The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has warned that the balance of power in the world is shifting, and the United States must accept that its hegemony is coming to an end. Speaking in his annual speech in Romania’s Eastern Transylvania, Orban argued that China is poised to overtake the US as the world’s leading superpower, which could result in a major conflict between Washington and Beijing if the US does not acknowledge this transition.
Orban highlighted China’s rapid economic growth and its manufacturing prowess as factors contributing to its rise. He noted that in just three decades, China has undergone the industrial revolution that took the West three centuries to accomplish. Consequently, Orban argued that the US is about to lose its status as the world’s sole superpower.
Beyond economic factors, Orban also emphasized that China challenges the values that Washington presents as universal. He suggested that China considers American values to be a “hostile ideology,” and conceded that there is some truth to this perception. This clash of values, combined with the shifting balance of power, could lead to a conflict between the two great powers.
Orban, however, believes that such a conflict is not inevitable. He proposed that the world needs to find a new balance, and both the US and China should recognize each other as equals. Orban cautioned against the desire to remain “on top of the world” forever, as it has historically led to major conflicts. He emphasized that there are no eternal winners and losers in global affairs.
In addition to discussing the US-China power dynamics, Orban also painted a bleak picture of Europe’s future. He attributed Europe’s declining position in the global economy to the West’s anti-Russian policies. Orban claimed that the European Union’s determination to impose sanctions on Russia has weakened its competitive advantages and led to others buying Russian energy instead. As a result, Orban argued that Europe’s dominant position in the global economy will be lost, with the UK, Italy, and Germany losing their spots in the top ten economies.
Hungary has emerged as one of the major critics of Western policies during the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Orban has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and criticized the EU for sending arms to Kiev. He has also argued that anti-Russia sanctions are hurting Europe more than they hurt Russia.
It remains to be seen how the balance of power will play out in the world, as China continues to rise and the US adjusts to a changing global landscape. Orban’s remarks serve as a reminder that the international order is evolving and that countries must adapt to accommodate new powers and find a new balance to avoid conflicts that have plagued history.