Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

On July 21, 1789, President George Washington signed legislation establishing the first federal agency under the newly ratified Constitution: the Department of State. Since that moment, the Department of State has served as the voice of the American people to the myriad peoples of the world, sending diplomats to nations near and far to represent our interests and negotiate on our behalf.

Starting in the Vietnam Conflict era, something changed. As Americans faced the calamity of conscription and unprecedented social upheaval, the cerebral approach to anticommunist doctrine lacked visceral appeal. In its place, “human rights,” a concept codified in 1948 by the United Nations, emerged as an uncounterable justification for American intervention in foreign affairs.

In the twenty-first century, few remember the academic critiques of “human rights” from the 1940s, which noted that “[r]espect for differences between cultures is validated by the scientific fact that no technique of qualitatively evaluating cultures has been discovered.” Such an appreciation is absent from modern discourse, and the West instead juggles the cognitive dissonance of preaching infinite respect for other cultures while shamelessly battering any culture that violates perceived “human rights,” even to the detriment of the people purportedly deprived of such rights.

Tragically, we have seen far too many such instances in recent history. American intervention on the basis of “human rights” tends to leave our nation poorer and the rights-deprived nation in ruins. (Consider Iraq, Libya, and Syria, among others.) It is incumbent on all Americans to advocate for our diplomats to support the mutual interests of our people and people in the nation to which they are posted. Color revolutions of the past two decades, which conveniently pad defense contractors’ budgets, have failed in nearly all cases.

So why is the United States intent on fomenting yet another one?

President Joe Biden appointed David Pressman, a gay human rights lawyer, as Ambassador of the United States to Hungary on July 28, 2022. In his confirmation hearing on June 23, 2022, Pressman made his agenda clear when he stated:

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“The threats to democracy in Hungary are real and merit our determined attention. Human rights,  media freedom, and the rule of law, are not nice-to-haves in Hungary—or anywhere else. They are fundamental foundations for sustaining democracy and liberty and meeting people’s most basic needs. Today in Hungary, we see deeply troubling trends in each of these areas. If confirmed, I will support efforts to advance and protect these fundamental rights and  transatlantic values.”

Pressman’s claim lacks factual basis but echoes the mainstream media and Biden Administration’s ridiculous charges against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. One might imagine from Pressman’s statement that Hungarians are cowed and quaking under the jackboot of rabid government oppression. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As we have explored, “human rights” is a fundamentally meaningless term; the values of ten years ago are today condemned by the Left as a horrific violation of “human rights.” Attacks on “human rights” in Hungary follow a consistent pattern:

  1. The Left identifies a subject on which the Hungarian people have overwhelmingly indicated they do not want to embrace “woke” ideals
  2. The Left exaggerates the situation with a mix of hyperbole and omission and condemns Orbán
  3. The Hungarian people, who have access to a diverse set of opinions in media, reject the assertions of the Left

Sometimes, the Left simply contrives a scenario from scratch. Consider the example of a far-right rally scheduled for February 11 in Budapest. Hungarian police banned large extremist gatherings that day and ended up having to protect the small number of far-right protesters from a foreign Antifa mob that descended on them. How did Pressman represent this event? He took to Twitter to issue a disingenuous condemnation of “those who valorize Nazis [and] march in Budapest.” In fact, Hungary is a top-ranked country for Jews, according to a study by the European Jewish Association. 75% of Jews have never faced antisemitic incidents in Hungary, the top score in Europe. (Belgium claimed the bottom spot at 52%.)

In the past week, Pressman brought another agent of destruction to Budapest: Samantha Power, Administrator of USAID. Power has touted the American government’s “new support for locally-driven initiatives.” We know what kind of initiatives Power likes; she was instrumental in transforming Libya into a failed state, and now she has her eyes set on the Pearl of the Danube.

Reception to Power’s meddling has been one-sided. There is no secret about what is happening, and people do not want her there. Her reputation speaks for itself, and palling around with anti-Orbán NGOs erases any doubt about her intentions.

Pressman, Power, and the Biden Administration are set on instigating another color revolution: the Paprika Revolution. Americans owe it to the Hungarian people to rein in the bad actors in our government and allow Hungarians to live as they see fit. As Orbán has said with pride, “Hungary is still a Hungarian country.” Let us endeavor to let them keep it that way.