James W. Peterson
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Jacek Lubecki
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Imperial legacies and post-imperial realities
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Forces of liberal convergence drove Hungary to dismantle the communist-era military establishment, subject it to democratic-civilian control, and to join NATO. After 1999 NATO membership, and 2004 EU membership, in turn, led the country’s defense policies adjustment to requirements of liberal alliance politics, including multilateral deployments abroad in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Hungarian defense doctrines, the size of the country’s military structure and role followed the liberal alliances paradigm. However, the persistent theme throughout all these adjustments was Hungary’s neglect of military spending and lack of emphasis on military dimensions of security. The chapter argues that this persistent theme is a result of peculiar anti-militaristic strategic culture resulting from collective traumas of the twentieth century. The Hungarian recent turn towards nationalistic populism changed little in both façade orientation of Hungarian defense policies around liberal alliance policies and a neglect of defense policies as the reality behind the façade.

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Defense policies of East-Central European countries after 1989

Creating stability in a time of uncertainty


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