Article highlights:

Europeans are starting to worry that Steve Bannon has the EU in his cross hairs. Here’s how the White House could genuinely help pull it apart. To Bannon, a strengthened EU is nothing less than a risk to civilization: a body that dilutes national identity and whose border policies allow Islam to invade the West, one refugee at a time.

Bannon was an executive at Breitbart News, an activist-editor-gadfly known mostly on the far right, and the “Brexit” campaign was something of a pet project. He hitched onto the Tea Party movement early in Barack Obama’s presidency and noticed a similar right-populist wave rising across the Atlantic, where fed-up rural, white Britons were anxious about immigration and resentful of EU bureaucrats. The cause touched on some of Bannon’s deepest beliefs, including nationalism, Judeo-Christian/Catholic nationalist identity and the evils of Big Government.

Bannon’s vision, as laid out in public remarks and private conversations, opposes international organizations in favor of empowering nation-states.

Bannon’s public remarks, and accounts from people who have spoken with him, make clear he believes Brexit and Trump’s election are part of something bigger, a global political revolt that could restore what he calls lost “sovereignty” on the continent.

Bannon told an audience of religious conservative activists at the Vatican in 2014. “That is really the building blocks that built Western Europe and the United States, and I think it’s what can see us forward.”

To Bannon, however, a strengthened EU is nothing less than a risk to civilization: a body that dilutes national identity and whose border policies allow Islam to invade the West, one refugee at a time. Bannon, who did not respond to interview requests, has repeatedly made clear his views about Europe. Most revealing is the widely read transcript of his Vatican talk, in which Bannon declared that “the world, and particularly the Judeo-Christian West, is in a crisis.” Europe’s citizens, he said, are restless for “sovereignty for their country, they want to see nationalism.” And, Bannon added: “They don’t believe in this kind of pan-European Union.”

Bannon has approvingly cited Maurras’ distinction between the “legal country,” led by elected officials, and the “real country” of ordinary people, as a frame for the populist revolt underway.

Bannon “made it clear he had lost faith in Europe as secularism and arriving Muslim immigrants had eroded traditional Christian values as the founding pillar of our civilization,” Rose wrote. “Losing the Christian faith, in his view, has weakened Europe—it’s neither willing nor able to confront Islam’s rising power and some European Muslims’ insistence on privileged treatment of their religion.”

Bannon’s solution? Rebuilding the firm borders between European states—to keep the Muslim immigrants out, and to keep in the religious and national identity. “I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world,” Bannon told the Wall Street Journal shortly after the U.S. election. “I have said repeatedly, strong nations make great neighbors.”

By Michael Crowley March/April 2017



Continued article highlights: 

But do they? Many a European leader, not to mention historian, disagrees. Runaway nationalism led to, among many other horribles, Franz Ferdinand’s assassination and World War I, and gave us Hitler, Mussolini and Milosevic. Those things, in turn, drew America’s military across the Atlantic.


“I don’t get it. Americans have spent a lot of their history either fighting against Europeans or fighting on behalf of Europeans against other Europeans,” says Charles Kupchan, who served until January as the top official for European affairs at the Obama White House. “Anybody who wants to bring Europe down risks putting us back in the 19th century or the early 20th century.”


European officials note that this happens to be a goal of Russia’s president, Putin, who is busily undermining the post-Cold War internationalist order in favor of a nationalistic, geography-based power politics. A U.S. effort to dismantle the EU, one Western European government official says with distaste, “would put America on the same side as Putin.”


The thought is rattling Europe at the highest levels. In January, Donald Tusk, president of the EU’s European Council—who calls himself “an incurably pro-American European who is fanatically devoted to trans-Atlantic cooperation”—sent a letter to member states characterizing the Trump administration as a menace to the Union, alongside the likes of Russia and radical Islam. “[W]ith the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” Tusk wrote, America now had to be considered not a stalwart friend of the EU but a “threat.”


Wolfgang Ischinger, former German ambassador to the United States, put it in starker terms in remarks at a February security conference in Munich attended by top Trump officials. “Is President Trump going to continue a tradition of half a century of being supportive of the project of European integration, or is he going to continue to advocate EU member countries to follow the Brexit example?” Ischinger asked. “If he did that, it would amount to a kind of nonmilitary declaration of war. It would mean conflict between Europe and the United States. Is that what the U.S. wants?




 Important elections coming up:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a favorite target of Breitbart, almost always in the context of her “open door” migrant policy. The news site, formerly run by Bannon, is working toward opening a bureau in Berlin in time for the country’s general election later this year, in which Merkel will seek a fourth term.


Not long ago, Breitbart cautiously praised Emmanuel Macron, a center-of-left French presidential candidate running as an independent, as a “French Tony Blair” willing to consider dismantling an unreformed European Union. But the site has since changed its tone, going all in for Marine Le Pen, while deriding the “Pro-EU Macron,” in articles such as, “France Blames Russia For Poor Performance of Left-Wing Presidential Candidate.”


In a January letter to EU member states, Donald Tusk, the European Council president, lamented the rise of “national egoism” within Europe, taking a shot at the kinds of Euroskeptic movements Bannon has encouraged. Still, after a February meeting with Mike Pence, Tusk said the U.S. vice president had committed America’s “unequivocal support for the idea of a united Europe.”




Elections to watch:

Netherlands- March- Dutch election results: Europe’s far-right populists fail first test

France – Spring

Germany – September

Italy – Summer


and Mexico – Summer 2018