Steve Bannon Isn’t Going Away

He aims to defeat the ‘globalist’ crew by pushing China into the 2018 campaign.

President Trump’s highest officials remain committed, one way or another, to defending the global order the U.S. has been building since the Truman era. That includes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster.

.. They want to check the ambitions of America’s rivals while restoring the foundations, both military and economic, of U.S. world power. For Team Trump, defending Pax Americana, costly as it may be, remains the best and even the only realistic foreign-policy option.

.. Pax Americana is growing more difficult and costly to maintain in an increasingly disorderly world.

  • From Venezuela’s implosion to
  • North Korea’s drive for an intercontinental nuclear missile,
  • from the standoff in the South China Sea to
  • the madness of the Middle East,

there are urgent problems that resist easy or elegant solutions.

The second challenge is skepticism—both among the wider public and in the Oval Office—about the continuing value of conventional international relations in an evolving world.

.. For Mr. Bannon, the assumptions and institutions of the Pax Americana brought victory over the Soviet Union, but they are already failing in a contest with China. Beijing, he claims, has learned to game the very system that most of Washington’s established analysts believe is the key to American strength.

The traditional view is that institutions like the World Trade Organization support U.S. power and security. Mr. Bannon sees them instead as facilitating a deliberate Chinese attack on the economic strength that underpins American social cohesion and military strength. To deal with a new kind of competitor in a new kind of contest, Mr. Bannon believes, the U.S. must move away from the international architecture of the past and embark on a radically new course.

.. Leveraging the Breitbart media empire and his own star power, Mr. Bannon seeks to play the role of a latter-day Paul Revere, riding through cyberspace to warn the American people that the Chinese are coming. The goal is to create conditions for a new domestic political alignment and a fundamental shift in American strategy abroad.

 .. To the extent that “globalist” foreign policy comes to be identified with tolerating Chinese mercantilism, the public’s skepticism about it will likely deepen.