Mr Bannon Lay Down Your Ghost

(Narrated by Sam Guinness)

Steve Bannon, the self-proclaimed ‘director’ of the Trump presidency, has large concerns about China. He has described modern China as the equivalent of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s with Hong Kong being the Czech Republic of 1938. He has continually broadcast on the subject and struck up a relationship with Miles Guo, the Hong Kong billionaire in exile from the CCP. Such was the controversy of their relationship that Twitter found Bannon the target of 17,000 tweets during a disinformation campaign from the CCP hacking group called 50 cent, condemning the Breitbart editor of doing ‘dirty work for his “billionaire benefactor”. One Twitter bot wrote: ‘Bannon was shamefully reduced to Guo Wengui’s money slave’. And yet, despite Bannon’s willingness to get tough with China, his actions are contradicted by his continual support of the Trump presidency.

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If Steve Bannon really cares about confronting China, he should accept the failure of the Trump administration efforts. For while the Trump administration may have propelled Bannon to a position where he expected to be, his hopes for Trump have failed miserably. Bannon was the main advocate for the appointment of John Bolton, the famously hawkish diplomat for the role of National Security Advisor. Having worked in that role between 2018 and 2019 Bolton has heavily condemned the President urging the Republican Party and conservative philosophy ‘to separate’ themselves from Trump. Bolton’s recent memoir heavily undermines the view that Trump is capable of confronting Chinese abuses of human rights. For instance, following President Xi’s explanation of why China were building camps for the Uighurs Trump supposedly agreed that it was ‘exactly the right thing to do’. Trump reportedly pled with Xi to ensure his re-election, stating that his victory would lead to an increased investment in soybeans and wheat. Bolton predicts that Trump ‘may well “abandon” Taiwan’ were he to win a second term. Therefore, the individual personally selected by Bannon has emphasised that Trump does not have the will or capability to hold the CCP to account over the subject of human rights and seems solely concerned about pandering to Xi Jinping so he supports Trump’s re-election.

During the 2016 election when 30,000 of Clinton’s personal e-mails went missing, Trump commended the potential hacking campaigns of Putin and Xi Jinping saying ‘If Russia or China or any other country has those emails… I’d love to see them’. Following Bolton’s statements and what we know about Trump’s withholding of military aid in return for political dirt on Joe Biden, Trump’s geopolitical strategy appears to be a high-profile lobbying campaign to get foreign powers to not only support Trump but to attack the Democratic candidacy. In return for disinformation and hacking campaigns Trump’s offer is that he can corrupt the office of Presidency, neutralise the globes most powerful military, and enfeeble ties with NATO and the European Union making it harder to co-ordinate effective geopolitical strategy. Given Bannon’s support of Orban, ‘a hero’, Marine Le Penn, ‘you guys didn’t take any of the migrants’ (they took over 100,000 since 2015), and Matteo Salvini, ‘they will govern together but Salvini is the real leader, because Di Maio resemblems Macron’, he may support the final geopolitical strategy but certainly cannot defend the encouragement of Chinese espionage campaigns and the corruption of the executive office.

If Bannon fails to condemn Trumps actions or distance himself from his geopolitical strategy, he undermines any credibility he hopes to have when criticising western attitudes towards the CCP. Bannon has painted the CCP as the Nazi party only to support Trump for his collaboration. His credibility cannot hold on both shoulders. He either has to support Trumps encouragement of Chinese espionage towards the Biden campaign or condemns Trump for the failure in diplomacy. Following the 50-cent campaign to denigrate Bannon and his friend Guo it was Jack Dorsey and Twitter that flagged CCP malevolence and the ‘elites’ at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center who did the research. After the CCP passed the national security law that allowed the introduction of Beijing law enforcement to Hong Kong it was Boris Johnson who took the lead and provided 3 million Hong Kong residents British citizenship. Despite Bannon’s argument that ‘we are the only people talking about China’, Trump’s leadership is nowhere to be found with Vox reporting that his trade war ‘cost about $2 trillion in the value of American firms listed in stock markets and is expected to reduce household incomes by around $600 this year on average’.

Despite a consistent creation of pro-Trump propaganda, possibly because the majority of his support base are from these voters, privately Bannon does not believe in Donald Trump. According to Michael Wolff in the Fire and Fury Bannon said there was ‘1/3 of a chance that the Mueller investigation would lead to the impeachment of the president, 1/3 of a chance that Trump would resign, and a 1/3 chance that he would limp to the end of his term. In any event, there would certainly not be a second term or an attempt at one’. If Trump is the ‘first innings’ for Bannon’s populist movement I suggest he retrieves a modicum of credibility by explaining that Trump is not just an ‘imperfect instrument’, but, is doing a terrible job at supporting Western geo-political goals and challenging the ascendancy of the CCP. Failure to do so will reveal Bannon as a fraud, winking towards the so called ‘elites’ while he whips up a frenzy of nationalist sentiment around Britain the European Union, failing to solve the problems he does so much to publicise.

This essay does not aim to determine whether the CCP are the modern Nazi Party, but to assert that criticism over the actions of the CCP is not compatible with supporting the Trump administration. In 1941 George Orwell wrote the following: ‘Creatures out of the Dark Ages have come marching into the present, and if they are ghosts, they are at any rate ghosts which need a strong magic to lay them’. If the west is to have an effective chance at confronting totalitarianism, at a domestic and international level, I recommend Bannon uses his magic to lay down his ghost.