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Where's this going? What's the worst realistic case here?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:24:22 PM EST
It starts with either disenfrnachisement and dispossession of ethnic minorities within Hungary, or cross-border conflicts involving Hungarian minorities in neighbouring countries.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:33:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well "cross-border conflicts involving Hungarian minorities in neighbouring countries" would be a joke having in mind number of Hungarians and their weak military if it is JUST about this , but...
Haven't we already seen same scenario (all tho with real military power Germany prior to WWII)...This shit will grow in the end involving big powers and woala we can end up having WWIII (starting once again in Europe).
Practically any time when borders were changed in Europe it involved wars and a lot of blood. It will not be different this time. As EU still has (but not for long) power to intervene and it is silent what is reasonable conclusion? Conspiracy theories aside and just making deep look to European history make you think that either there is scenario there or we are approaching time of total chaos on this planet. I want to believe that there is scenario...all tho both options give me creeps...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 11:50:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you assume incompetence instead of malice, then "we are approaching time of total chaos on this planet".

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 04:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting that you think of the Gleiwitz incident, rather than the Log Revolution, the Pakrac clash, and later the Fall of Vukovar, as the model of how things would start going to hell.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 07:00:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well those things were not the same but nevertheless there are millions ways for things to go to hell (and we in ex YU have seen quite a few of them).
If there will be war it's easy to think of something that will provoke it and even easier to do it.
Question is if there will be war planed and who has interest to start it (and decide who good guys are and who are bad). All tho things sometimes do not go according to plan...sooner or later...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 08:26:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well those things were not the same

That was the point. It's not all-out war between regular armies with heavy weaponry (as the Third Reich assault following the Gleiwitz incident) which I'm concerned about in my worst-case scenarios when it comes to conflict with Slovakia and Romania, more the triggering of skirmishes to civil wars to civil wars with regular army intervention. (Note that I didn't link to the Siege of Vukovar itself, but to its fall, where paramilitaries played a strong role.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 01:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...you are right. It would be more like ex YU scenario. But who is going to "play" Serbs? Is Hungary going to be "bad guy" and Romanians, Slovaks (and Serbs with Hungarian minority in Vojvodina) good guys? I am not sure...depending of why this silence from EU is so "loud"...
And sooner or later after skirmishes we'll have big powers involved.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 06:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who're the goodies and who're the baddies will be decided retroactively when the great powers decide which faction to support.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 07:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read somewhere toay ( I think it was Mediapart ) that the reason the EU is so quiet is that Germany and Austria have huge outstanding loans to Hungary. Anyone know if this is true?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 05:53:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, especially the Austrian banking system has already been bailed out once and is failing again under the weight of its exposure to its Eastern neighbours.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 06:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German banks have little exposure in Hungary, Austrian banks do. That didn't keep the EU form being not at all quiet on the economic front: see the central bank.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 06:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the EU, the Hungarian Central Bank and economic imbalances.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 07:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW I tried to find a source on the composition of the foreign holders of both public and private credits, but failed. I only know that the main problem on the private front is Swiss francs; and that 10% of the entite public debt (that is about a sixth to fifth of the foreign public debt) is held by a single American investment fund since late last year.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 07:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that one of those vulture funds specialised in buying distressed assets?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 08:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I guess:

Franklin Templeton Investments - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

...The firm specializes in conservatively managed mutual funds. It offers products under the Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series and Fiduciary brand names. Like other large investment companies, the firm offers a wide variety of funds but is traditionally best known for bond funds under the Franklin brand, international funds under the Templeton brand, and value funds under the Mutual Series brand.

...In 2004, Franklin Templeton paid fines to the State of California, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle issues regarding questionable practices including market timing. The plan for distribution of settlement monies was completed in September 2006, and all distributions have been completed as of December 2008.

Some analysts reportedly said [sorry source in Hungarian] that maybe Franklin Templeton continued its purchases to avoid a loss of value of its existing holdings of Hungarian government debt, that is by preventing a market crash (which is said to previously have been a practice of the now nationalised private pension funds in Hungary).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 05:09:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, those people?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 05:54:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They-re just a regular mutual fund manager. Not particularly "locust". In fact, they got in trouble in the last decade for engaging in "market timing", which is a pretty reasonable thing to do except that some pension funds argued it was contrary to their interests as clients.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 04:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't they have those loans to Greece? And Italy?
And they sorted it out (?) easily...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 08:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no clue.
  • Maybe Fidesz will manage to prevent a(nother) economic meltdown (is that realistic?) and then continue with a Putin-style managed democracy (within or without the EU).
  • Maybe Fidesz will turn to even more nationalism upon economic meltdown and establish a darker semi-dictatorship, exit the EU, and maybe get into armed conflicts with Slovakia and Romania.
  • Maybe the disenchanted will flock to Jobbik and Jobbik will use the powers Fidesz made for itself to establish a fascist dictatorship, which will definitely come in armed conflict with neighbouring countries. (Most opposition people in Hungary I tell this reject that it is a realistic possibility, assuming that Jobbik can't get much above its present 20% figures; but based on the impressions I gained in discussions with Fidesz supporters, I wasn't convinced.)
  • Maybe left-of-Fidesz forces manage to win the next elections, but will lose power soon in snap elections just as Fidesz planned, then back to square one.
  • Maybe the liberal intelligentsia will manage to prop up Gyurcsány or another neoliberal as saviour at least atracting urbanite voters and re-establish the old Republic, repeating Poland's recent history but with greater upheavals.
  • Maybe a real leftist alternative can grow on the union/NGO protest movement, but they will be too naive and the IMF et al will again play them for a fool. After they fall, again back to square one.
  • Maybe a real leftist alternative can not only dispose of Fideszistan but face off the IMF et al.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the disenchanted will flock to Jobbik and Jobbik will use the powers Fidesz made for itself to establish a fascist dictatorship, which will definitely come in armed conflict with neighbouring countries. (Most opposition people in Hungary I tell this reject that it is a realistic possibility, assuming that Jobbik can't get much above its present 20% figures; but based on the impressions I gained in discussions with Fidesz supporters, I wasn't convinced.)

