In a recent conversation with sociologist and sinologist Dr. Eric Hendriks, Ezra Levant discussed the tensions between America and Hungary over Hungary’s more conservative values. Dr. Hendriks, who was attending the Tuo Festival in Romania, an ethnic festival for Hungarian Romanians, provided insights into Hungary’s relationship with the United States and China.
Hungary has been at the forefront of American culture wars, with the right in America expressing positive opinions about Hungary and the left expressing negative opinions. This pronounced position is unique to Hungary in Europe. Dr. Hendriks explained that Hungary feels a close affinity with the United States and closely follows American politics. However, Hungary has also been reaching out to China as part of a more general outreach campaign. Hungary wants to be more than just on the edge of civilization; it wants to be the center of something. As a result, Hungary is involved in multiple culture war conflicts and needs to seek friends in various directions.
When asked about concerns regarding industrial espionage, Chinese corruption, and financial corruption, Dr. Hendriks explained that Hungary, being a small and mid-sized European country, is not greatly concerned with these global geopolitical issues. The dominant framing of the world from Hungary’s perspective is different from that of America or Canada. Hungary’s sympathy with China is not ideological, as Hungary has had negative experiences with communism in the past. However, there are important trade relationships being established between the two countries.
The conversation with Dr. Hendriks sheds light on Hungary’s nuanced approach to its relationships with the United States and China. Hungary recognizes the cultural and political affinities it shares with the United States, but also seeks economic opportunities and partnerships with China. As a mid-sized European country, Hungary navigates its way through the global stage by considering its own interests and seeking friends across different fronts.
This conversation took place at the Tuo Festival, where Hungarian Romanians gather to celebrate their ethnic heritage. It is an example of the Danube Institute’s efforts to encourage the transmission of ideas and people within Central Europe and between Central Europe, other parts of Europe, and the English-speaking world. The festival provides a platform for meaningful discussions and insights into the complexities of Hungary’s relationships with other countries.
This interview highlights the importance of understanding different perspectives in international relations. Hungary’s unique position in the American culture wars and its efforts to balance relationships with the United States and China demonstrate the complexities of diplomatic engagements. By considering the specific context and motivations of each country, a more comprehensive understanding of international dynamics can be achieved.