In his historic State of the Union address Feb. 18, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called for a cease fire and peace talks in the Ukraine war. Orbán fondly remembered the pro-peace Presidency of Donald Trump and looked forward to the return of “our Republican friends” 2024.
Orbán stressed his intention to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, even as NATO “is on the side of war.” “Can Hungary afford to remain on the side of peace in such circumstances, in a way that is directly opposed to that of our allies?”, Orbán asked. “Of course we can, because Hungary is an independent, free and sovereign state,“ Orbán said, calling neutrality “the only right thing” to do.
Orbán said that “the war in Ukraine is not a war between the armies of Good and Evil, but a war between the troops of two Slavic countries: a war limited in time and – for the time being – in space. It is their war, not ours.”
Orbán said Hungary would not participate in economic sanctions against Russia, because they are “not in the national interest.” He opposed “priests and church leaders being placed on sanctions lists,” as well as “artists and athletes.” He noted that outside the West, most countries in the world understand “the limited significance of the war in Ukraine and the primacy of their own national interest.”
“The Hungarian viewpoint is an exception only in Europe – across the world it is the norm”
“We understand that the Ukrainians are trying to convince Europe that the Russians will not stop until they reach the Atlantic, but the Hungarians are not buying that threat. The whole world has seen that Russian forces are not in a position to attack NATO, and will not be in such a position for a long time,” Orbán said.
Orbán called his position “pro-peace” and the position of other NATO countries “pro-war.” Nevertheless, he said, all the NATO countries agree on strategic objectives: “We want Russia not to be a threat to Europe, and we want there to be a sufficiently broad and deep area between Russia and Hungary: a sovereign Ukraine. The difference between us is in our view of the means to achieve this: those who support the war think that this can be achieved by defeating Russia; and we think that it can be achieved by an immediate ceasefire and negotiations”, which he called “the only thing that can save lives.”
“NATO is not a war coalition”
Orbán called Hungary’s NATO membership “vital,” while stressing that NATO is a “defense alliance”: “NATO is not a war alliance. NATO is not a war coalition. Membership of NATO does not imply any obligation beyond joint defence, nor can member countries expect any other member to jointly attack a third country for some joint military objective. If some NATO members, or a group of them, want to carry out acts of war outside the territory of the member countries, they must do so outside the framework of NATO.”
Europe is “drifting towards war” like a “sleepwalker on a roof,” Orbán warned. “If you supply weapons, if you provide the satellite information for military action, if you train the soldiers of one of the belligerents, if you finance the entire state apparatus of one of the belligerents and impose sanctions on the other, then, no matter what you say, you are at war – indirectly for the time being.”
“It did not have to happen this way”
“It did not have to happen this way,” Orbán said: “We could have given a guarantee that we would not admit Ukraine to NATO; but we did the opposite, and confirmed our earlier decision in 2008 that we would admit them.”
When the Ukrainian government was overthrown in 2014 with Western support, “war was avoided and the Minsk agreement was reached,” Orbán said, referring to the Minsk agreements that would have granted autonomy to the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine.
“A year ago the West decided otherwise,” Orbán said. “When Russia launched an attack, the West did not isolate the conflict, but elevated it to a pan-European level. It could have classified it as a local, regional war or as a military conflict between two Slavic states, as Hungary proposed.”
Orbán warned that “we need to honestly face the fact that the war is getting wilder and more brutal.” The tone used against his government would get “harsher and more abusive,” he predicted, with “provocations, insults, threats and blackmail,” while promising “we shall stand our ground.” Orbán fondly recalled the pro-peace Presidency of Donald Trump, when “friendly troops arrived” in Washington.
“Public opinion will become increasingly pro-peace”
“A lot of water has flowed down the Potomac” since Trump, Orbán said, making a series of sly puns at the Biden Regime’s expense: “Fortunately, the White House has retained its sense of humour, and instead of a “good friend,” President Biden has sent us a ‘press man’,” he said, referring to US Ambassabor to Hungary David Pressman, who was sworn in August 8, 2022.
Biden had sent “an ambassador to ratchet up the pressure on us and do whatever it takes to press the Hungarians into the camp of war: to press a statement out of us in which we commit ourselves to joining in”, Orbán said. “This is fine, humor can help friendship survive hard times. But we should avoid the possibility that next time they send someone called Puccini!”, he said, making a joke on the word “putsch” (coup), referring to US-Open-Society-led color revolutions around the world.
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USAID head Samantha Power visited Budapest in February to “advance positive change” and “support democracy”, meeting with Soros NGOs including the Helsinki Committee, Transparency International, and K-Monitor. The Hungarian goivernment recently revealed how the US government spent $7.5 million to try and influence the Hungarian elections, whic Orbán nevertheless won fair and square (Gateway reported).
“We see that in 2024 America will have another election, and our Republican friends are flexing their muscles in preparation for their return,” Orbán said. “I also expect that democracy will show its strength in Europe, that public opinion will become increasingly pro-peace, demanding a ceasefire, peace talks, more sanity and – if necessary – new governments.”
“Peace will come when the Americans and the Russians negotiate”
“We have no illusions, we are not naive, and neither are we the flower children of ‘68 or dreaming pacifists”, Orbán said. “We know that the negotiations will not be between the Ukrainians and the Russians: peace will come when the Americans and the Russians negotiate with each other. That will inevitably happen, but the later it happens, the higher the price we will all pay. War enthusiasts believe that time is on the side of the Ukrainians and the West, so the fight must go on: it will change the balance of power, there will be victory over Russia, and victory will bring peace. The Hungarian government, however, believes that continued fighting will not bring victory and will not bring peace, but the deaths of hundreds of thousands more people, a widening conflict, countries engaged in open warfare, years of war, destruction, suffering and the threat of world war. So let us Hungarians stand by peace, but let the Defence Minister keep his powder dry. That is all I have to say about the war.”
Read the whole historic peace speech by Victor Orbán here.