WARSAW – In the weeks since Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States, it has become clear that he intends to roll back the progressive-egalitarian agenda that is commonly associated with “political correctness” to the starting block – not just in the United States, but globally. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s White House Svengali and former CEO of the extreme right Breitbart News, has long pursued this ideological project, and we now know that what he or Trump says must be taken both seriously and literally.
Trump’s transition was initially reassuring, because he nominated many undeniably serious (if also seriously well-heeled) people to his cabinet. But, after the inauguration, all hell broke loose as Trump and Bannon began to implement their project in earnest.
First, Trump appointed Bannon to the National Security Council’s highest body, the principals committee. Then he nominated Ted Malloch, an obscure business studies professor at the University of Reading, in England, as US Ambassador to the European Union. Malloch recently expressed a desire to “short the euro,” and predicted that the currency will not survive another 18 months. Trump has also increased the likelihood of a trade war with Mexico, and he has been willing to confront major US corporations over his executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The ideological project that Trump and Bannon will seek to carry out could have far-reaching geopolitical and economic implications that should worry not only progressives, but also dyed-in-the-wool conservatives like me. To understand how far they are willing to go, one must understand their ultimate aims.