“American ambassador’s frank memoir of Hungary’s slide into autocracy” – The Washington Post: Eleni Kounalakis, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, reports on the once-promising democracy.
“The problem in Hungary, I realized, wasn’t just the rise of anti-Semitic, neofascist voices and acts. Hungarian society at large was responding to those radical voices with disproportionate silence and apathy.”
As U.S. ambassador to Hungary from January 2010 to July 2013, Kounalakis had a front-row seat for the implosion of what was once the most promising new democracy in the former Soviet bloc. Neo-fascists were elected to parliament. Prime Minister Viktor Orban presided over a rewriting of the constitution and the passage of hundreds of laws eroding the independence of the judiciary, the civil service and the media. […]
Yet the international response to Orban’s “Two-Thirds Revolution” was muted at first. For months, the European Union said nothing as one of its members disassociated itself from Western liberalism. Then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, meeting Orban during a 2011 visit, took it on himself not to raise constitutional concerns after being spun by a sweet-talking deputy.
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