David Brooks, who is wrong about most things most of the time, writes ominously of the New Dark Age™ we’ll be entering with Trump at the helm (“Bannon Versus Trump”):
It’s becoming clear that for the next few years American foreign policy will be shaped by the struggle among Republican regulars, populist ethno-nationalists and the forces of perpetual chaos unleashed by Donald Trump’s attention span.
The Republican regulars build their grand strategies upon the post-World War II international order — the American-led alliances, norms and organizations that bind democracies and preserve global peace. The regulars seek to preserve and extend this order, and see Vladimir Putin as a wolf who tears away at it.
The populist ethno-nationalists in the Trump White House do not believe in this order. Their critique — which is simultaneously moral, religious, economic, political and racial — is nicely summarized in the remarks Steve Bannon made to a Vatican conference in 2014.
Once there was a collection of Judeo-Christian nation-states, Bannon argued, that practiced a humane form of biblical capitalism and fostered culturally coherent communities. But in the past few decades, the party of Davos — with its globalism, relativism, pluralism and diversity — has sapped away the moral foundations of this Judeo-Christian way of life.
Humane capitalism has been replaced by the savage capitalism that brought us the financial crisis. National democracy has been replaced by a crony-capitalist network of global elites. Traditional virtue has been replaced by abortion and gay marriage. Sovereign nation-states are being replaced by hapless multilateral organizations like the E.U.
Decadent and enervated, the West lies vulnerable in the face of a confident and convicted Islamofascism, which is the cosmic threat of our time.
For the most part, Brooks’ caricature is rather on the mark.
Then, Brooks does the Alt-Right a wonderful service by giving Alexander Dugin some free press:
It’s actually interesting to read Donald Trump’s ideologist, Bannon, next to Putin’s ideologist Alexander Dugin. It’s like going back to the 20th century and reading two versions of Marxism.
One is American Christian and the other orthodox Russian, but both have grandiose, sweeping theories of world history, both believe we’re in an apocalyptic clash of civilizations, both seamlessly combine economic, moral and political analysis. Both self-consciously see themselves as part of a loosely affiliated international populist movement, including the National Front in France, Nigel Farage in Britain and many others. Dugin wrote positively about Trump last winter, and Bannon referred to Dugin in his Vatican remarks.
“We must create strategic alliances to overthrow the present order of things,” Dugin has written, “of which the core could be described as human rights, anti-hierarchy and political correctness — everything that is the face of the Beast, the Antichrist.”
“We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what [Putin] is talking about as far as traditionalism goes,” Bannon said, “particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism.”