By Brigitte L. Nacos
The first ten days of the Trump presidency gave enough reasons for alarm. Not merely because of President DJT’s continued bias in favor of alternative facts.
Clueless in matters of democratic governance and the truism that details matter in the implementation of executive orders and laws the president and his motley crew acted according to a reckless blueprint in unprecedented haste and thoughtlessness.
The ideological scheme guiding the new administration is the work of Steve Bannon, the former boss of Breitbart, one of the more influential among the far-right nationalist, nativist, and conspiracy theory promoting online organs.
During last year’s campaign, when Trump emerged as a serious presidential contender, some neo-Nazi voices expressed support for the reality show star with the caveat that as president Trump would only be a temporary front-man for the real national-socialist revolution under a bona fide leader of the cause.
For now, Trump’s chief strategist Bannon is foremost among those pulling the strings in the White House as he was in the decisive stretch of the presidential campaign.
He was the one who wrote the inauguration speech along with fellow hardliner and White House advisor Stephen Miller.
Bannon was—and is--the strongest advocate of Trump’s controversial executive order against Muslims that was enacted Friday night before relevant government agencies were informed of its full content and meaning. Not surprisingly, Bannon and Miller overruled Department of Homeland Security officials who did not want to include green card holders in the travel ban.
That the ban excludes Muslim majority countries whose citizens actually committed terrorism within America’s borders and/or have acute problems with terrorism today seems to suggest that the grey eminence in the White House does take his boss’s business interests into consideration, namely, in Turkey, the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Those countries, along with others, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, are not part of the ban. That much for principles in fighting terrorism at home…
I actually agree with President Trump that terrorists are evil. I disagree that we must be equally as evil—or more so—in order to defeat terrorism.
Most troublesome among the dubious decisions in the opening days of Trump’s governance were changes in the operations of the National Security Council which is led by the conspiracy theorist and Islamophobia-in-chief Michael Flynn. While Steve Bannon will be a regular at Council meetings, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will no longer attend all meetings but merely those falling into their responsibilities and expertise. What a scary state of affairs: Leading intelligence and military officials are no longer regulars leaving lots of room to maneuver for Flynn, formerly a paid contributor to Vladimir Putin’s RT propaganda network, and Bannon, like his boss an admirer of Putin and authoritarian rulers in general.
P.S. According to Politico, Senator John McCain said today, “I am worried about the National Security Council. Who are the members of it and who are the permanent members? The appointment of Mr. Bannon is something which is a radical departure from any National Security Council in history."
Unfortunately, McCain praised Security Advisor Flynn although he is very critical of his pro-Russian stance.