Beatrix von Storch talks to Stephen K. Bannon. The whole picture: The great tasks of the Western world in the 21st century.
CERTOSA DI TRISULTI, COLLEPARDO, ITALY – Benjamin Harnwell, a British acolyte of Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, says he and his mentor plan to fight efforts to scrap their plans to turn a picturesque medieval monastery in the mountainous Italian heartland into a boot camp for populist activists.
Last year, amid cries of outrage from the Italian left, the 43-year-old Harnwell and Bannon secured a two-decadelong lease on the Trisulti Charterhouse, a 13th century monastery in Collepardo, in the central Italian province of Frosinone, on the slopes of a forested peak 825 meters above sea level.
Announcing the plan, Bannon talked combatively about establishing a “gladiator school,” where populist political-cultural warriors would be schooled to skirmish with the left, taught conservative Catholic values and tutored in how to defend the West’s Judeo-Christian roots.
But Italy’s culture ministry overseeing the 800-year-old monastery, which is a listed national monument, has announced it intends to revoke the 100,000 euro-a-year lease it granted the duo only a few months ago after a competitive tendering process.
Harnwell said he plans to fight the ministerial revocation, however long it might take. Given the sluggish pace of the Italian courts, that could take years. His attitude is, bring it on.
“Great, I am looking forward to this,” he said. But he worries Bannon might lose patience with all the obstacles they are facing in getting the academy functioning.
The ministry has cited “violations of various contractual obligations” for its decision. Some of those obligations include restoring the monastery, which features half-dozen chapels, a maze, a water mill, monk cells and a trout pond (currently without fish).
A crowd estimated to be larger than 1 million took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to voice their opposition to legislation that would allow China to extradite people to mainland China in the most massive protests since Britain handed back control of the city in 1997.
The throngs streaming through the high rise-lined streets represented a cross-section of the city’s residents — young children, students, families pushing strollers, elderly people wielding canes and professionals — with many chanting “Go Hong Kongers” and “No China extradition, no evil law” and demanding Beijing scrap the legislation up for debate on Wednesday in the Legislative Council.
Organizers put the army of demonstrators at more than a million — which would represent one of every seven residents in the city — but Chinese officials dismissed the crowd as about 240,000 people at the peak of the protests.
The marchers not only spoke against the extradition law, but about the lack of transparency in government and the continuing erosion of their personal rights to an ever more repressive China.
“Now Sloppy Steve has been abandoned like a dog, and it’s really miserable!”
This is a sentence that Bannon threw to his former employer Trump a few months after he was swept away by the White House.
Some media have described this scene: this is a sad little person who has fallen to the knees and begged Trump for forgiveness.
After leaving the White House, Bannon, who was not willing to be lonely, attacked China as an important goal. Especially in 2019, his attack on China has significantly increased firepower:
“It is ten times more important to block Huawei than to reach a trade agreement”;
“China has become the biggest enemy of the United States”;
“For me, the economic war with China is everything”;
Before entering the White House, Bannon was just a nameless person on the edge; after entering the White House, he was pushing the Trump administration to “go to the right.”
So now, is the Bannon, who has been “squatting and kneeling”, the initiator of this anti-China undercurrent in Washington? Does he have the energy to turn it into a big wave?
“The liar artist”
“They often come from marginal families, feel excluded, are not fully recognized, and even despised. They believe that it is now their turn to rule the country, and they have to retaliate for all the contempt they have received during the promotion process. ”
The British “Daily Mail” wrote in a review article analyzing the arguments of Bannon.
In American society, there are not many people who have a good impression of Bannon. For a long time, he is at the edge of the US political spectrum.
“Speaking rudely, not trimming, self-proclaiming” has almost become a sketch of the outside world, and Bannon has spared no effort to “figh for the forgotten white working class”, targeting globalization and China, and preaching this is The reason why American middle and lower whites live hard.
After killing China, the white brothers have a good life.
But he often seems to have not studied much about the targets he has attacked.
In a speech in Prague, Bannon slammed foreign countries to use their cheap labor to carry out “unfair competition,” and the atmosphere suddenly became paralyzed, and the audience looked at each other.
As we all know, most of the Czech GDP comes from exports, and cheap labor is the reason behind it. Obviously, Bannon knows nothing about it.
In Trump’s first year in office, Bannon self-proclaimed “master strategist” reputation “also proved to be false ” .
In August 2017, the Charlottesville riots occurred in Virginia. Bannon’s trick to Trump: racism is the winning choice, and the president should not stay away from white supremacists.
Bannon seriously underestimated the degree of resentment against him after the Charlottesville incident. Trump was annoyed because Trump had not explicitly condemned the white supremacist and attracted public opinion and criticism within the Republican Party. The outside world continued to pressure and asked Trump to start the Bannon. A few days later, Bannon was kicked out of the White House.
Soon after, Bannon’s rhetoric in Wolf’s new book Fire and Fury finally made Trump completely break with him.
Almost in sync with Bannon’s concentrated firepower attack on China, Sino-US relations are under increasing pressure.
A natural question is: How can the Bannon, who does not enter the stream, set off this “anti-China” demon in Washington?
On the one hand, although Bannon was kicked out, his personnel deployment in the White House is still playing a role.
After entering the White House, the original insignificant Bannon suddenly became a “national teacher”. Trump’s set of policies after he took office has his shadow: writing an inaugural speech for Trump, prompting Trump to nominate conservative judges to serve as justices of the Supreme Court, and the “prohibition” that is highly controversial is also widespread. Think it is his idea.
“Time” Weekly wrote: “Suddenly, his fingerprints have become ubiquitous.”
What is even more shocking to the outside world is that Bannon has become one of the members of the US National Security Council. The “National Security Council” has an unwritten rule for many years: it does not set up a standing seat for officials with distinct political positions. Bannon is not only extremely politically motivated, but also has no diplomatic and national security decision-making experience.
This jump has made his influence more than most other cabinet officials. He took advantage of the power and promoted a large number of right-wing middle-level officials who believed in similar values in the White House.
Nowadays, although Bannon has already been “into the cold palace” by Trump, most of the officials still stay in various positions, adding to their common radical ideas.
In May of this year, Skinner, an African-American female official of the US State Department, publicly declared when she spoke about China. “This is the first time we have faced a strong non-white competitor.” This statement with obvious ethnicity made the outside world feel awkward, and also showed that she basically accepted Bannon’s ultra-conservative right-wing concept.
Bannon, who left the White House, was not idle. He actively used his media social circle to keep close contact with many of the host of Fox TV, the American right-wing conservative spokesperson. He also participated in various extreme right-wing organizations and made frequent appearances.
Just a week ago, CGTN host Liu Xin and Fox’s commercial channel’s Tracy Reagan’s “conspiracy” attracted much attention.
What many people don’t know is that there is also the shadow of Bannon behind this debate.
On May 22, Liu Xin strongly dismissed Tsui’s remarks about “economic warfare” against China in a short commentary. The next day, Tracy spent 11 minutes on her show to respond to it, and then she invited Bannon to appear on the show.
Bannon said that China’s “personal attack is in a state of hysteria”. “They (China) understand that President Trump has fully seen that they have launched a 20-year economic war against industrial democracies, especially against the United States.” . Bannong is eager to describe how “easy and uneasy” China is.
After this episode, Tsui Xi, who couldn’t help himself, offered to have a debate with Liu Xin.
The debate was not as intense as expected. It was reported that this was because Fox had made a poll before the debate. Most of the audience thought that Tracy was “emotional and lacking arguments”. Therefore, on the day of the debate, Tracy facing the camera “always Keep a smile.”
In addition to keeping a close eye on Fox’s Chinese topic, in private, Bannon has a very close personal relationship with a number of moderators, regularly meeting with them, spare no effort to sell them the “China threat theory”, using the media megaphone to make their own voice. Spread out.
In addition, Bannon is also cooperating with other anti-China circle of Huaying Pella. A recent example is that in March of this year, he and other anti-Chinese people re-launched the “Current Dangerous Committee” in Washington, with the aim of “responding to China’s threat to US national interests” and conducting relevant policy research and publicity.
This is a US foreign policy lobby group that has been launched three times in history: 1950 and 1976 during the Cold War and 2004 during the US war on terror.
The time of Bannon
So, Washington’s China policy is being led by Bannon?
If you think so, I am afraid that the Bannon is too overestimated.
Perhaps the only lucky thing for Bannon is the timing he happened to encounter.
One is Trump’s unexpected victory. Many political analysts believe that Bannon can get Trump’s weight, not because of his superior ability or persuasive point of view, but because he and Trump have many things in common: they are all eloquent, all with Elite groups are out of place, and their positions on trade, immigration, and public security are similar.
If there is no Trump, Bannon is still nothing.
When the Washington Post pessimistically believed that no one could stop Bannon from doing anything in the White House, no one thought that Bannon’s political career was planted in his self-promotion and rhetoric.
More importantly, Bannon encountered a stage in which both parties hoped to adjust their strategy toward China. He took advantage of this opportunity to create an infectious anti-China atmosphere and blame many problems in American society on China. Let China become a scapegoat for the crux of American social development.
At this stage, Bannon happens to be close to Washington at the beginning of his understanding of China, but it is not a causal relationship in essence.
But no matter how long this anti-Chinese soap bubble blown by Bannon can last, no one can tell.
His influence on Trump can be said to be minimal—although it has been reused, but now the two have personally been very bad, Trump even pointed out that Bannon is “missing crazy”. As everyone knows, Trump believes in his instincts on many issues.
After the victory of the Trump election in 2016, Bannon boasted that he was Thomas Cromwell of the Tudor dynasty, proudly suggesting that he had a strong influence on Trump. However, this metaphor is ironic. Cromwell, who once advised the king, did not escape the fate of being beheaded by the king.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan — U.S. populist Steve Bannon moved off his recently adopted European stage and from his Italian monastery to Kazakhstan’s Almaty in Central Asia where he hugged and shared a platform with extreme-left commentator and former British politician George Galloway.
