By Elisabeth Hellenbroich
On June 12th, Steve Bannon, former White House strategist and CEO of Donald Trump’s winning 2016 election campaign, gave an interview to the Hong Kong based Magazine “Asia Times.” The interview was conducted by Asia Times’ deputy Editor Dave Goldman, who has occasionally contributed articles to Wall Street Journal. The interview presents Steve Bannon as someone who praises the magazine as an “important voice and platform in Asia.” His main message in the interview is that the “Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must be overthrown” together with the present Chinese government, which he considers as a government of “gangsters.” According to Bannon “China will be at the centerpiece of Trumps election campaign” along the line “Make America great again”. He underlined that particularly the last 150 days of the campaign will be shaped along the lines of “classic counter of the globalism of Joe Biden and the Wall Street faction of the democratic Party versus the economic nationalism and populism of Trump.”
Bannon emphasized that with the outbreak of Covid- 19 there was a drop in aggregate demands in the US as well as a break- down of supply chains, both medical supply chains and underlying manufacturing supply chains. This in turn would have triggered a financial crisis ($6 trill had to be pumped into the US system by the Fed). Talking about China he made the farfetched allegation that the death of George Floyd, who was brutally murdered by US police two weeks ago, was “driven also by the CCP (Communist Party of China) …We know from the autopsy that he had Covid -19, which came from the CCP. Whether it came from a lab or part of a biological weapons program is beside the point.”(sic) Floyd, he stated, never had access to a great manufacturing job and had drugs in his system and counterfeit money. “All of this coming essentially from Beijing.”(!).
Bannon has one obsession: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and he believes that “this confrontation with the Chinese Communist Party, will be the single defining aspect of 2020. (…) I think that the Chinese Communist Party is completely illegitimate. I think that they are a group of gangsters.” What they did to the Chinese people, with the Uighurs, the Tibetan Buddhists, the Christians, the Underground Catholic Church, the Falun Gong and the democracy movement, is just “horrific.” Bannon demanded that they should be “confronted at every level by every government.” He states that he hopes for an effective counter alliance to China including Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan and points to the fact that the Chinese have militarized the South China Sea while they have massed 10.000 combat troops at the Indian border.
Being asked what advice he wants to give to Trump, he stated: “The CCP is in a hot information/ cyber war and a hot economic war against the United States. And they’ve been that for a while.” In respect to Hong Kong he stated: “Hong Kong is Austria 1938” ( !) – “a particularly volatile situation.” He suggested that President Trump should pull the underlining trade agreements, anything that allows any kind of fair trade, “as well as sanction the companies that do business with the CCP in Hong Kong. And I think you ought to sanction the banks. I think you ought to make it impossible for the Chinese Communist Party to use Hong Kong as a capital market which they’ve done for many decades.” The sanctions should be like the one imposed against Iran by the U.S, but much harsher: “Let’s face it, Iran and China and the CCP are partners…..Iran, the mullahs are in business with the CCP. The CCP keeps them going between the oil purchases and the loans. That’s what keeps the mullahs on the lifeline. We have to have real secondary sanctions that choke down the financial system ….My recommendations: The CCP should be cut off from all avenues of Western Technology.”
Bannon’s advice to Chinese Government: Dissolve yourself!
The reason given by Bannon is last year’s “One Belt one Road conference” in Beijing where “the CCP made the decision to decouple from the West technologically. They made a decision to go on their own technology standards virtually at the same time. They had Chinese Vice- Premier Liu He tell US Special Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer we can’t sign the Lighthizer deal that Lighthizer worked for under President Trump for 18 months.” Instead the CCP‘s “entire focus is going to be to control the Eurasian landmass with their partners Pakistan, Iran,Turkey and Russia. And once they’ve have done that, at the same time, pushing the West, pushing the United States to back off the Eurasian landmass into the Pacific at least a thousand miles back to Guam…..They then would start to focus on Europe, Sub- Saharan Africa and Western Hemisphere.. They will consolidate the Eurasian land mass first.” Bannon emphasized that China has made the decision to become a hegemon in Asia and become global hegemon.
Asked by Goldman what advice Bannon had for the Chinese government, he answered: “My advice to the government of China is quite simple: Dissolve yourself. Declare immediately that you’re going to get to democratic institution and a democratic form of government – to immediate land reform, to immediate personal property reform. (..) “The Chinese people are basically under the last dictatorship of the 20th century. And the world’s global elites are the ones that have been their business partner …It’s obvious that the Chinese Communist Party is at war with their people, at war with the United States, as we know from unrestricted warfare… Their view of war is very sophisticated. It deals in information deals and cyber deals and economics and kinetic….They are conducting an information hot war: and an economic war…. I don’t think that Asia can be free, until we’ve had regime change in Beijing. And I am an absolute advocate of that.”
Bannon is convinced that the war launched against the CCP is in light of the upcoming US presidential election campaign is “definitively a winning message. I think whoever convinces the American people that they can confront the Chinese Communist Party now and stop their actions will be the winner.”
In the last 150 days of this election (the American people) are going “to know chapter and verse of Biden’s record” (how he destroyed the US manufacturing sector by playing games with China). Both Biden and his son would be “corrupt and incompetent.” Bannon announced that he intends “to spend every day of 150 left to remind the American people of exactly who he is and what he is doing.” “One hundred and twenty percent of my time right now is spent on taking down the Chinese Communist Party with the ‘Committee on the Present Danger: China’.” (It is an American neoconservative foreign policy pressure group on the US presidents.) Bannon boasts that he supports Trump “every day. I will be there hammering on the outside.”
