Last year, Prime Minister Orbán topped the list of 28 as the “conservative subversive” who is impossible to ignore. This year, you’ll find at number 10, Hungarian-born American investment guru, George Soros, who, according to POLITICO “is using his fortune to push the anti-Orbán political agenda.”
Soros these days is known around the world less for his controversial investment speculation, the most notorious of which battered the pound and the Bank of England in 1992, but more for his network of so-called civic organizations, which push his personal political agenda internationally. It’s called “open society,” and its current cause célèbre is to push Europe to open up its border to an unchecked influx of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Soros, when not creating “civic” organizations with his infusions of money, donates to pet political causes and politicians, like the Clinton Foundation, and lines up financial forces against conservative, center-right governments.
This is not news. But until recently, whenever Prime Minister Orbán or others pointed to the opaque workings of the Soros machine, they were dismissed as conspiracy theorists. Reading this year’s POLITICO 28 and the editors’ reasons for picking the billionaire as Europe’s 10th biggest influencer this year, it looks less like theory and more like a genuine conspiracy.
“Well into his eighties,” the editors write, “George Soros is back on the frontlines of this decade’s ideological struggle.” Those frontlines run through Europe as well as America.
“With Donald Trump headed into the White House, [Soros] already stands at the forefront of efforts to oppose him,” according to POLITICO, adding that there’s a struggle even more dear to him.
His “[b]attle is particularly fierce now in his native Hungary,” they write.
“The ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has for years complained about his influence and intentions. Last year, when Soros called for a common European asylum policy in a thinly veiled rebuke of Orbán’s hard line on migration, the Hungarian leader blasted him, saying, ‘his name is perhaps the strongest example of those who support anything that weakens nation states.’Soros clearly wasn’t cowed. In September, he earmarked some $500 million ‘for investments that specifically address the needs of migrants, refugees and host communities.’”
Citing a hacking collective that makes the claim Soros was “an architect and a sponsor of almost every revolution and coup around the world for the last 25 years,” POLITICO remarks that Mr. Soros “might take that as a compliment.”
Billionaires seeking to influence politics is nothing new. But when leaders like Prime Minister Orbán have called them out, they’ve been dismissed as irrational, paranoid or worse.
The more that ideologues like Soros are exposed behind these facades of “civic” organizations, the more we can talk frankly about the issues, the democratic will, accountability and reasonable responses to the challenges our societies are facing. And that will be to everyone’s benefit.
(Picture source: Politico.eu)