At the Eurasia Media Forum, 2019 both proclaimed their roots to working class people, with Bannon affirming his links to capitalism and Galloway, once expelled from the UK Labour Party, to “socialism” as they joined hands in a globalized anti-globalization alliance.
“I’m a working-class man from the same ethnoreligious background as Steve Bannon, although we have many other differences,” said Galloway as he and Bannon supported each other point for point on their vehemence of globalization and the European Union.
At the Eurasian Media Forum in the Almaty, the largest city in Kazkhstan, both predicted a sweeping victory across Europe in the May 27 elections for anti-EU candidates in the European elections.
Gains were indeed made in those election by the extreme left and right, where they certainly won the highest number of votes in Britain, France and Italy but their projections of a sweeping gain across Europe were off course.
The real gains were made by liberal and Green Party groups favoring a strong European Union in a record voting turnout for recent times.
Bannon has drawn media attention in Europe recently due to his involvement with the Certosa di Trisulti monastery, southeast of Rome, the home for a new school of political populism he has founded.
The monastery houses an institute run by Briton Benjamin Harnwell, a convert to Roman Catholicism, who recently told Britain’s Channel 4 News its role is to “save western civilization” and “mobilize Christian and Jews in the fight against Islam.”
SHIFTING POWER BALANCE
A shifting power balance and how it affects the trust in politicians along with deglobalization was the focus of the Eurasia Media Forum’s discussion on its final day.
One session was titled “Crisis of Trust, global power balance” which moderator and international broadcaster Stephen Cole described as a “superpower game of thrones.”
“East versus West was a very easy configuration to understand,” said Cole introducing the speakers. “Has the U.S. given up on nation building?” And, “what is the role of the media in all this?”
“I don’t speak for President Trump,” said Bannon who said he represents an “anti-Davos” movement.
But he said the United States has a “pretty clear plan” for the post Second World War liberal rules-based order that was a series of commercial arrangements, capital markets, trade arrangement and with American security added on.
“We are not an imperial power, we are a revolutionary power,” said Bannon.
Galloway who often agreed with Bannon said that he was “not happy” when Donald Trump was elected president, but he was happy that Hilary Clinton was kept out in a “sweep against liberalism.”
Bannon said, “The elites’ day is done,” and “you are starting to see a restructuring.”
He noted that “by Sunday night … the populist nationalist movement will start to take charge for a new beginning for the working class and middle class people throughout the world,” when the European Union election results were to be announced.
The Eurasian Media Forum describes itself as “an open dialogue on the most pressing topics of the present, with the participation of the most significant figures in the global media space, opinion leaders and recognized professionals in different fields.”
Its theme this year was “The world today: Transforming reality?” and the conference took place in the one-time capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty from May 22-24. The conference does not seem to mind having “tricky panelists” said one diplomat there.
In its 16th year, this forum gathered more than 600 delegates more than 60 countries.
“Kazakhstan is a natural bridge between East and West due to its unique position at the corner of Asia, Europe, and the post-Soviet region,” said the organizers.
Bannon, the former election campaign strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, was joined on stage by academic Mark Siegel, former director of the U.S. National Committee of the Democratic Party from 1973 to 1977, and Galloway, a British commentator and former Member of Parliament.
The globalists’ defense was backed by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Austria’s former secretary of state.
Their arguments in favor of slow-moving reform and compromise sounded much less appealing than the rapier-like barbs of Galloway and Bannon’s suave slogans as both railed against globalism and regionalism in defense of their “rust belts” on both sides of the Atlantic, drawing the strongest applause with their populst rhetoric.
“The EU is supporting a rules-based order and not a jungle-based one. We recognize the need for reform at the EU and international-level, but international law is the basis for everything. Otherwise, we have struggles and conflicts,” Ferrero-Waldner said.
Siegel said it was impossible for US foreign policy to build trust under the Trump administration’s “allergy to multilateralism” and its “walking away from agreements and international law.”
RIPPING UP INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS
He said noone could build trust by “ripping up international agreements” such as Paris accord on climate change and the nuclear deal with Iran involving a number of nations spending 2 trillion dollars on a new nuclear program or “pardoning war criminals who violated the Geneva Convention.”
“There is no real decision-making process in the White House,” said Siegel. “A neo-isolationist President and his unilaterally interventionist national security advisor act by whim. Why would any country, such as North Korea, want to negotiate?”
Bannon, as seems to be customary, arrived on stage looking disheveled and bleary-eyed, his khaki chinos and hiking boots a counterpoint to the dapper outfits of the other stage participants including Galloway who kept his fedora on always, sending his verbal blasts from below his hat rim.
Fostering understanding across regional and cultural borders was the key motivation for Dr. Dariga Nazarbayeva when she founded the Forum in 2002.
She is an opera singer, chairperson of Kazakstan’s Senate and the daughter of former Kazakhstan President Nursultan Abishulý Nazarbayev. Some people say she may herself become president one day.