Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave an interview to US media personality Tucker Carlson, recently published on the social networking site X (formerly Twitter). In the interview, the parties touched on the war in Ukraine, US foreign policy, Donald Trump, and energy dependence, among other issues.
War in Ukraine
“These are very dangerous times. A third world war could be knocking on our door,” the Hungarian Prime Minister said, adding that this is why we have to be very careful. He emphasized that he always says the same thing to the United States, for example at the NATO summit: “be careful.” If any Western country were to send troops to the battlefield, it would mean a direct war between the West and Russia, and then we would immediately find ourselves in a third world war.
He also pointed out that NATO as an institution says exactly what the Hungarian government does, so there is no involvement and we must do everything we can for peace. At the same time, however, NATO also says that member states should do everything they can to support Ukrainians.
According to Viktor Orbán, it should be made clear that what is happening now, for example the US foreign policy of supporting and funding the Ukrainians, is not NATO policy, but US policy, and there is a big difference.
Orbán emphasized his opinion that the strategy of the current US President Joe Biden will not work. He explained that this strategy is that Ukrainian soldiers are fighting, and that certain NATO member states are financing this with money and military means. The prime minister stressed that Hungary has been saying from the very beginning that this is the wrong strategy.
He stated that in the end it is the number of soldiers that will count on the battlefield, and in this, the Russians are much stronger, and much more numerous than the Ukrainians. According to the prime minister, we must understand that we cannot defeat the Russians with the current method.
Orbán reiterated that the only solution is peace, pointing out that if the United States wanted peace, it would happen the next morning.
If money and equipment do not come from the West, especially from the United States, the war is over, the prime minister said, stressing that the solution is in the Americans’ hands, only the United States can do it, no one else, not even the Ukrainians. He added that of course, it is all about the Ukrainians, they cannot be ignored, they must be involved, but the real factor is not Ukraine, it is the will of the United States.
Ukraine’s NATO Membership
Speaking about Ukraine’s NATO integration, the prime minister said that when the idea was first raised in 2007 or 2008, Russia was not strong enough to stop it. “So there was a real chance at that time to integrate the Ukrainians into NATO, but it was rejected. There was no agreement among the big Western countries to do so, so it was postponed. But after two or three years, the Russians became stronger and stronger and stronger, and now they are even stronger. So we missed the historical opportunity to do so. And this window of opportunity is not open anymore. So we can’t do that. So we can’t afford to have that long borderline between Russia and Ukraine, who belongs to NATO. That would mean immediate war danger to all of us, even in Washington. So, even, it’s dangerous, even for United States. It’s not just dangerous for the region, but even for you, for the families.”
He added that Ukraine’s membership is not a realistic proposal now. “We should make a deal with the Russians on the new security architecture to provide security, sovereignty for Ukraine, but not membership in NATO.”
Donald Trump vs Joe Biden
“Let’s call Trump back! This is the only way out,” Orbán said, comparing the foreign policy of Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump. He pointed out that he believes that Trump has had the best foreign policy of the last few decades: he has not started any new wars, and has dealt well with the North Koreans and the Russians, even the Chinese. He pursued a policy that was the best possible for the Middle East as well.
Orbán also stated that if Trump had been president at the moment when the Russian attack started, it would not have happened. In his opinion, Trump is the one who can save the Western world, and perhaps humanity on the planet.
Viktor Orbán (R) and Tucker Carlson at the Prime Minister’s office at the Carmelite monastery. Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher
Nord Stream and TurkStream
Responding to Carlson’s suggestion that it seems clear that the Biden administration blew up the Nord Stream, either directly or indirectly, the prime minister recalled that when it happened, the government classified it as a terrorist attack. This was rejected by Germany and the West, a clear demonstration of the lack of sovereignty, he underlined, adding that this is a matter for the Germans, and he would not like to criticize them.
On the TurkStream pipeline, bringing gas from Russia via Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia, he said that
together with the Serbian Prime Minister and the Serbian President, they have made it clear that if anyone did to the southern corridor what they did to the northern, it would be considered a cause for war or a terrorist attack and they would react immediately.
Relations with the United States
“It is not an easy situation, because it would be much easier to cooperate with the US government. The prospects are much better if we have good relations, but we can do without them, we can survive this period and we can grow,” Orbán said, referring to the somewhat frosty relations with the United States.
He noted that while the US government has terminated the double tax treaty with Hungary, the same agreement with Russia remains in force.
In other words, although we are NATO members and allies of the United States, we are treated worse than the Russians, the prime minister pointed out.
Asked about the Biden administration’s use of US taxpayers’ dollars to campaign against the Hungarian government in the last election, Orbán emphasized that they paid a large amount. Asked if most Americans do not know that their tax dollars were spent to defeat the Fidesz government in Hungary, he replied, “Exactly.”
Orbán highlighted that the United States is still the world’s number one superpower.
When you criticize someone, you have to be very careful about how you handle it,” he said, adding that the current Democratic government regularly does this to Hungary.
However, it is not the voice of America, it is the voice of the US government, and not all Americans judge the situation the way the government does, he remarked.
Regarding the Republican Party, Orbán emphasized that the Republicans are much closer to the Hungarians in terms of values than the Democrats. He recalled that former President Donald Trump was a friend of Hungary on a basis of values, historically and wholeheartedly.
Speaking about the legal proceedings against Trump, the prime minister pointed out that it is unthinkable in Hungary for the judiciary to be used against political opponents. He argued that if we go down this road, there is no chance of uniting the nation, and if the nation is not united, it is impossible to set great goals. As he said, political competition is fine, but it has to be fair, it has to be legally unquestionable. Otherwise, people sacrifice their country, the future of their country, for personal success, which is not acceptable, at least not in Hungary, he stressed.
The prime minister also spoke of how the word liberal originally meant freedom. However, today in Europe, the word liberal means that you are the enemy of freedom because you have hegemonic expectations of society, including in terms of values and concepts of man. So liberals are against freedom, he pointed out.
In this context, he added that
the Hungarian constitution focuses on community, on how family, nation, and God belong together.
In Hungary, the majority of society is made up of such people, but this approach is completely out of fashion in Western European societies, in his opinion. “In Hungary we are still very patriotic, Christian, and committed to those values. Not on an ideological level, but on the streets every day. We love the country, and we are proud of it,” he emphasized.
The prime minister recalled that Hungary is an ancient nation, established 1,100 years ago. “So we are a historical nation, using the same language, no relatives, nobody speaks the same language around us. Germans and Slavic, no Hungarians. So therefore, to maintain the language, to maintain the culture for this country, it’s a big achievement by itself.”
Via MTI, Featured photo via MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher