Washington, DC – The “Hungarian Review”, the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal Magyar Szemle, edited by Gyula Kodolányi and John O`Sullivan, has published its second 2015 issue.
On the cover: Aert Pieters, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Sebastiaen Egbertsz. 1603. Oil on canvas, 147 x 392 cm. Detail. Amsterdam Museum.
This issue deals mainly with the fact that Europe and therefore Hungary face three serious crises in the coming decade: the energy crisis, the Ukraine crisis, and the crisis over the euro – even though Hungary, having retained the forint, will not be directly constrained by the financial and budgetary rigidities of the single currency.
Two of these three are examined in depth by the diplomat and academic “Americanist”, Tamás Magyarics in his comprehensive analysis of how the national interests of Washington, Moscow, Berlin and other European power centers are likely to determine the future of Central and Eastern Europe. In his article entitled ‘An Unsentimental Look at the Geopolitics of Central Europe’, he states: „Ukraine’s fate is of special importance to Russia and (Central) Europe alike. Moscow is doing its very best to prevent Ukraine from joining the Euro-Atlantic community, and by doing so also exposing the impotence of the Europeans; it seems that Ukraine is the real “red line” for Russia. In reality, it was able to absorb the losses of the Central Europeans and the Baltic states (even that of Poland) without any major challenges of its economic well-being. On the other hand, for each of the Central European countries, the incorporation of Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic community would mean that they too would be “embedded” into the Atlantic community. At the moment they are still in a vulnerable geopolitical position, and this situation is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.”
As John O’Sullivan puts it in his editorial note, Europe’s dependence on Russian energy is the strongest face card in the Russian deck. But this crucial advantage is eroding under the impact of such developments as “fracking”, the increased availability of liquid natural gas, and divisions among energy producers. As energy grows cheaper and available from more producers, Russia will lose revenue and diplomatic influence.
The third unsolved crisis is over the euro which is weakening the European Union in all its dealings. It is impoverishing Southern Europe, distorting the internal trade patterns of the continent, encouraging political instability and extremism (to the point of toppling governments) and absorbing all the political energy, imagination and revenue that should be devoted to more helpful schemes.
In his article entitled ‘A Revival of European Economic Science?’, Péter Ákos Bod points out that the economics profession has responded to the 2008 financial crash largely by clinging to the orthodoxy that led up to it. Orthodoxy in the case of the euro holds that there cannot be any modification of the euro structure (by, for instance, dividing it into a two-tier “northern” and “southern” euro), or even a departure from it by a single country, because such things would undermine the EU, its single currency, and the myth of inevitability supporting both. Europe must therefore endure all the ills listed above indefinitely in deference to the rigidity of theory.
The last article in the ‘Current’ section is by László Trócsányi entitled ‘Detoxication through Law – The Orbán Government’s Solution for the Mortgage Crisis’.
The periodical then continues with an ‘Essays’ section that contains articles written by Gerald Frost: How to Make a Speech that Leaves Them Gasping for More; Christie Davies: Why Are We Ruled by Short-Sighted Men with a Good Head of Hair?; Nicholas T. Parsons: (Com)passionate Contrarian – The Polemics of Pascal Bruckner and Enikő Bollobás: Everyday Communism – On Life, Books and Women in Communist Hungary. According to Christie Davies, “Since the advent of television bald politicians have vanished from the arena. No American President has been seriously bald since Eisenhower and no elected British Prime Minister since Churchill. Today bald men of outstanding ability such as they always lose out to those who look good on television even if they are dim-wits. Appearance is everything.”
The ‘Histories’ section contains memoirs by Árpád Kadarkay: War and Art – Memoirs of a Hungarian Childhood – Part III; Danielle Spencer: Sebald in Moszkva Tér and Ákos György Bálint: An Island in a Toxic Sea – Subjective Recollections of a Year of Adversity. In his article, Ákos György Bálint tells the story of his captor, István Vasdényey, the commander of an internment camp, who protected the Jewish hostages assigned to his care against both deportation to Germany and attempted physical beatings by SS guards. As a unique example, Vasdényey took serious personal skills in defying the SS, showing both courage and cunning as well as he treated his internees with dignity and kindness.
Finally, the ‘Arts and Letters’ section has articles by Thomas Kabdebó: Ferenc Pulszky; George Gömöri: Notes to “The Passion at Ravensbrück” by János Pilinszky and Ildikó Ember: Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age – Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts. The essay of Ildikó Ember, who was bestowed the Order of Knighthood of Orange-Nassau by King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age in 2014, contains colorful illustrations of some of the paintings by the courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.
Currently, twenty-five issues of the Hungarian Review (from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) can be ordered from Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main?ie=UTF8&sshmPath=at-a-glance&isAmazonFulfilled=0&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&isCBA=&orderID=&asin=B005ZBLPD0&seller=A1Y47FCTFJNKMW&isPopup or directly from the publisher at http://www.hungarianreview.com , or by calling the Coalition office in Washington.