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3 pros and 3 cons of Steve Bannon’s political death

Steve Bannnon’s record was a mixed bag of war and peace–pragmatism and ideology

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Steve Bannon is officially out of the White House. The man whom many described as the ‘brain behind the Trump campaign’ has run the course of his political career with many suspecting that he may shortly return to journalism/media.

For both those who admire and detest Steve Bannon, the man took on mythical proportions. Much of what was said about Bannon on both sides of the political divide was grossly exaggerated. That being said, he was one of the few members of the Trump White House who was a genuine ideas man in an age where anything but technocratic thinking is often frowned on.

With this in mind, here are the pros and cons of the political death of Steve Bannon.

THE PROS

1. Threatening a trade war with China 

Steve Bannon was recently quoted saying the following about the possibility of the US actively fighting a trade war with a nuclear superpower which also happens to be the world’s most dynamic economy:

“We’re at economic war with China. It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow”.

These remarks could potentially be deeply damaging to the US economy if translated into policy. Already, Donald Trump has signed a memorandum authorising the US to investigate allegedly unfair trade practices in respect of China’s use of US based intellectual property. Many in Washington are openly using the word ‘sanctions’ to describe what could result from the entire ordeal.

With America being utterly dependant on Chinese imports and with Beijing owning substantial sums of US sovereign debt, such a trade war (as Bannon himself called it) would be catastrophic for the US economy and could further heat up the many proxy conflicts the US is waging against Chinese commercial interests.

Bannon has long defined his policies as existing in a framework where a clash between China and America is inevitable to the point of being desired. Such dangerous, Manichean views could make many bad trends befalling the globe even worse.

2. War with Iran 

Steve Bannon was in the United States Navy in the Gulf of Oman during the 1980 US hostage crisis in Iran. Bannon’s ship was in the region as a adjunct to Jimmy Carter’s ultimately failed attempt to rescue the American hostages.

This event almost certainly coloured Bannon’s deeply anti-Iranian views. Along with former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Bannon was deeply fanatical about the need for America to assert aggressive policies towards Iran even though Iran poses no threat to the United States.

By being a member of a Washington choir which is dangerously close to escalating tensions with a major Eurasian power, when it comes to Iran, the peace camp needs all the allies it can get.

3. Support for Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi’s India is a country that is needlessly provoking China by infringing on territories widely agreed to be Beijing’s sovereign land. This reckless move by Modi brings a nuclear armed India closer to war with the Chinese superpower than at any time since 1962 when the too considerably weaker Asian powers fought a short border war which China resoundingly won.

Modi is also testing the patience of India’s traditional Russian ally by purchasing overpriced American weapons in order to ingratiate himself with a country that many Indians feel does not hold their short or long term interests. Modi’s pro-Israel sentiments have not only eroded New Delhi’s traditionally fair approach to Palestine but has aliened Syria, a potential market for Indian goods and services.

India’s current ‘trade war’ with China has not hurt China in any significant way, but has done a great deal to retard the progress of an Indian economy filled with potential.

On the domestic front, Modi’s Hindutva policies have led to the discrimination of non-Hindus in India. Muslims and Sikhs are finding their lives and livelihood threatened like never before in modern India. Violence against minorities is now a common feature in Modis’ Hindutva ‘paradise’.

With America facing down a self-made and damaging trade war with China and with America’s once comparatively unified social fabric descending into sectarian strife, Modi if anything should be a model of what America should not do.

Steve Bannon thinks otherwise.

READ MORE: Narendra Modi’s version of Non-Alignment is fooling no one and is bad for India

The Cons 

1. Detente with Russia 

Steve Bannon favoured not only detente with Russia but favoured constructive relations. Bannon understood that modern Russia is a moderately conservative society whose Orthodox Christian traditions resonate with many Americans who are dismayed with the hedonism and perversion that is inexorably linked with post-modern liberalism.

With Bannon out of the White House, a voice of not only reason but of enlightenment when it comes to Russia has been lost.

2. Realism on Syria 

Steve Bannon seemed to implicitly understand that Syria and her partners are going to be victorious in the conflict and that beyond this, they are fighting the kind of Salafist terrorism that is a danger to mankind itself.

