GFG: How should we imagine what was like to have a telephone conversation with Trump?
Viktor Orbán: I have spoken with a real American. Trump does not complicate things like a politician, who would even have a problem with how to start a conversation. There was a common sound. It is rare in politics, especially with the president of a great power. After all, there is not a man-made thing in the world that cannot be changed. You can change Hungary; it is possible to change Europe and the United States. To change a country can only done by a person who does not have adequacy constraints, who can talk straight and say what he thinks, and if he says something, it has a meaning. To change the United States is gigantic task even from the position of the president — most people would not even try it — but maybe now he will succeed.
I’ll press into my thirty years in the [political] industry; I have seen a wide range of political characters. Trump and his team did not look as if they wanted show up for the beginner classes. Self-made characters are coming, people who themselves are successful, who do not begin a sentence with “I heard about those things,” but say, “I’ve done that.” And they have largely done that. I think the lukewarm sheep-pen world of the socialist/liberals is finished, where you often hear the plural than the singular first-person phrase. Now you will more often hear first-person statements: ”I think”, “I learned,” “My experience”, “I’m doing this.” The time of character-based and cooler politics is coming.
Gábor Fűrész: It is interesting that Trump is receiving the same treatment, like the Hungarian government. The same accusations, the same criticism.
Viktor Orbán: There was the status quo, which started around the end of the eighties, and everybody thought that is impossible to change. It is believed to rest on such immovable pillars that democracy could be only liberal. Russia can only be an enemy; the international organizations are always right against nations; the market is always right against the state; and the politicians must listen to ideologies, and not the people. Now what is happening is these seemingly immovable pillars are cracking, barely holding up the structure. The elite who are standing on those pillars see Trump the same way that we do, but because USA is bigger than us, Trump is more dangerous for them. But viewed from where they are looking at the world, apart from the size of a lot of similarities.
Gábor Fűrész: America was an enemy?
Viktor Orbán: With the American people we are in generally good friends, and have had some good collaboration with the American economic actors, but some US politicians were really hostile. Not only towards us, but all of Central Europe. Rabidly hostile! And if we had taken it upon ourselves, we would have felt humiliated. They handed us a scrap of paper, and they expected us to accept every condition as it was written. Their starting point was that a Central European leader must be one of two types: one is corrupt, the other is Putin’s man, or more likely both, so they are supposed to sideline these leaders. So the behavioral norm for a sovereign diplomatic relations was put on the back burner, and they decided on direct interventions. They wanted to set up complete yes-man types; they were expecting as they came submit their conditions that here there would only be leaders who can say, “Yes, sir!”
This was part of the personal hostility between us, but there is an ideology behind what they called with noble simplicity: soft power. However, this was not just a theory, but also a subtle action plan. With the use of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), foundations, media organizations, they enforced their own interests; This was the goal and they used George Soros to establish it. Look, the Romanian election has happened and there was no anti-Hungarian voice — apart from a couple of silly incidents. The explanation: the Hungarians were not the main threat, but George Soros. The winners were campaigning against Soros’ interests, they said; the real opponent is not the small parties, but the Soros NGOs and foundations.
GFG: Politico says the next year will be the year of Soros.
Viktor Orbán: It will not be his year, but it will be about him — the two are not the same. What is the logical response to the present situation? Every country will work to displace Soros’ influence. This can already be detected in Europe. They will investigate where the money is coming from, what kind of secret relationships there are behind the scenes, what interests the NGOs are representing. Next year will be about Soros and the powers represented by him; the removal of their influence and power will happen. In a sense the prediction of Politico is appropriate.
GFG: Merkel is going for the title of Chancellor for the fourth time. From here this looks kind of funny. Does Angela Merkel have a sense of humor?
Viktor Orbán: It’s hard to say when a German is joking and when she is serious. One thing is certain: Merkel did not build her career on humor. She is a real forceful politician. Cleverly and consciously using her power. This is to be seen, regardless of whether her asylum policies scared the s*** out of us. It is no coincidence that she has been in power the longest in Europe. Let us also add that the Germans were already very strong. They are just everywhere. Therefore, when any conflict of interest arises, a small country must maneuver cleverly against the Germans, so they still get more meat than soup, so they do not force them to assert their dominance. Let’s not forget that five years ago the major part of the Hungarian media was German-owned. When a German conflict presented itself, the day after the German-owned Hungarian press were up in arms immediately. This situation has now changed. It’s a different world.
Dalma Tóth: Let’s stay with Merkel a bit. Now she wants to ban the burqa; would you?
Viktor Orbán: A snob would say that we are facing a real paradox. The snake is biting its own tail. The liberal approach turns to rebut itself, and I watch it, gaping. To say that you can come into my country and I tell you what you can or cannot wear, it’s difficult to conceive of with common sense. A more honest thing to say would be: I am not happy to see you, stay outside, because I foresee that we will have problems. However, if someone is allowed in — not en masse, but as a guest — I cannot restrict him, but I will say that as a free man, you can do whatever you want if you follow the laws. If you want to walk fully covered when you are my guest, you are free to do so. But to let them in en masse then get scared is not a good policy. I think what we see here is a desperate attempt to try to correct a serious error in judgment. Too little, too late.
Ketipisz Sztavrosz: What is your opinion about the fact that Virginia banned Huckleberry Finn? (In Virginia a few days ago two world literary masterpieces were banned from the school curriculum because they often contain the word “nigger” — in Hungarian called Negro. The issue, which was argued about for a long time in the United States, is that such words needed to be replaced in novels. — Editor)
Viktor Orbán: But this book is famous for its anti-racist stance! That’s what I call liberal aberration.
GFG: Is it over now, or will it be over, or will we never see the end of the liberal aberration?
Viktor Orbán: Nothing ever completely disappears. Various forms and waves all come back sooner or later. The level of liberalism is the responsibility of the people who are alive now. The level of liberal aberrations always depends on how much it resonates with the present population. Everything depends on us. All will return, if that is what we want, and not if we do not want it. It is mostly our decision.
GFG: As if the “we have the right to our own decisions controversy” is what we fight with Brussels. Brussels wants a say in our energy prices, applies a double standard, starts infringement proceedings against us.
Viktor Orbán: In Brussels, the status quo and essential positions are under the control of a globalist-liberal political force. They know each other, each knows the way the other thinks. Brussels is dominated by such network of persons. Christians like us do not have a say there. Their goals are against Hungarian interests. In their heads the goal is a United States of Europe, organized to serve their interests. We have something very different in mind. Thus in Brussels we have many rivals, opponents in powerful positions, visible or invisible. Not so much personal but structural difference between us. This is the crucial difference; all the others are the projection of this intrinsic conflict of interests. Let me bring up an example: Brussels wants a say in our energy pricing methods. They want to forbid the energy price cap [The previous Socialist government sold strategic energy resources to multinational companies and stole the income. The companies given monopoly positions started gouging their customers, causing serious problems. Orbán’s government introduced price regulations to stop such abuse. While the energy companies are still raking in record profits, there are limits to set decent profit levels — translator].
We will not let them to do this! The world is not going in a way that would let Brussels dictate to the member states. They are still sitting backwards on the horse, and they can’t see that one after another leader loses power who goes against the will of the people. European people want to remain nations; they are proud of them, and want their nations to be independent.
Gábor Fűrész: Does it look like there is a revolt breaking out against this status quo?
Viktor Orbán: Yes it does! I believe the 2017 will be the year of revolt. Whether they can put down this rebellion or not; that’s another story. Next year there will be elections in Germany, France and Holland. Many things could happen. Looking at the basic issues, there are two insurrections happening the same time.
There is much more.