Press release – Márton Gyöngyösi says Hungary as a NATO member takes more responsibility than the security guarantees we are provided. Jobbik’s MP and vice president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian National Assembly gave an interview on the 17th anniversary of Hungary’s accession to NATO. Márton Gyöngyösi believes that Hungary must make efforts in the long run to take care of its own security, independently from anything or anybody.
Hungary officially announced its intention to join NATO on January 29, 1996, and the organization then invited three Central European states, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland on July 8, 1997. Hungary held a national referendum on November 16, 1997 and 85.33 per cent of the valid votes were in favour of the accession. As a result, Hungary became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance on March 12, 1999. The referendum’s question was: “Do you agree that the Republic of Hungary should ensure the country’s security by joining NATO?” Did you agree?
I was studying at the university in Ireland from 1996, so I was not staying in Hungary at the time of the referendum, unfortunately. However, I did and do have a firm opinion on that referendum. For a thousand years, Hungary has been struggling in the pressing, embracing ring of great powers and the whirling currents of geopolitical interests so that the country could maintain its political, economic and military sovereignty. No wonder that the retention of national sovereignty is the most precious, the most valuable treasure for the Hungarian soul. I consider it a short-sighted, naive, rash and definitely self-destructive step that Hungary, just a few years after finally getting free of a dependence imposed on us, i.e. the Warsaw Treaty, which had been created in order to enforce Soviet geopolitical interests, decided voluntarily and enthusiastically to give up our freedom and be integrated into another external military alliance. Our ancestors, the heroes and martyrs of 1956 and 1848 must be turning in their graves.
Hungary was not invited to NATO because we were so prepared for membership and ready to become a respected member, an equal partner in a military cooperation. Instead, we were invited because Hungary, due to its key geographical position in the region during the Yugoslav Wars, was suitable as a military base for NATO forces. In this sense, NATO needed Hungary more at the time than our country needed NATO.
Furthermore, the so-called Western integration that followed the end of the cold war, i.e. Hungary’s unilateral Euro-Atlantic foreign policy designed to join NATO made us (along with the entire Eastern Central European region) a part, a vassal of the Western sphere of influence. By doing so, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, we became a toy of the West, more specifically, the USA which has a decisive role in determining the West’s geostrategic efforts, and an extra, an insignificant player in the struggle to establish a global hegemony of the USA, which aims to eliminate its large Eurasian rivals, Russia and China in order to create a monopolar world order. NATO’s decision to expand eastward must be considered as a major step taken towards the USA’s competitors, any other interpretation is nothing but diversion and obscurantism. Of course, the Fidesz and Socialist-Liberal politicians, who sacrificed Hungary’s independence may say that it is Russian propaganda, but that is not true. It could be fatal for Hungary if we yet again end up in the collision zone of two great powers during a US-fuelled anti-Russia campaign, and on the aggressor’s side again, too. We have historical experience of that, and plenty of it. God save us from that happening again. Hungary, along with the rest of the world, by the way, is interested in preventing the monopolar world order so messianically advocated by the West from becoming the order of the new world being shaped right now. It would lead to disaster, another world war.
The Socialist Horn government and the other Parliamentary parties all stood for NATO membership. Of the parties not represented in the National Assembly, the Workers’ Party and Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIÉP) opposed the accession. MIÉP was not convinced that NATO would truly guarantee Hungary’s security and based its argumentation on the concept of neutrality brought forth during the Revolution in 1956. This is essentially identical with Jobbik’s current position.
As a NATO member, Hungary takes more responsibility than the security guarantees we are provided. But let me take a broader view on this matter. All political parties involved in the replacement of the Communist political system, from the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) through the Socialist Party (MSZP) and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) to Fidesz, consist of carefully selected puppets, who were chosen for this function back in the 1980s. Their assigned job is to conduct spectacular ideological debates on symbolic issues while preventing any real measures on the key matter, i.e. the restoration of our sovereignty and, furthermore, to join their efforts and actively integrate Hungary into the new colonial structure. No wonder that the Euro-Atlantic foreign policy concept has been predominant throughout each governmental term thus far. And it does remain predominant even though there are some politicians who occasionally voice a dissident opinion but these are just theatrical measures to ensure that the master plan continues to be carried out.
In Jobbik’s view, Hungary needs to lead a sovereign political course, independently from the great powers, and we must strive to do so even if we happen to be a member of one or another political or military alliance.
The reason why we consider it wise to do so is because we have learnt that in historic moments we can rely on nobody but ourselves.
In your interview last October, you opposed NATO’s idea to activate a new command centre in Hungary and to deploy NATO forces to be stationed in our country. You called NATO an anti-Russia, aggressive-offensive military alliance which, led by the United States, aims to provoke a clash with Russia. Since then, illegal immigration has expanded into a massive migration wave and the most severe crisis in the life of the European Union. Is it a realistic threat that a fierce European confrontation may unfold between such key players of the Middle East situation, which exerts a fundamental influence on immigration related processes, as the United States and Russia?
It is, unfortunately. Regardless of the actual temperature of ongoing conflicts in our world, the opposition of the two great powers remains unchanged: the players and their intentions are still distinctly identifiable. Although we talk less about the Ukrainian civil war now than we did a year ago and Syria is more in the limelight, we are still very much aware that there is a persistent emergency in our neighbourhood. Eastern Central Europe is indeed a collision zone between the two great rivals and Hungary,as part of the West, is in the frontline. This is a delicate and fragile situation where we have an enormous responsibility as far as the manner, the conditions and the depth of our commitment to either side is concerned, in other words, the characteristics of our membership in a military alliance.
