“What baffled me the most, in our conversation, was that Bannon apparently believed that war can have a cleansing effect: that we need to tear down things from time to time to rebuild it from scratch… He believed that there is no way we can avoid an armed conflict, if Europe is to be saved. It cant be stopped by peaceful means. We are at war with Islam…” (Steve Bannon to Flemming Rose)
Flemming Rose was one of the editors of Jyllands-posten in 2005, when they published the so called Muhammed Cartoons and is currently a researcher at the CATO institute, in the U.S.A. He wrote an article in the Danish paper Weekendavisen some days ago about that day last fall, when he met Steve Bannon, with the headline “The Revolutionary.”
Rose, met Bannon last year in New York while he was slated to meet another individual.
The meeting was not pre-announced, Bannon entered the room unannounced while Flemming spoke to that other person (said individual “was worried about the influence of Islam on the West”). Steve “was somewhat fat, with ruddy face, medium long grey hair, and stubble… He was my age, perhaps a bit older, was barefoot and had his shirt hanging outside his trousers. He introduced himself as Steve, and after a while I realized that his last name was Bannon and that he was the director of Breitbart News,” Flemming Rose wrote.
Bannon believed that Flemming Rose, the infamous editor of Jyllandsposten, and now a Senior Researcher at the Cato Institute, shared his view on Islam and could become a political ally, but he was wrong.
“It started as a friendly discussion but very soon developed into an occasionally heated exchange of opinions. Bannon obviously initially believed that I shared his ideas. When it became obvious for him that we had different views about how to deal with Islamic terror, we had a verbal clash. … Parts of what Bannon said was worrying, not the least now when we know that he has a key position in the White House. Bannon is angry, the subject of his anger is what he calls the ‘Globalized Elite’. He said that he views Trump as he beginning of a rebellion, that will increase gradually the coming years. He told me that he has travelled all over U.S.A and that his impression is that ordinary Americans view themselves as betrayed and that they are angry and frustrated. Not the least in the aftermath after the financial crisis 2008 and 2009. Capitalism has to be rescued from itself.”
“What baffled me the most, in our conversation, was that Bannon apparently believed that war can have a cleansing effect: that we need to tear down things from time to time to rebuild it from scratch. It seemed like he had lost his faith in Europe. Christianity has lost much of its power and as a result of that Europe has lost its will to contront the demands of Islam to get special treatment, and power [in Europe]. He meant that if Europe is to be saved, there is no way we can avoid an armed conflict. It cant be stopped by peaceful means. We are at war with Islam…”
Flemming Rose did not like what Bannon told him.
“I explained that I disagree and added that, as far as I can see it, we are in a hot war with violent Islamists and in a cold war with non violent Islamists, but not with Islam. It is a struggle between ideas, and it is crucial that believing Muslims fight on the side of secular democracy, I said. Bannon shook his head. He disagreed very much. After another verbal tirade and an emotionally loaded outburst from him, he looked at me, slightly embarrassed. Unlike him I had not been agitated that hour we met. And then he said: ‘Flemming, I hope we can make it with your methods, but am not entirely sure about that,’
Translated from the Danish original. Also published in the Swedish Daily Dagens Nyheter.
Flemming Rose has denounced Bannon in Reason magazine too.
Flemming Rose: Yes, and in fact, about a year ago, I had a conversation with Steve Bannon who’s now part of the White House and that was in fact one of our disagreements because Bannon believes that we are at war with Islam while I’m saying, no, we are at war with violent Islamists in a hot war and we are in cold war with non-violent Islamists that do not believe in liberal Enlightenment values, but we need the leading Muslims on our side who stands up for secular democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of religious and we cannot win this battle without having them on our side to talk to their fellow Muslims.
Nick Gillespie: Just to follow up Bannon: does he believe in western Enlightenment values because he seems to be very much of a nationalist, that he wants to define America in much more narrow terms than historically we have been.
Flemming Rose: He believes that this is all— That the crisis of the west is due to the loss of a Christian identity. That this is the Judea-Christian civilization not being able to defend itself, so he believes in re-establishing the church. I mean, Christianity is still powerful in the United States but in Europe, it’s on the wane and Europe is getting more and more—
Nick Gillespie: I always find it peculiar when Christians talk about a Judea-Christian heritage, especially in a European context. Europe spent a good part of the 20th century trying to get rid of the Jews, so it’s odd to claim that now.