Brent Scowcroft Center Assistant Director Robbie Gramer writes for the Huffington Post on corruption in Hungary and the recent appointment there of Colleen Bell as ambassador:
Hungary is undergoing a troubling backslide from democracy. Viktor Orban, the country’s prime minister, has overseen a widespread crackdown on dissent, stamped out independent journalism and cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the tensest chapter in post-Cold War West-Russia relations. What makes these trends especially worrying is that Hungary is a member of NATO and the European Union.
The United States should take the growing threat of Hungary’s rejection of democracy seriously. With the ambassador posting in Budapest open, it had the perfect opportunity to appoint a skilled and adept regional expert as ambassador to guide U.S. interests in the country. But, instead, the Obama administration opted for Colleen Bell, the producer of the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, who has as much regional expertise on Central Europe as, well, a producer of a soap opera.