Play Nice with Dictators

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary has veered in the direction of dictators, including those in the former Soviet Union. Taking a page from their books, he has attempted to control Hungary’s independent news media.

When an official of the United States embassy in Hungary, David Kostelancik, criticized such actions, a former Florida congressman, Connie Mack IV, complained that Kostelancik was interfering in the affairs of a U.S. ally.

According to Thomas Melia, writing in The American Interest (“The Diplomat vs the Lobbyist,” November 23, 2017), Mack appears to be a lobbyist for the current government of Hungary. His attacks could be another example of attempted foreign influence on U.S. policies.

Two other congressional representatives, Andy Harris of Maryland and Dennis A. Ross of Florida, have begun a draft letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with complaints similar to Mack’s about Kostelancik.

Writes Melia: “After most of a year during which the President has consistently denigrated the State Department, our diplomats and diplomacy itself (‘I’m the only one that matters,’ he told Laura Ingraham this month) . . . it is time to celebrate the patriotic Americans who are serving on the front lines abroad—people like Dave Kostelancik, who speak for our nation’s values and interests, not for dollars and cents.”

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