Statement of Ambassador David Pressman Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Hungary

Statement of Ambassador David Pressman

Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Hungary

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

 

June 23, 2022

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, distinguished members of the Committee, it is an honor to return to this Committee as the President’s nominee to represent the United States in Hungary.

I am grateful to President Biden and Secretary Blinken for the opportunity, if confirmed, to join the exceptional team of public servants at Embassy Budapest at a time of enormous complexity and urgency. As you know, we meet against a backdrop of rising authoritarianism and democratic backsliding around the world. Vladimir Putin has – once again – attacked a sovereign, democratic neighbor, flouting the rules-based international order and challenging the institutions that America and its partners stood up to protect it, including the United Nations Security Council, where I previously served as United States Ambassador. Even for someone who has spent much of my career focused on the worst humanity has to offer – national security threats, human rights abuses, and war crimes – the carnage Putin continues to wreak in Ukraine is staggering. But where Putin expected weakness, he has found strength.

The Ukrainian people’s courage and determination has, to borrow the words of a former President, “lit a candle of hope and inspiration… the world that brave hearts still exist to challenge injustice.” When President Reagan spoke those words, he was speaking of Hungary and Hungarians, who, like their Ukrainian neighbors today, inspired people everywhere with their bravery, their thirst for democracy, their zeal for freedom. In October 1956, Hungarian men and women took to the streets to stand up to Soviet oppression and demanded the right to control their destinies. They did so knowing they could be imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Their courage changed the course of Hungary and Europe, and inspired successive generations who chose to dedicate their lives to advancing dignity, freedom, and liberty. Including me.

Whether serving in government to advance our nation’s interests in the Security Council, or working outside of government to uphold human rights, I have always strived to dedicate myself to advancing the fundamental values that make our nation exceptional. If confirmed, I will bring that same passion for our interests and values to my work as Ambassador to Hungary. Hungary is a long-time friend, ally, and partner that makes significant contributions to common security objectives such as combating terrorism, transnational crime, and weapons proliferation.

As a NATO Ally, Hungary supports efforts to defend NATO’s Eastern Flank at this critical moment, and has been our partner in addressing challenges around the world, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans. Hungary is also home to hundreds of U.S. companies, and the citizens of our nations take part in rich and growing cultural, educational, and scientific exchanges. As both a NATO Ally and member of the European Union, Hungary joined the world in condemning Putin’s unprovoked and brutal war in Ukraine, and ultimately supported European Union efforts to impose severe costs on Putin.

However, Hungary’s reticence in that process, and the obvious influence of Russia and China in Hungary – and on its government – are causes for serious concern. Not just for the United States’ interests, or Europe’s, but for the people of Hungary. If confirmed, combatting the malign influence of Moscow and Beijing, and preserving – and indeed, strengthening – our collective response to Putin’s war of choice will be a top priority.

The threats to democracy in Hungary are real and merit our determined attention. Human rights, media freedom, and the rule of law, are not nice-to-haves in Hungary – or anywhere else. They are fundamental foundations for sustaining democracy and liberty – and for meeting people’s most basic needs. Today in Hungary, we see deeply troubling trends in each of these areas.

If confirmed, I will support efforts to advance and protect these fundamental rights and transatlantic values. The opportunity to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary is an opportunity to bring our countries closer together, and to deepen the ties between our economies and our people. And that is essential, because the fates of our nations are already very much linked. A free, safe, and secure Europe, of which Hungary is an integral part, is fundamental to a free, safe, and secure United States.

The Hungarian people overwhelmingly view themselves as we do – as an integral part of the transatlantic community. That shared conviction is something we have a vital stake in preserving. No matter how difficult the issues we face, we will not lose sight of our common interest in restoring peace and security to Europe, or of Hungary’s role in that. And we will not equivocate in advancing the cause of liberty and human dignity. If confirmed, I will do my utmost to bring us closer to each other, and closer to the ideals of democracy’s promise. Thank you for your consideration. I would be honored to answer any questions.

