Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, departed the White House on August 18, in the last episode of the current US administration’s turbulent history. Bannon is mostly known for infusing Trump’s electoral message with a fiery populism.
In the wake of his ouster, US media are now trying to figure out how Bannon suddenly fell from grace. They are focusing on Bannon’s personal clashes with other members of the Trump administration, mostly with senior advisor Jared Kushner and national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Or on the former chief strategist not being able to build a competent and efficient team to outmaneuver his rivals. Or even on the so-called US deep State - defense and security apparatus – which in the end supposedly imposed its will on Bannon.
However, personal feuds and lack of expertise aside, Bannon was doomed from the start. A self-declared economic nationalist, Bannon has long advocated for the demise of the US empire and for America to return to being a “normal Republic”.
As being a global empire is economically and psychologically too costly and weighs heavily on America’s middle class, according to Bannon Washington should focus on decreasing its trade deficit vis-à-vis its main competitors and stop acting as the world’s policeman. An anti-imperial feeling widely shared – even if maybe unwarily - by Trump himself.
But empires are not born out of man's will. Nations turn into empires accidentally so as to better defend themselves or to seize the economic resources they need to better survive. More importantly, an empire doesn’t cease to exist because politicians decide so. Empires implode when the demographical, historical, anthropological circumstances which produced them eventually vanish.
The US, however, still retain fundamental characteristics – i.e. the dominance over the sea-lanes, a violent approach toward the world guaranteed by young and desperate immigrants, a technological primacy – which will allow America to thrive for years as the only global empire.
That is why from the onset Bannon was bound to lose to the so-called globalists inside the Trump administration (aka those who pursue an imperial foreign policy).
No matter what Bannon did wrong during his stint at the White House.