Hungary is the only NATO member state whose lackey-minded political elite keeps referring to foreign expectations and contractual liabilities while leaders of other states meet certain liabilities always bearing their national interests in mind. This is a huge difference that clearly shows the degree of sovereign thinking in a particular country.
My sentiments on our NATO membership were fundamentally influenced by the NATO summit held in Wales two years ago, when the goals and agenda of NATO as a military organization have been changed.
The defence-oriented military alliance we joined several years ago has undergone a strategic change of direction and taken on an openly offensive nature with a clear and unhidden anti-Russia focus. The establishment of NATO command centres, the deployment of missile defence systems, the persistent military exercises, their location and nature, the demonstration and flaunting of offensive capabilities are all signs of such intentions. Naturally, these actions trigger immediate reactions which may not seem quite alarming from a US point of view, but here in Eastern Central Europe they are not at all reassuring, especially in light of the relevant historical experience.
When you say “conflict”, what do you mean? Cold war muscle flexing or specific acts of war?
The definition of a conflict has changed significantly by now. We no longer live in the idyllic age of heroes, when the parties fought each other face to face on the battleground. Nowadays there are proxy wars typically going on in our world, in which secret services, NGOs with no transparent financial backing, “opposition activists” raised and sponsored by foundations, terrorists, media and propaganda machines, credit rating agencies struggle fiercely with each other. In the conflict devastating Ukraine, the two sides have employed all means of modern proxy wars. The difference is that while the West is aiming to engulf Ukraine in its own sphere of influence in an uninhibited and sneaky way in order to get to Russia’s flank, Moscow is clearly interested in a neutral Ukraine that would keep the hostile Western alliance away from Russia.
In cooperation with the European Union, NATO’s ships will begin their mission on the Aegean Sea on 14th March, near the shores of Greece and Turkey. The goal of the mission is a more efficient engagement of human traffickers. What role could NATO play in the solution of the migrant crisis?
In order to solve the migrant crisis, NATO’s decision makers would need to contemplate about the causes of the migrant crisis, in other words, how the entire alliance or the foreign policy and military operations of certain member states have contributed to the development of the migration crisis. The Aegean Sea mission is a highly applaudable initiative. However, even if it succeeds, it is just a quick fix to treat the symptoms. The migration crisis should be treated at its roots, provided that we aim for a long-term solution.
The root of this problem lies in the fact that NATO, or rather more accurately, certain key NATO member states successfully destabilized Europe’s immediate neighbourhood in the past decades.
At present, there are hardly any stable countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East, while Europe has Ukraine on the verge of collapse. The common feature of these regions is that their condition is the result of direct or indirect Western interventions. NATO should be focusing on how to roll back terrorism and establish liveable, prosperous and stable states on the ruins so that migrants could soon return and find a home again in their motherlands. Currently, Russia is the only one to apply this approach in practice. They are the only ones to have a clear strategy how to cleanse Syria of terrorists and how to get the power back into the hands of the legitimate central government. Instead of blocking and shirking, the West should support this strategy, otherwise there will be no solution for the migration crisis, no matter what NATO does on the Aegean Sea.
In an earlier statement, you argued for a regional cooperation of Eastern Central European countries, including the Baltic States, V4, Romania and Bulgaria, in order to step up together and reject NATO’s agenda of anti-Russia armament. This cooperation seems to gain an increasingly defined form in the area of searching for solutions against the migration crisis. Could the V4 be the starting point of a new strategic and defence alliance?
Yes, it could. We are talking about NATO member states who managed to cooperate in a particular issue with exemplary speed and efficiency. The reason why they were able to do so is because these countries have a radically different historical past and socio-cultural conditioning from that of the Western societies and therefore have a common view on the migration threat. In an effort to ward it off, they were able to jointly mobilize police and defence forces. It raises hopes for all of us as we can see that Europe has a nook where healthy vital instincts and immune reactions still prevail. Furthermore, it could be a sound basis for Eastern Central European countries to establish a sovereign community independent of the great powers. The fundamental threat to such goal lies in the highly varied geostrategic approach of these countries. They demonstrate very different attitudes toward the great powers.
The US has an enormous presence and strategic influence in our region. It would be very important to get rid of this external pressure since such deliverance is a precondition for developing a sovereign approach and strategy.
Suffering in the grip of the great powers, Eastern Central Europe cannot survive unless it conducts an independent policy, free of the influence exercised by the great powers. Unfortunately, what I presently see is that the Atlantic influence is quite palpable in Poland, Romania and Croatia, and if it remains so and we establish a regional community based on US interests, then we will merely reproduce the problem or re-create it in a different form.
In Jobbik’s view, what is Hungary’s interest in this collision zone? Should we quit NATO?
No. Unfortunately, there is no real alternative for NATO at present. After the collapse of Communism, Hungary should have taken steps towards military sovereignty and neutrality. However, our homeland is in a trap now, we could not defend ourselves without NATO at present.
20 years have passed since 1997 when military conscription was discontinued. The equipment of our defence forces have deteriorated, Hungarian soldiers are now scattered in NATO missions all over the world, deployed in places and participating in conflicts where any Hungarian defence force, were it truly in line with its name, should never be involved. Since the discontinuation of military conscription, neither the personnel nor the equipment of our army has been sufficient to defend the country. Not that I am too optimistic about Article 5 of the NATO treaty and the principle of collective defence, either. In the long run, Hungary must make efforts to take care of its own security, independently from anything or anybody. This is the direction we should take instead of pursuing the illusion that others will defend us. If there is one thing we could learn from our history is that Hungary can rely on nobody’s help at all. International law and international treaties always function in such a way that the great powers only intervene when their interests so require, otherwise they do not. The naive idea that the great powers will help Hungary in a critical situation must be discarded once and for all.
– press release –