How can Jobbik get through the safeguards Fidesz set up for itself? Do you envision Jobbik getting a 2/3 supermajority, too?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:01:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, and absorbing Fidesz "loyalists" who jump ship. (That is, I think it is more likely for a spineless Fidesz loyalist today to jump ship towards Jobbik than to jump ship towards the left.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:05:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can they achieve that in one election cycle, or would there be a priod of Fidesz government with a Jobbik blocking minority? How stable can that situation be?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:07:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is Central Europe, majorities can shift pretty fast within an election cycle. In polls Fidesz already lost half of its supporters, while Jobbik regained minor losses over the past year. Some numbers from the last poll by the pollster I see as most independent:

  • certain voters: 40% (record low)
  • unable to choose a party to support: 40% (near record high)
  • Fidesz, total adult population (certain voters): 26% (43%) (record low since election; the highs were 50% (72%) in June 2010)
  • Socialists: 14% (23%)
  • Jobbik: 11% (20%)
  • LMP: 4% (8%)
  • Gyurcsány's Democratic Coalition: 2% (5%)
  • all others: 2% (1%)

Note that even the most popular politician (by the question "would you like to see X in an important role in the future?"), the figurehead President of the Republic (sic!), has only 33% support.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:31:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can imagine a military coup at some point. If Hungary continues on this line it could be temporarily suspended from the EU but I suspect economic meltdown will bring civil strife long before. EU sanctions may be in fast order but of little effect. I can't imagine the EU moving quickly to suspend Hungary from the EU.

The spector of Yugoslavia looms but hardly seems possible with EU sovereign states on its borders. On the contrary the handling of Yugoslavia should be a lesson for the NATO and the EU heavies, notably Germany and France.

The best approach may be to let Fidesz do its best to destroy Hungary to the point that the military step in. It worked in Poland.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Hungarian military is extremely weak, the police would have more infrastructure for a coup (only they are always loyal dogs). But agreed on the EU angles. In Poland, which military intervention are you thinking of?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:46:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jaruzelski. Thanks for info on Hungarian military. If they're extremely weak, we can discount unrest with neighboring states.

NATO will have to find the appropriate candidate if Hungary is judged essential to European harmony. Otherwise I guess we're in for another Belarus, a slant for such an ingenious people.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:54:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they're extremely weak, we can discount unrest with neighboring states.

Nope, to kick off that, a few dozen fanatics are enough. Like the ones in the incidents I reported in The Slovakian-Hungarian Football War, just better armed and organised. And if serious confrontation comes, the military can be boosted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:02:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jaruzelski

I don't get the parallel. Do you think the Soviet Union let Poland's commmunist party to do its best to destroy Poland to the point that the military step in? At any rate, Jaruzelski wasn't just the military, he was already PM and party secretary by the time he declared martial law, so that wasn't really a military coup.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I indulged in a logical leap. I'm sure there's an appropriate Greek rhetorical term. Left to its own device tyranny runs the state into the ground, through ineptitude, hubris, paranoia, etc.

The importance was a novel solution in a critical stalemate situation. By  declaring martial law, Jaruzelski was perceived- and perceived himself- as dampening a potentially dangerous situation. His actions saved face in Moscow, Washington, Bruxelles and the Danzig docks.This wrench-in-the-works strategy postponed negotiations to a more amenable setting.

I suppose there is a major problem of negotiating nation building along the Balkans and the Central European fault line that was put on hold during the Cold War. Fidesz is the latest blight.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:42:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The importance was a novel solution in a critical stalemate situation. By  declaring martial law, Jaruzelski was perceived- and perceived himself- as dampening a potentially dangerous situation. His actions saved face in Moscow, Washington, Bruxelles and the Danzig docks.This wrench-in-the-works strategy postponed negotiations to a more amenable setting.

Ah, I get it. The trouble is, declaring martial law is something for the powers-that-be, and in Hungary today that's Fidesz.

If we want to discuss the (emphatically hypothetical) military angles, I think the spectre of Yugoslavia you mention warrants more words. Except for the short bigger campaigns by the JNA after Croatia's independence and by Croatia when it reconquered (and cleansed) the Krajinas, AFAIK most of the conflicts were fought with small arms, and often with irregular forces, especially at the start. So in the worst case I can imagine, things would start to go downhill when governments both sides of the border would escalate diplomatic conflicts and fail to hold back extremists on their side, and armed conflict would emerge after the launch of 'self-defense' paramilitaries among ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia and Romania, upon inspiration from Hungary. This may seem pretty far-fetched at present, though it must be noted that a re-run of Bosnia in Transsylvania was a proclaimed fear of Romanian politicians in the nineties.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 09:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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