Steve Bannon, Closet MARXIST!?

Leftopaths are full of shit, so I take this with a bottle of salt, but then again, facts is facts, as they say:

From the Ottawa Citizen & National Post, Saturday February 11, 2017, P.# NP1 & 2, and from here:

THE DARK VISION OF U.S. CHIEF STRATEGIST STEVE BANNON

Revolution is not only inevitable, it’s necessary: 

How Steve Bannon’s dark vision could shape the world

Steve Bannon, the former naval officer, investment banker and right-wing media mogul who runs Donald Trump’s White House, has a habit of seeing the future in a single politician.

“This is a tectonic plate shift in American culture,” he once said of a renegade Republican with big hair, who speaks in run-on sentences untethered to facts, and whose bonkers family life is much loved by the tabloids.

That was Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential candidate once scorned (in Bannon’s words) as “Caribou Barbie meets Bible Spice.” But her “plate shift” never came true, and so with all the blind confidence of a failed fortune teller, Bannon moved on to the next vessel into which red state America could pour its hopes and resentments.

This time it worked out. Bannon’s vision is now a major driver of American policy, domestic and foreign.

To judge by his own writing and film-making (the late Andrew Breitbart, whose website Bannon ran, once called him the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party), it is an apocalyptic vision of glory born out of chaos, of purifying destruction in which the old order will fall, and a new one rise.

Bannon, who has an unusual seat on the National Security Council, may be a conservative, but he is also a revolutionary. He draws on an intellectual tradition that, like Marxism, sees revolution as inevitable, even morally necessary.

“What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes itself,” Bannon told the Washington Post recently.

He was writing about Jeff Sessions, the newly confirmed Attorney General, whom he called “the clearinghouse for policy and philosophy to undergird the implementation of (Trump’s) agenda.”

But he was also writing about America’s destiny, and his belief that the 20th century world order that was carved out of the chaos of the Second World War will be swept away, along with the social contract that emerged from the Great Depression.

For these ideas, he draws heavily on the work of Neil Howe and the late William Strauss, political economists who may be to Bannon’s White House what Leo Strauss was to Karl Rove’s — an intellectual inspiration, tinged with menace.

What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes itself

Their “generational theory” describes a seasonal, cyclical pattern in history, driven by predictable changes in the moods of successive generations, with each four-part cycle lasting an average human lifespan, about 80 years.

The sequence of four “turnings” begins with a “high,” as a new order is established. Then comes an “awakening,” as new values challenge the old order. Then there is an “unravelling,” as the old order decays. Then comes the “Fourth Turning,” the cataclysmic failure of the old order as a new one arrives, leading into the high of a new cycle.

In the current cycle, for example, the years after the Second World War were the high; the upheaval of the 1960s was the awakening; the culture wars of the 1990s were the unravelling; and the Fourth Turning arrived roughly when the economy went bust in 2008.

In America, Fourth Turnings have always turned out to be a crucible of something new and good. The first, the American Revolution, created the world’s first democratic republic. A lifespan later, the Civil War ended with guarantees of liberty and equality. A lifespan after that, the Second World War created the great 20th century American superpower.

But they have always involved war.

“All of our total wars have occurred in Fourth Turnings,” said Howe, who is also a director of an investment risk management firm.

When Bannon made Generation Zero, his 2010 film about the global recession, he consulted Howe, and also David Kaiser, a historian and expert on generational theory.

In an interview, Kaiser said it is unfortunate this theory is being portrayed in coverage of Bannon as a supernatural folly, “a nutty idea,” the wacky obsession of a demented presidential puppetmaster.

“It’s so obvious that their broad prediction is coming true, not only in the United States, but almost all over the world,” Kaiser said. “And now the Republicans want to finish the job. My real fear is we’re going to sink into real anarchy, that our institutions just won’t function at all.”

He said Bannon came across as genuinely curious, but set firmly in his conclusion that the old order will not fall easy. He made clear he anticipates a war.

“If we do get into a big crisis with Iran, or even with China, and there’s a danger of war, I don’t think that’s going to bother Bannon at all,” Kaiser said. “He is ready for it. He would view it with equanimity.”

Another geopolitical actor with pretensions to historical literacy is Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, who shares the Russian dream of re-establishing dominance over all the Slavic lands, with Moscow as a Third Rome (after the “second,” Constantinople).

Russia is about one turning ahead of America, Kaiser said. It had a Fourth Turning with the 1917 Revolution, an awakening in the 1950s, and a Fourth Turning with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Today Russia is still in its “high,” not yet “awakening,” and in the words of Thomas E. Graham, managing director of Kissinger Associates and a former member of the National Security Council, it “exudes a prickly nationalism, born of wounded pride, a deep sense of vulnerability and an unquenched desire for respect.”

He could have been describing Donald Trump, and it is in this new dynamic, between two flawed alpha males, Trump and Putin, that the greatest threat of war may lie, thanks to Bannon’s dark vision.

From Obama to Trump, America’s Russian policy has gone from “feckless” to “reckless,” said Garry Kasparov, the former chess grandmaster and exiled Russian opposition figure. Trump has a “strange affinity” for Putin, he said, and a record of acting without regard for legality, and without calculating political risk.

“Putin knows the prospect of a ‘grand bargain’ would appeal to Trump’s vanity,” Kasparov said. But Russia is on “a crusade against the free world… Aggressive foreign policy is virtually the only tool Putin can use to justify his endless stay in power.”

“Putin had certainty with regard to Obama, and it was unpleasant certainty,” said Neil MacFarlane, an expert in Russian foreign policy at the University of Oxford. “Now he has uncertainty. Putin is no dope. He’ll play along to see how far he can get. We don’t know how far he can get, because the signals from the Trump administration are so ambiguous.”

Putin can meddle in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia or Moldova because they are not in Western institutions, MacFarlane said. But the Baltics, which Putin covets as former Soviet states, are different, protected by NATO’s Article Five, collective defence.

Failure of the West to defend them would send the credibility of NATO “down the toilet,” he said, but there is no evidence that this problem weighs on Trump’s mind. Indeed, Trump has been openly skeptical of this duty.

“Maybe we should ask if it weighs on Steve Bannon’s mind,” MacFarlane said.

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About unclevladdi

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