Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Joshua Green

Joshua Green's new book is Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency. From the transcript of his July 2017 interview with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA: So there's so much in the book, but I want to focus on one piece, which is really this transformation, ideologically. The Republican Party used to be the party of free markets, free trade, openness. That was Reaganism; that was the kind of formula. And Trump and Bannon, both in their various ways, realized that the base of the Republican Party was in a very different place. Do you think that Bannon came to his nationalist, protectionist, populist views slowly, suddenly? What happened? This was a Goldman Sachs banker.

GREEN: I trace two strains in the book that I think led Bannon to his worldview. The first is that he had a deeply traditional Catholic upbringing. He went to a right-wing Catholic military academy, became fascinated with traditionalist intellectuals, including some of the nationalist thinkers of the 1930s and the 1940s, who tended to believe that the world was in decline, that the Western world was under assault by the forces of Islam, by the rise of secular modernity.

And I think the other thing is Bannon's own personal experience. He served in the Navy in the Persian Gulf during the failed rescue mission to rescue the American hostages. And Bannon...

ZAKARIA: This was under the Carter presidency?

GREEN: This was under Jimmy Carter's presidency. And Bannon was raised in a working-class, Irish Catholic, Democratic, pro-Kennedy family. So Bannon at the time was ostensibly a Democrat, but he described to me in interviews getting off the ship, taking shore leave in Pakistan and being horrified and worried by what he described as these teeming masses of young anti-American Muslims. And then watching the hostage crisis, he described the Middle East to me as being "primeval." He said it was like stepping back into the fifth century. And so I think that was the beginning, the roots of the Islamophobia that has characterized his politics...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue