By BENJAMIN ROCHETEAU
Ever since Trump announced his intention to run for president, reading the news has become like walking through a minefield: you do not know what you will step on, but you know that it will not be good. The news has entered a never ceasing state of outrage on every move Trump has made. And while Trump’s decision to invite Bannon to the National Security Council is not the most controversial thing Trump has done since he has become president, it will influence Trump’s take on international politics for the next four years to come.
The National Security Council is a group of individuals designed to help the president make strategic decisions, usually involving national security and foreign policy. The council is composed of various experts from various departments, as well as the White House itself. The most prominent of these is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who would provide Trump with much needed experience. At this point in time, Trump is the fifth president out of forty five to have no previous experience in politics. Yet, less than a month into office, and Trump all but excludes the chairman of the JCS and the DNI from the National Security Council (NSC), when he decreed that they shall only be present when needed, and that Bannon would be invited to all of the meetings. He also failed to invite the CIA to theses meetings, although he later expressed the intention to invite them. This move was a foreboding omen for what was to come. If Trump, who is thoroughly inexperienced in all political matters, not only pushes away those best suited to advise him, but replace him with somebody who is clearly not, then he is only setting himself up to fail. Trump’s administration’s excuse for Trump including Bannon was the remark that Bannon had served in the navy.
Bannon, a controversial individual, went through several industries, including investing, cinematography, and news before becoming Trump’s chief strategist. He is particularly infamous for his leadership of Breitbart News, which Ben Shapiro, a former editor-at-large, states “has become the alt-right go-to website” under Bannon’s leadership. Time’s Zeke J. Miller described Breitbart News under Bannon as having “pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material” to the alt-right movement. If they are to be believed, Bannon is a highly biased individual, who clearly does not have the temperament needed to advise the President of the United States of America. If he truly is sexist and racist, then he is incapable of making the rational decisions required of a member of the National Security Council. Whenever a decision is called for, he will let his prejudices reign, for if he is unable to keep them out of his news site, then he is unable to keep them out of his decision-making process as well.
The fact that Trump made this decision shows that Bannon has an unsettling amount of influence over Trump. For our president, who is already known for his racism and sexism, to be advised in matters of national security by someone who is quite possibly more racist and sexist than he is any liberal’s worst nightmare. But add on top of it the fact that Trump has sidelined the US’s military and intelligence agencies in the decision making process, effectively reducing the council to people whom Trump has handpicked. This not only means that the council’s effectiveness will be negligible, but that Trump clearly is looking to eliminate all possible sources of dissent in the council, with a possibly Putin-esque efficiency. Faced with a president who has repeatedly shown little concern for the consequences of his actions and a National Security Council of questionable effectiveness, the future looks rather grim.