President Bush recently returned from his diplomatic trip to Europe, where he spent two days in Budapest, Hungary, helping commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against Communist tyranny. I followed the president’s trip very closely, as my parents are Hungarian and I have traveled to Hungary many times, and I concluded the president’s ignorance was not exposed with his interpretation of Hungary’s past, but with his interpretation of the country’s future.

President Bush did a wonderful job of praising the brave Hungarians who fought against their Soviet oppressors. The president even acknowledged the mistake the past American administration made when it chose not to support the fledgling Hungarian uprising, which was ultimately crushed by Soviet tanks and troops: “We’ve learned from your example, and we resolve that when people stand up for their freedom, America will stand with them.” However, it was when the president extolled Hungary as being “a model for emerging democracies” that I saw his ignorance towards the country’s current political disposition.

President Bush seems unaware that Hungary is slowly returning to its Communist roots. For the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hungary’s Socialist Party, MSZP, has been consecutively re-elected as the majority party in the Parliament, and it doesn’t look like it will be overtaken anytime soon. Not only is the Socialist MSZP a very popular political party, but many former high-ranking Hungarian Communists shrewdly influence MSZP’s policies. In addition, President Bush shook hands and affectionately extolled Hungary’s Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, seemingly unaware that Gyurcsany began his political career in Hungary’s Kommunista Ifj£s gi Sz”vets‚g (KISZ), which stands for the Organization of Young Communists.

Clearly President Bush was right when he praised Hungary’s Democratic past, unfortunately he was dead wrong when he extolled Hungary as being a model for emerging democracies.

Patrick Molnar

Business administration sophomore

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