For its part, Hungary has not left these assaults unanswered. Last month it launched a public relations campaign of its own, one insinuating pro-migration forces in Brussels were actively collaborating with George Soros to continue and increase mass migration efforts in the coming months. It has since suspended this campaign to appease Weber and the EPP, but not a day passes in Hungary without some sort of criticism of the EU and its oppressive bureaucracy. Only time will tell how this all plays out, but if history and the recent Brexit disaster are any guide, Hungary’s chances do not look good.
I have lived in Hungary for just over four years. In that time, I have seen the country continue to bloom from the half-dead wreck the communists left behind into a developing and dynamic little nation inching ever closer to attaining the same standard of living enjoyed by those living in Western Europe. Wages are rising. Unemployment is below 4%. The government has implemented generous support schemes to address the very real crises of low fertility rates and demographic decline. In many ways, the future in this small country looks bright, yet I feel these times of relative peace and prosperity could experience some significant turbulence in the coming years and months.
Over the past few weeks, I have pondered over Hungary’s chances in its struggles with the European Union. As has nearly always been the case, Hungary finds itself in a precarious situation. Too small to exert any notable influence on greater Europe, yet big enough to send small shock waves through the continent, Hungary’s position in the European family of nations has been and remains a mostly tenuous one. As I ruminated over the possible implications of the European Parliamentary elections, I concluded Hungary needed all the help it could get.
Shortly afterward, I recalled Chuck Norris’s visit to Hungary in November of last year. I immediately began to feel better about the country's odds going forward. Everyone knows Chuck Norris is toughness personified. Even at the noble age of 78, the martial arts expert and Hollywood action star is still considered one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He’s so tough, he has his own line of tough jokes. Here’s my personal favorite:
Q: How many push-ups can Chuck Norris do?
A: All of them.
When Chuck Norris visited Budapest last November, Viktor Orbán met the Hollywood icon personally, drove Norris and his wife around Budapest, and took them to visit an anti-terrorism force training facility. By the end of their day together, Norris’s wife declared Chuck and Viktor to be “Friends Forever.”
Now wouldn’t that be something? Just picture it. Chuck walks in, winces, and delivers a perfect roundhouse kick to the rather surprised face of Guy Verhofstadt while Viktor busies himself by applying the mother-of-all noogies to Frans Timmermans’ bald dome. It was certainly fun to imagine, but something told me little would change in the EU even if the Forever Friends managed to lay a good, old-fashioned, 1980’s action-movie beating to every single technocrat in Brussels. More would be needed. But what? What if we had the Terminator on our side . . . hey, wait a minute. Not too long ago . . .
Deep down, I know Hungary’s fight against the EU is not a physical struggle. The back-and-forth between this small, stubborn nation and the soulless bureaucracy of many nations has not featured and will not feature any roundhouse kicks, noogies, body slams, overhand rights, or massive explosions. Consequently, Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger would be of little help.
The tone of this post thus far has been purposefully jocular, but the conflict between Hungary and the EU is a serious matter. What Hungary and the EU are currently engaged in goes beyond the realm of mere political or economic tit-for-tat. To brand the current animosity between the rival factions as an ideological struggle also misses the main point.
In essence, Hungary’s struggle against the EU is metaphysical in scope – that is, it is spiritual in nature. What is visible on the surface is but the tip of the iceberg; the real struggle is occurring on an entirely different dimension. Both sides seem to understand this, which is why the next six weeks will be both interesting and crucial. Of course, Hungary is no stranger to spiritual warfare. In fact, the nation seems acutely aware of what the stakes actually are. This awareness is apparent even in its national anthem, Himnusz (Hymn in English).
God, bless the nation of Hungary
With your grace and bounty
Extend over it your protective arm
During strife with its enemies
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
This nation has suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!
Here’s hoping for a protective arm over Hungary during its current strife. This little landlocked country has been long torn by ill fate throughout its history. In my opinion, it deserves an extended time of relief, but it will have to secure it without the help of Chuck Norris or Arnold Schwarzenegger.