Clash of Civilizations


David Ignatius writes this morning that For Bannon, the game has only just begun, but the column does not quite live up to the headline. It ends on the theme that Bannon’s false start may have jeopardized his long-term goal of fostering a clash of civilizations.

As with many revolutionaries, Bannon’s story is that of a wealthy man who came to see himself as a vanguard for the masses. He rose from a middle-class life in Richmond through an uneventful stint with the Navy; but his life changed after he enrolled at Harvard Business School, joined Goldman Sachs, founded an investment bank and made a fortune. He began directing conservative agitprop documentaries in 2004, but the 2008 financial crisis was a turning point. Bannon saw it as a betrayal of working people, and he embraced the tea party’s conservative revolt against Republican and Democratic elites. …

The rise of the Islamic State in 2014 gave Bannon a new rallying cry: “We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism,” he told the Vatican audience. “I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam,” he said. …

Bannon undeniably has a powerful radical vision. But this time, he may have blundered. The travel ban has triggered a counterrevolt among millions of Americans who saw his target as the Statue of Liberty.

Although Ignatius didn’t tell us exactly what is coming next, this morning Bill de Blasio filled us in.