BY JAMES M DORSEY
Hungary didn't qualify for the Qatar World Cup, but that hasn't stopped Prime Minister Victor Orban from exploiting the
world's current focus on soccer to signal his Putinesque definition of central European borders as defined by civilization and
ethnicity rather than internationally recognized frontiers.
Orban drew the ire of Ukraine and Romania for wearing to a local Hungarian soccer match a scarf depicting historical
Hungary, which also includes chunks of Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia.
It was the second time in a matter of months that Orban spelt out his irredentist concept of geography that makes him a
member of a club of expansionist leaders that includes Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's Xi Jinping, Israel's Benyamin
Netanyahu, and members of the Indian power elite, who define their countries' borders in civilisational rather than national
Speaking in July to university summer camp students in Romania, which is home to 1.2 million ethnic Hungarians, Orban
insisted that “Hungary has…national…and even European ambitions. This is why…the motherland must stand together, and
Transylvania and the other areas in the Carpathian Basin inhabited by Hungarians must stand together.”
Responding to Ukrainian and Romanian objections to his scarf, Orban insisted that “soccer is not politics. Do not read
things into it that are not there. The Hungarian national team belongs to all Hungarians, wherever they live!”
Hungary has accused Ukraine of restricting the right of an estimated 150,000 ethnic Hungarians to use Hungarian in
education because of a 2017 law that curbs the usage of minority languages in schools.
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger presented Orban with a new scarf at a recent summit of Central European leaders
in a twist of satire. “I noticed that Viktor Orban has an old scarf, so I gave him a new one today,” Heger said on Facebook.
Orban's territorial ambitions may pose a lesser threat than his supremacist and racist attitudes.
Those attitudes constitute building blocks of a cvilisationalist world that he shares with Christian nationalists and
Republicans in the United States, as well as a new Israeli coalition government that Netanyahu is forming. Putin has used
similar arguments to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
In contrast to Putin and potentially Netanyahu, depending on how the Biden administration responds to his likely
coalition, Orban is on a far tighter leash regarding territorial ambition as a member of NATO and the European Union.
As a result, far more insidious is what amounts to a mainstreaming of racism and supremacism by men like Orban,
Netanyahu, and former US President Donald Trump, who consistently mainstream norms of decency and propriety by
violating them with impunity.
Speaking a language shared by American Christian nationalists and Netanyahu's potential coalition partners, Orban
rejected in his July speech a “mixed-race world” defined as a world “in which European peoples are mixed together with
those arriving from outside Europe.”
The prime minister asserted that mixed-race countries “are no longer nations: They are nothing more than
conglomerations of peoples” and are no longer part of what Orban sees as “the Western world.” The prime minister stopped
short of identifying those countries, but the United States and Western European nations would fit the bill.
In a similar vein, Trump recently refused to apologise for having dinner with Ye, a rapper previously known as Kanye
West, who threatened he would go “death on con 3 on Jewish people,” and Nick Fuentes, a 24-year old pro-Russian
trafficker in Holocaust denial and white supremacism.
Trump hosted the two men at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, just after launching his 2024 presidential election campaign.
Ye “was really nice to me,” Trump said.
Candidates backed by Trump in last month's US midterm elections, including Hershel Walker, who is competing in next
week's runoff in Georgia, have similarly felt comfortable associating themselves with Ye and Fuentes.
Fuentes asserted days before the dinner that “Jews have too much power in our society. Christians should have all the
power, everyone else very little,” while Ye's manager, Milo Yannopoulos, announced that “we're done putting Jewish
Yonnopoulos added that “it's time we put Jesus Christ first again in this country. Nothing and no one is going to get in our
way to make that happen.”
Featured on notorious far-right radio talk show host Alex Jones' Infowars, Mr. Ye professed his admiration of Adolf Hitler.
“I like Hitler,” Ye said, listing the various reasons he admired the notorious Nazi leader.
Netanyahu's likely coalition partners seek to legislate discriminatory distinctions between adherents of different Jewish
religious trends, hollow out Israeli democracy, introduce an apartheid-like system, disband the Palestinian Authority, expel
Palestinians “disloyal to Israel” in what would amount to ethnic cleansing, deprive women of their rights, and re-introduce
Avraham Burg, an Israeli author, politician, businessman, and scion of a powerful leader of a defunct once mainstream
religious political party, warned in 2018 that Orban, Trump, and Netanyahu “are the leaders of paranoia and phobia.”
Burg cautioned that they represent “a global phenomenon that crosses all boundaries, ethnic, racial, or religious,
gathering into a tribal ghetto that is smaller than the modern state, which is diverse and inclusive of all its citizens. Their
fierce antagonism to the foundations of democracy and the attempt to do detriment to as many accomplishments and
benefits of the open society as possible are evidence of inherent weaknesses and real existential fears.”
Burg's dire vision is even more a reality today than when he spoke out four years ago.
By arrangement with the Arabian Post