Hungarians are supposed to be good at math. After all, the father of the hydrogen bomb, the inventor of the Rubik's Cube, and a whole lot of really brilliant mathematicians are all Hungarian. Indeed mathematics and the arts derived from it are seemingly endemic to the Hungarian DNA -- have a look at all the Hungarian chess masters.
However when it comes to the science of regime change, mathematics can most often be an impediment rather than an advantage.
For example, a rally which took place over the weekend -- the latest attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government in Hungary -- drew only an estimated 3,000 protesters.
Nevertheless, rally organizer Balazs Gulyas is convinced that 3,000 constitutes an absolute majority in a country of ten million people. Said Gulyas, a former politician of the opposition Hungarian Socialist (formerly Communist) Party, "We want to show that the country is not equal to Orban, that the majority does not support his policies going closer to Vladimir Putin."
In the seemingly non-mathematical mind of Gulyas, 3,000 is a majority in 10 million.
It seems comical, but we must recall that the protests that overthrew the similarly democratically-elected government of Ukraine last year also attracted a very small minority of actual voters -- though they claimed to speak for "the people."
In both cases the goals were identical: Isolate and overthrow a government seen by some as drifting from US/EU satellite status to a more independent foreign policy that is increasingly skeptical of western moves to isolate Russia, an important trading partner.
In these efforts, the US embassy has played a significant role. In Ukraine we all recall the active role played by the US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland in fomenting the unrest and planning who takes positions of power when the smoke clears.
In Budapest that role is played by deputy chief of mission Andre Goodfriend, who is a staple at the several recent rounds of anti-government protests held on the streets of Budapest. Last October, when tens of thousands of Hungarians took to the streets to protest what they believed was a tax on Internet users, Goodfriend was there in their midst, walking in solidarity with those who called for the overthrow of the elected government. As pro-Socialist blogger Eva Balogh wrote approvingly of the October protest:
[T]he American chargé d’affaires, André Goodfriend, seemed to be very much with it as he stood in the crowd with a backpack. As he said in one of his many recent interviews, he spends a great deal of time on the streets of Budapest. A planned demonstration on the internet tax was certainly something he thought he ought to see in person. I’m also sure that he has the State Department’s backing for both his appearances at demonstrations and his presence on Twitter.The US embassy and its allies among the opposition parties in Hungary cannot tolerate Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's deviationism from the standard west line that Russia is headed by a reincarnated czar who seeks to remake the Soviet Union and therefore must be isolated and sanctioned even if it means a crippling recession in the Euro-zone.
Orban, like his colleagues in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, and most recently Greece, does not see the sense in following the Wolfowitz Doctrine of the US neocons if it means deepening the economic crisis in EU-land.
Goodfriend has been extremely active in defending the western government-funded "NGOs" that seek to launder foreign government money to help organize a political opposition to challenge the elected government in Hungary. Recently Goodfriend criticized the state of "civil society" in Hungary, reflecting his government's disapproval of the Hungarian government's decision to audit some foreign government funded NGOs operating in Hungary.
This week's protests were organized on the pretext of appealing to the visiting Angela Merkel to isolate and refuse to meet with their prime minister, Viktor Orban. They again openly called for the overthrow of their government, holding signs that stated, "Spring comes – Orban goes."
In the world of regime change and color revolutions, a tiny percent of the population can be seen by the US and its allies to speak for "the people." In the end, this funny math could be accepted as the majority in the US and could result in the ouster of a troublesome, independently-minded Viktor Orban despite his wide popularity and solid democratic mandate.
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