6 Comments

  1. This businessman will have a chance to learn much about Hungary. Let’s hope he will take advantage of the opportunities to get off his high ideological horse and go beyond Szabadsag ter and the nice villa in Huvosvolgy, to see adn meet the real Hungary.
    Some “diplomats” do this, but not many. We’ll see.

  2. What a refreshing and hopeful start to the new US ambassador`s stint in Hungary!
    I hope he is effective in challenging and exposing the endless corruption of Orban`s mafia regime and that he consistently draws world attention to it, without fail.

    • Certainly not a diplomat’s job. Otherwise US diplomats in the Middle East would be lecturing their hosts 24/7. But they are not, so . . .

  3. Mr. Pressman, just stay home. You have been brainwashed by leftist media. You also have no understanding of the Hungarian people or political process. You will not be an asset and you will only alienate the people of Hungary.

  4. “Hungary joined the world in condemning Putin’s unprovoked……….”

    The lengths to which the word “unprovoked” is pushed by the Western elites & institutions should automatically lead those few in society who still like to think for themselves, rather than being told what to think, to question this claim. The Pope, Chomsky, and seemingly even Kissinger are all questioning the validity of this claim that it was all “unprovoked”. Many voices outside the Western echo chamber, including leaders from South America, Asia, and Africa are also questioning that claim.

    This proxy war all started in 2013, with Nuland handing our “cookies” for Maidan insurrectionists, who overthrew a democratically-elected government through violent means. Since then, NATO noises, as well as the brutal treatment of historical minority groups (which most of the Western establishment has been cynically ignoring since 2014) have been meant to provoke precisely this active proxy war. It is a proxy war provoked to serve the interests of our globalist oligarchs, who cannot stop salivating for the wealth and global power that they could gain if they could get the stuff that the Russian oligarchs are sitting on. Ukrainians and their country are just useful idiots who were manipulated into being hosts to this nasty proxy war.

    The fact that the new US ambassador to Hungary seems like a Nuland-style hawk is bad news for Hungary and all Hungarians. We suffered enough losses in the last century, with Hungary and Hungarians sacrificed for the strategic interests of the French and others. Please leave us out of your BS!!!

    Orban is absolutely right not to provide weapons to the same ultranationalist Ukrainian government which has been trampling all over the basic rights of ethnic Hungarians since 2014. And he is right in putting the economic interests of Hungary & Hungarians first. Why should Hungarians and their well-being be sacrificed just because Western globalist oligarchs want to get their hands on Russia’s resources? Is the sacrifice of Ukraine not enough for them? Must we all be sacrificed for their narrow vile interests?

    And as things stand right now, it is US democracy that seems increasingly shaky. People having their careers destroyed by the cancel mob for daring to voice any views that are not ideologically correct. Elections run with safeguards meant to prevent fraud, removed. A media environment, including big tech censorship, is far more lop-sided than anything one can cite in regards to Hungary. Academia has become an ideological monopoly. In my view, this future ambassador should be faced with questions in regards to all this, any time he points the finger at Hungarian democratic deficiencies since he represents an ideological faction within the US that is trampling all over the basic tenets of democratic processes. Perhaps Hungary’s ambasador to the US should raise all these issues as well!

  5. Avatar Prof. Dr. PM says:

    David Pressman was selected to represent the current socialist USA government in Hungary to serve as Ambassador. The only explanation for this proposal is that Pressman is selected by George Soros, anti-Hungary troublemaker fron Long Island NY. David Pressman provides no explanation why he wants to come to Budapest but he provides the following condescending and arrogant statement;
    “The threats to democracy in Hungary are real and merit our determined attention. Human rights, media freedom, and the rule of law, are not nice-to-haves in Hungary – or anywhere else. They are fundamental foundations for sustaining democracy and liberty – and for meeting people’s most basic needs. Today in Hungary, we see deeply troubling trends in each of these areas.”
    Obviously Comrade Pressman is interested to show the pathetic Biden administration how much he appreciate globalization and he will show these “fascist” Hungarians who is in charge. Dear Comrade Pressman, Biden is in great trouble as the worst President in US history and you may be wasting your time trying to attack a beautiful country called Hungary. Tell your boss Soros he can not buy Budapest

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