Now that President Trump has added Steve Bannon to his National Security Council (after removing the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff), it’s worth looking again at how Bannon sees the world, and specifically how he sees national security.
The former Breitbart chief discussed his views at length during a meeting of the Human Dignity Institute, a conservative religious group that held a conference at the Vatican in 2014. A recording of the meeting was obtained by BuzzFeed.
In the meeting, Bannon revealed his apocalyptic view of modern history. He feels the West has only recently emerged from the “new Dark Age” that was the early 20th Century. Although capitalism ushered in a brief era of prosperity, this is now threatened by the “new barbarity” of Islamic terrorism. The struggle is existential, he believes. Five hundred years from now, we will look back and see that today was a turning point. If the spread of Islamic “barbarity” isn’t stopped it will wipe out the last 2,500 years of progress, he argues.
“We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict,” he told the conference. “This new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.”
His views are especially interesting given the recent immigration order signed by Trump, which temporarily bans immigration from several Muslim countries and indefinitely suspends refugee migration from Syria.
Here is a digest of his speech, taken from that meeting. You can read the entire transcript here.
The 20th Century was “a new Dark Age” of death and destruction triggered by World War I:
“That war triggered a century of barbaric — unparalleled in mankind’s history — virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we’re children of that: We’re children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age.”
That Dark Age was only ended by the rise of Western prosperity. But Capitalism is now threatened by a “new barbarity” — Islamic fascism:
“And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict … this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.”
ISIS will turn America into a “river of blood” if it is not stopped:
“We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it. we’re at the very beginning stages of a global conflict, and if we do not bind together as partners with others in other countries that this conflict is only going to metastasize. They have a Twitter account up today, ISIS does, about turning the United States into a ‘river of blood’ if it comes in and tries to defend the city of Baghdad. And trust me, that is going to come to Europe. That is going to come to Central Europe, it’s going to come to Western Europe, it’s going to come to the United Kingdom.”
The fight against Islamic fascism is “a global conflict”:
“We have to face a very unpleasant fact: And that unpleasant fact is that there is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global. It’s going global in scale, and today’s technology, today’s media, today’s access to weapons of mass destruction, it’s going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.”
Nationalism will protect the West from Islamic fascism:
“The individual sovereignty of a country is a good thing and a strong thing. I think strong countries and strong nationalist movements in countries make strong neighbours, and that is really the building blocks that built Western Europe and the United States, and I think it’s what can see us forward.”
The war against Islamic fascism will be seen as a turning point centuries from now:
“When people 500 years from now are going to think about today, think about the actions you’ve taken … ask yourself, 500 years from today, what are they going to say about me? What are they going to say about what I did at the beginning stages of this crisis? Because it is a crisis, and it’s not going away.”
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