The president of the US needs to understand the importance of Central and Eastern Europe and spend more time on an “intelligent dialogue” with leaders of those countries, US presidential candidate George Pataki said this week.
Pataki, a Republican who was elected New York State governor three times, is the first US politician of Hungarian descent running for president. He told state news agency MTI after announcing his bid for the US presidential nomination that “from day one the Obama administration has not paid enough attention to Central and Eastern Europe”.
“It‘s not just Hungary, it‘s Poland that… I remember one of the first decisions they [the US] made was to pull the missile defence out of Poland and I believe the Czech Republic without even communicating with those countries,” he said.
“Communication is a two-way street and I think the president of the United States and his foreign policy team should understand the importance of Central and Eastern Europe and spend more time having an intelligent dialogue with the leaders of those countries.”
Commenting on the difference of opinions about Hungary within the Republican Party, he said “when you look at the challenges facing the United States today maintaining very good open relationships with Central Europe is an important part of it.
“But certainly the priority has to be in protecting Americans` freedom and dealing with the crises we see, whether it is resurgent Russia and radical Islam and I know that Hungary is in NATO, they‘ve had troops in Afghanistan, they‘ve been supportive of the West‘s efforts against radical Islam and that matters,” Pataki said.
Asked about the United States’ position on energy security, he said Central and Eastern Europe “have to understand that being overly dependent on Russian sources of natural gas creates enormous challenges. And to develop alternate sources, alternate pipelines, sources that are domestic, renewable sources, all of those things.
“But my focus is going to be on leading the American people and the American country. There are challenges facing Hungary, there are challenges facing Central and Eastern Europe, but there are enormous challenges facing the American government and I‘m not pleased with the direction of the American government so that‘s going to be my focus: changing Washington”.