The reason why he so much focusses on China and the CCP is geopolitical: “They’ve taken the three geopolitical theories of the 20th century and they are the only nation on earth that is trying to do it all at one time. They’re doing (Halford) MacKinder’s control, the Eurasian land mass, the One Belt, One Road. They are doing (Alfred Thayer) Mahan’s naval strategy that the Royal Navy and the British Empire and the Americans inherited by cutting off, taking all, trying to get control of all the naval choke points, of all the maritime choke points in the world. And they’re even doing (Nicholas John Spykman’) Rimland strategy by forcing the West, forcing the democracies, to a thousand miles off the Rimland of Asia.” They are truly an evil empire, just like the Nazis, just like the fascists, just like the Soviets…they have a totalitarian dictatorship. They think nothing of the Chinese people.”
Bannon’s esoteric and far right network
Steve Bannon has an extended network of allies, grouped around “traditionalist” Europeans who share a mixture of weird philosophy, gnostic and occult views. In Brazil Steve Bannon is for example close to Bolsonaro’s key advisor de Carvalho who right now lives in the US State of Virginia. According to an article in the German FAZ (June 23rd) Carvalho is peddling the line that Brazil’s Cultural life and its Art scene is essentially dominated by “Marxists.” Also in Europe Bannon is very active. Last year he showed up at different events during the 2019 European parliament election campaign, boasting about his excellent relations with European populists such as Salvini (Lega), Le Pen (Front National) and the German AFD. As FAZ reported on May 29th in an article, recently one of Bannon’ close collaborator in Europe, the British citizen and European parliament deputy Benjamin Harnwell, who is chairman of the catholic right wing Institute “Dignitatis Humanae Institute” (a project originally also favored by US Cardinal Burke who then retracted) won a court case in Italy concerning the opening of the old Benedictine “Abbeye Certosa di Trisulti” (Latium region) which Bannon’s friend from the European Parliament had acquired in form of a leasing contract from the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs. In December 2019 the Ministry annulled the contract which was followed by a counter suit that Harnwell then won. Harnwell and Bannon want to use the Monastery- after being restored, as an “Academy for the defense of Judeo- Christian values” where young managers and strategists are supposed to be educated and listen to Bannon’s lectures (online) on philosophy, economics, and politics.
What is the link between Bannon and other ideologues?
An interesting article was published June 19th by Jonathan Von Maren (communications director for the Canadian Center for Bio Ethical Reform) in the “European Conservative Journal” under the title “Misunderstanding Bannon”. At large the article is a defense of Bannon’s fringe philosophy. Van Maren bases his analysis on a book which was published by Benjamin Teitelbaum (US scholar and assistant Professor on ethnomusicology as well as scholar on Nordic music), who published beginning of this year his book “War for Eternity”- Inside Bannon’s Far Right circle of Global Power brokers” (Harper Collins 2020). Van Maren portrays Bannon as a “Rasputin” who is simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by his insistence on speaking in symbolic and often apocalyptic terms.” Teitelbaum in his book, according to van Maren suggests, that Bannon’s views are a “lot weirder than most people realize.” He calls him a student of “Traditionalism” which he conceives of as a “common ground among a motley crew of self –described philosophers far right eccentrics and operatives from around the world.” The philosophy which they share, according to Teitelbaum, is linked to a mélange of ideas from occultists and esoterics such as French philosopher René Guénon (1886-1951) and Italian fascist intellectual and radical traditionalist, Julius Evola (1898-1974). These “Traditionalists” (which reflect also Nordic right wing fringe elements) all long for the “demise of the corrupt modernity and look forward to the return of a new golden age. They would admit that this may require a massive amount of destruction in the present.” In terms of Bannon’s network, Teitelbaum reports about an 8 hour meeting which Bannon had with Russian Aleksandr Dugin; Dugin is author of the book “Foundations for Geopolitics.” In the discussion Bannon had tried to convince Dugin that the US and Russia should be aligned against Communist China. The discussion ended in a fruitless way.
Bannon meddling in Brazilian Affairs
In his book, writes Von Maren, Teitelbaum also reports that Bannon is close to Olavo de Carvalho a Brazilian journalist, philosopher, political pundit and former astrologer, now living in the U.S. state of Virginia.“ Carvalho is considered to be an extraordinarily important figure in Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s inner circle, and many believe him to be the driving force behind much of Bolsonaro’s ideology. Both Bannon and Carvalho believe that “Brazil belongs in alliance with Western Christian nations rather than China,” the book states. This actually helped Bolsonaro’s pivot to the United States. De Carvalhos own involvement in Traditionalist circles stretches back decades and is well known. In order to shed some light on the influence of these obscure ideas, Teitelbaum states in his book: “Traditionalism overlaps with (the) populist political agendas that Dugin, Bannon and Carvalho have participated in: contempt for academic, media and political establishments; isolationist foreign policies; rejection of free trade and open borders; yearning for upheaval, in addition to standard social conservatism.” Von Maren, the author of this article, who also spoke with Teitelbaum quotes him saying: “Some in the US say that Bannon is ‘an overblown washed up nobody’, while others see him as the ‘puppet master.’”