In the second half of the past century, Budapest mostly adhered to a specific school of diplomacy: bowing our heads to the ground. If anyone visited us, we the Hungarian diplomatic corps would automatically assume they are better, smarter, more talented and richer than us.
Sure, we may hate their westerner ways, but we are still awed by their flashy suits and fancy cars. And if they happen to come from the east, than we are bound by our historic camaraderie. No, not just bound by it, but idolize it.
Moscow is big and strong, and we are just one of those small “also ran” nations. This school of thought is still alive: some still say that EU development funds should be handled by Brussels, because their hands are clean and they are incorruptible – unlike ourselves. Mike Pompeo is the foreign minister of a global power, so according to this school of thought we must instantly agree with their wishes upon arrival.
When Putin comes to Budapest, we are pro-Russian, when Erdogan arrives, we side with Turkey, and so on. And we are automatically being subservient.
But now we have a different approach to diplomacy. We will carefully listen to the proposals of whoever comes here and act in line with our best national interests.
And that is because for too long we have bowed to anyone vying for our treasures. Because Hungary itself is our biggest treasure. No longer must we accept with our heads down to be robbed of our treasures – if we just believe in our cause and work hard, even Mike Pompeo’s visit will fall into its place.
Note: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Budapest on February 11th and met Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szíjjártó, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Defense Minister Tibor Benkő.
Title image: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szíjjártó (R). (MTI/Zsolt Szigetváry)