally locked down for weeks or even months. Both have absurdly demanded that the rulers they despise – Johnson and US President Donald Trump – act more like autocrats in order to stop the coronavirus, and repeatedly condemned them when they seemed reluctant to do so.

On top of it all, the Guardian accuses Orban of believing in “never let a crisis go to waste” – a famous line attributed not to the Hungarian PM, but to Rahm Emanuel, the first chief of staff of liberal icon Barack Obama. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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