Hungary’s Ambassador blames Obama’s influence on State Department for poor relations

The newly appointed Hungarian Ambassador, László Szabó, has put the blame squarely on the US State Department for the poor relations between the two countries. According to Ambassador Szabó the State Department has a major problem: “The vast majority of the staff members of the US State Department, where tens of thousands of people work, still have ties to the Obama administration, but we sincerely hope that this will change and that we will gradually find more and more friends at State who understand that improving US-Hungarian and V4-US relations is also valuable for America.” (Read more here.)

The 52-year-old Szabó has no previous diplomatic experience. A medical doctor by training he spent only three years as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Orbán government. Before that he was an executive at the drug companies, Ely lilly and Teva. His appointment to Washington was a surprise.

Ambassador László Szabó

Szabó does not seem to be aware of the fact that Hungary’s pro-Iranian and pro-Putin stand is not welcomed in Washington. He does not see any issue with restrictions on the media or academic freedom, or with the attack on the American-accredited private university, CEU. He hasn’t noticed the institutionalized racism, the Roma-bashing and the anti-Semitism or the revival of the cult of Miklós Horthy. Not to mention the erection of statues of Albert Wass, János Esterházy or Ferenc Koszorús, all newly discovered “heroes” of the Orbán government. All three fought against the Allies and supported Hungary’s pro-Hitler regime during World War II.

No. Szabó thinks that the problem is with the Obama-influenced State Department! I hoped that the Ambassador will identify the names of the “undesirable” staff members, those who have secretly pledged loyalty to the non-existent Obama Administration.

It shows poor political judgement to start a diplomatic career with a bizarre attack on the State Department. It is also unwise to make a statement in the name of the Visegrad 4 countries since, unlike Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have good relations with the US and also had excellent relations with the Obama administration in the past.

We wish Ambassador Szabó good luck. We think that in order to improve relations between the two countries Budapest urgently needs to make policy changes. Hoping for sympathetic friends at the State Department won’t be enough.

György Lázár

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