Given the present state of the world, the first MIRACLE event of the spring semester was especially pertinent. The topic of the lecture was the “Visegrad - US Relations: How Powerful Is the V4 Engine” given by Michael O’Shea on March 1. Mr. O’Shea is a dual citizen of the United States and Poland; and he is currently a visiting research fellow at the Danube Institute, part of the Budapest Fellowship Program, sponsored by the Hungary Foundation and the Mathias Corvinus Collegium.
Mr. O'Shea provided an extremely insightful presentation on the Visegrad Group, describing how it began as a transitory association that grew beyond its intended purposes and evolved into something rather unique. He also emphasized some of the V4's key characteristics, such as its export-driven economy, which is heavily reliant on the production of German automobiles, its military cooperation and the formation of the V4 Battlegroup, its power in diplomacy, and what issues cause discord among the members (for example, the dispute over the Turów coal mine). In addition, he stressed that the Visegrad 4 is “purely an alliance of common interests” and that the members are “brothers but also antagonists sometimes.”
In terms of the relationship between the Visegrad Four and the US, Mr. O'Shea contends that the four states form an inevitable geopolitical block inside the European Union. Not to mention that owing to the nature of the "see-saw" effect inside the American political system, as well as the fact that the V4 is not bound by treaties, the two entities are comparable in the sense that their foreign policy may easily change with the new leadership.
Several interested students attended the presentation, many of whom came from different areas of the world, and it was their first time hearing about the V4, so at the end of the session, they had many questions for Mr. O'Shea. To name a few, there were concerns about whether Western-style democracy would ever work in, say, Eastern Europe, and if the V4 would ever accept new members and create a tighter partnership in the future.