During his campaign, Donald Trump continuously rejected illegal so-called regime change in Syria and vowed not to repeat the mistakes of Barack Obama in funding and aiding terrorists in Iraq the Levant.

While the Syrian conflict is in its final phase, Bannon was correct on Syria from both a pragmatic and moral position. This honourable position is sadly not shared by the majority of the Washington elite.

3. Venezuela and North Korea 

Steve Bannon’s pragmatic side came to the fore in respect of his opposition to recent US threats of war against North Korea and Venezuela.

Bannon rightly realised that North Korea is a ‘sideshow’ conflict and further urged restraint over Donald Trump’s recent threats to Venezuela. 

While war on North Korea is unlikely, Venezuela remains a tempting oil rich country for US war-hawks to pounce on.

CONCLUSION: 

While there were many good reasons for Bannon to go and an equal amount of reasons for Bannon to stay, the sad truth is that his departure from the White House was at least publicly, for all the wrong reasons.

Bannon is associated with a right-wing mindset that some conflate with the white supremacist thinking of the Ku Klux Klan. The fact that Bannon disavowed groups like the KKK seemed not to matter in a modern America where a good narrative trumps a mundane truth with worrying frequency.

There is of course a chance that someone in the White House felt that Bannon’s China remarks were a step too far. There is some circumstantial evidence which points to this. 24 hours prior to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in April, Bannon was removed from his position on the National Security Council. It was a move that almost certainly reassured those who do not seek an digressive US stance towards China.

It could well be that behind the scenes, concerned individuals realised that Bannon’s remarks on China were inflammatory and deeply dangerous. The proximate timing of his removal is close both to his mad remarks on China as well as the violence in Virginia that many wrongly blame Bannon’s ideology for inspiring.

The truth may be somewhere in between. What is known is that Bannon’s record was one which drifted between common sense and madness. His pragmatic side was ultimately distorted by his more ideologically based pronouncements. This is true whether one loves or hates the man and what he stands for.

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Rastislav Veľká Morava
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Rastislav Veľká Morava

Part of what the elites coined as “Globalism” is really just Global Exploitation. They found that in China with a communist government willing to exploit their own people as low wage, slave work force for the west.

True “Globalism” would mean “Global” Environmental Standards and a “Global” Minimum Wage. That would defeat the purpose of Western Factories off-shoring to China or anywhere else, and then good luck to China..

India waits in the wings…

CumExApostolatus
Guest
CumExApostolatus

Modi gave no pushback in late 2016 when the war on cash started in India. I wonder what forces were behind that? Cui bono?

Debbie Beane
Guest
Debbie Beane

USAID, Bill Gates and other entities that push for biometrics required in every move we make. When the news on India’s situation arose, I watched an informative video by James Corbett. You can see a list of sources he used, here:

https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-313-demonetization-and-you/

CumExApostolatus
Guest
CumExApostolatus

Thank you. I’d seen that video from Corbett.
Mine was a rhetorical question since I HOPE we know who runs banking around the world.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“Bannon was one of the few members of the Trump White House who was a genuine ideas man in an age where anything but technocratic thinking is often frowned on.”

Fully agree. Without Bannon and Gingrich, the actual presidency term is as good as dead. They were the only two thinking brains in the team.

Ann Watson
Guest
Ann Watson

Steve Bannon is an Israeli – he can’t but be good riddance because of that

Kasimiro
Guest
Kasimiro

Could Steve Bannon‘s influence on the future decisions be greater in the medias than in the White House? The President’s decisions are made out of the house anyway. Aren’t they? ………. The Generals in the White House are patriots and so the better insurance not to force the President into a war which he doesn’t want. As long as the army cadre support Donald Trump he can sleep well. The Generals in the government is better than in the fields. They know well enough that the US can’t go to war any more like before. The mic will have to… Read more »

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

Bannan will stay because we Americans are frustrated with Congress & the military. Who is going to take us out of all this mess?

Walter Dublanica
Member
Walter Dublanica

Bannan is absolutely right about the need for America to have friendly relations with Russia which is a White Christian country. Who wants a war with a country that has 7,000 nuclear weapons??

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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