Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bannon Gets the Boot as McMaster Asserts Himself.

Another broken promise?
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

In the post election world of Donald Trump we have come to expect the unexpected.  Yesterday Trump removed one of his chief strategists, Steve Bannon from the National Security Council’s principles committee.

The job was carried out by Lt. General H.R.  McMaster who is Trump’s new national security advisor. This comes as a bit of a surprise although it is welcomed by many, including Republicans as Bannon, the founder of right wing website BreitBart news has been considered a bit of a liability.

The shake up makes the director of the CIA a “permanent member of the principles committee” the media reports and restores the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence as permanent members. 

Bannon is claiming that his job on the principles committee was to ensure that the downsizing of the NSC took place and he was there to keep a check on Mike Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor who was fired for contacts he had with the Russians that he forgot to share with others. With Flynn’s firing, or resignation as it's put in the media, the need for Bannon’s presence diminishes so the story goes although he never attended one meeting according to reports. He will still be able to attend meetings if he’s invited. The Council, which had 20 “experts” on it under Kennedy has some 400 now according to The Wall Street Journal.

There’s obviously more to this than meets the eye. Bannon has vetoed some selections for posts that secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defence secretary James Mattis proposed. Bannon has also clashed with Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to the president. Kushner is a real estate developer and Trump’s son in law.  Kushner is close to the Goldman Sachs wing led by other economic advisors to Trump, Gary Cohn and Dina Powell who have announced their support for free trade in contrast to Bannon’s economic nationalism and Trump’s protectionist rants

The Financial Times reported this morning that the move was also a victory for McMaster as he is “asserting influence over staffing.”

The authors on this blog have made it clear that it is impossible to predict what lies ahead given Trump’s unpredictable character and ridiculous, as Peggy Noonan pointed out in last weeks WSJ, “stupid Tweets”. But the removal of Bannon appears to signify that the serious bourgeois are beginning to intervene a little more aggressively as McMaster takes a stronger grip on affairs in the NSC and other important figures are brought back in.

The attacks on Trump in the serious journals of the US bourgeois are increasing with the LA Times publishing a series of 6 editorials Titled:  “Our Dishonest President”   Peggy Noonan, also a respected conservative political theoretician of US capitalism shared her disgust and fear of Trump and his unstable governance in a WSJ column on March 30th.  In the early stages Noonan had issued a rallying cry for the Republican leadership and all those sensible ladies and gentlemen in Washington to help Trump govern. She knew then that he was an idiot, a bigot, a misogynist with disastrous economic policies but was willing to give Trump time with the help of the capitalist class as a whole defending their system of governance.

But it is hard not to get the impression that they are tiring of him and the damage he is doing to the US internationally and to US business which is dependent on world trade. The question is; can he last?

They appear to be reigning in the worst aspects of his administration but it is impossible to say if this will be successful. Trump is an unstable and narcissistic individual. He is a person who has never worked, never had financial hardship and always got his way; that’s what money allows in a capitalist economy and Trump is fortunate his slumlord father left him lots of it.

The big bourgeois are hoping they can reign in his excesses, keep him respectable. They hope perhaps that he can learn and realize that international politics is not the hotel industry.  I am not so sure he can be restrained, not so sure he will last even two years. His executive branch is still at war with the legislative and we have to see what will happen there and also how these upcoming discussions with China’s Xi Jinping.  But I’m not laying any money down. I never thought he’d be elected.

I have pondered many times what the US ruling class would do with him. They cannot have him behaving the way he has, it’s bad for business and that means it’s bad for profits.  Thought it’s never ruled out in US society I doubted they would assassinate him as the fallout would be too great.

But a section of Trump’s base is the ideologically driven right wing, Nazi’s White Nationalists, Klan and other enemies of the working class. Many of them see Bannon as their man.  If they feel betrayed, that’s a different question.

I think the US/ China a meeting will tell us more as will further shake ups in the cabinet and his administration if they occur in the next few weeks.

It seems there is serious division at the top and we can’t be sure how it will play out. But one thing we can be sure of, something that they’ll all pretty much agree on, is that the attacks on workers and the middle class will continue.

Just some thought on developments.

1 comment:

Victronix said...

"The big bourgeois are hoping they can reign in his excesses, keep him respectable."

My sense is that respectability is primarily a thin veneer on top of the underlying purpose of reigning him in, which would be mainly about larger strategic goals related to profits for the very few.