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Dugger writes: "Donald Trump has developed plans if elected Tuesday to form a U.S. alliance with Russia and Turkey, two authoritarian nations, to act in some ways together apparently concerning, for example, nuclear-armed North Korea."

Donald Trump. (photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)
Donald Trump. (photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Trump and His CEO Steve Bannon Make Plans

By Ronnie Dugger, Reader Supported News

05 November 16


onald Trump has developed plans if elected Tuesday to form a U.S. alliance with Russia and Turkey, two authoritarian nations, to act in some ways together apparently concerning, for example, nuclear-armed North Korea. His consistent significant admiration and partisanship during his campaign for Russia and its President Vladimir Putin dovetails with this. Discussing a conflict of interest of his concerning Turkey, which he had specified, he said, “This group has vested interests all over the world.” By “this group” he seemed to refer in part to business persons he knows in the countries of the alliance he has in mind.

Other insights into his contemplated plans if elected are revealed in a voice-transcription of a strategic consultation he had with the Chief Executive Officer (“the CEO”) of his campaign, Stephen K. Bannon, eleven months ago, on December 1st. Presumably by accident, this was posted online as “an interview,” though it has not been reported. With Bannon, Trump was talking as fast and as pell-mell as he has throughout his campaign, but at the time he was merely one of the 17 candidates for the Republican nomination. Evidently he and Bannon had conferred before, as Bannon during his part of the consultation referred to Trump’s being, if elected, “the war leader of this country” and, in another context, asked whether Trump planned “to prosecute this war.” World War III was very much on Trump’s mind. Commenting on various dangerous international situations, he said one way or another seven or eight times that none of those situations was worth starting World War III over.

Trump told Bannon that he intended, if elected, to “get” Russia and Turkey, with other unnamed nations, into an alliance with the U.S. to advance Trump’s plans and purposes. Throughout he recurrently focused on nuclear weapons policy, insisting, for example, that compared to global warming, which he completely dismissed as unimportant, there is a world crisis of “Nuclear Global Warming.” He cited nuclear-armed North Korea as a focus of this crisis and boasted in passing that if he is elected Tuesday four U.S. prisoners there will be freed and home before he is sworn in next January. “They’re hostages really, they’re not prisoners,” he said. “If I win, they will be back on our shores before I ever take office.”

At the time of this consultation President Obama was participating in early stages of the worldwide climate-change summit in Paris. “Obama is worried about climate change,” Trump said to Bannon. “We have a President over there worried about climate change instead of worrying about nuclear weapons coming into the middle of our cities,” said Trump.

In his short news story from the consultation, Bannon wrote: “Dismissing concerns about Global Warming, said Trump, ‘we have a form of Global Warming that’s a very serious form of Global Warming. And that’s called Nuclear Global Warming. Because if we don’t get our act together and corral all the countries that want to get themselves some real power, we’re going to be in big trouble. You know, you do have North Korea which nobody talks about.’”

The smart, rich, and idiosyncratic Bannon is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, the influential right-wing nationalist/populist website. He rules over Breitbart in a 14-room townhouse close to the Supreme Court in Washington. Last month Bloomberg Businessweek glaringly entitled its long feature about him, “This man is the most dangerous political operative in America. Steve Bannon runs the new right-wing conpiracy – and he wants to bring down both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.”

After a sailor’s service in the Navy, Bannon became a special assistant to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon. Then he enrolled in Harvard, became a banker at Goldman Sachs, participated in forming the investment boutique Bannon & Co., veered off to make right-wing movies, conceived plans to penetrate mainstream media with good journalistic research against leading liberals, and has run Breitbart News since its principal, Andrew Breitbart, died in 2012.

Joshua Green, the author of the Bloomberg profile, reported that before Breitbart died he told him that Bannon was “the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement,” she having been a leading figure in Nazi culture. Bannon is rich in part because his investment company became a beneficiary of royalties from the TV hit “Seinfeld” and also because, as Green reported, he is “backed by mysterious investors.”

As the recording of the December Trump-Bannon conference opened, the two were exchanging information that, as Bannon said, Turkey “is making money off ISIS oil.” Bannon asked Trump if Turkey is a reliable ally, considering that Turkey had shot down a Russian airplane at or inside Turkey’s border. “If you plan if you’re elected President to prosecute this war,” Bannon asked, how would he deal with Turkey? Trump at once replied that he has a problem about that country. “I have a major building in Istanbul, Trump Towers,” he said, stressing that it was “not the usual one, it’s two” towers. But he could handle it, he said. Turkey’s President Erdogan, he answered, is “a strong leader,” and “Turkey has been a good partner for the United States.” Since then, of course, a coup against Erdogan failed and he has imprisoned thousands of citizens and shut down large sections of the nation’s media.

Bannon’s original news report with the recording said, “Concerning the increasing Islamization of Turkey, Trump said, ‘You don’t want to have World War III about what we’re talking about. It’s a problem ... ISIS.... It’s a problem that we should have been able to win easily.... We will take it out. But this is not something you want to end up in World War III over.”

Bannon asked the candidate several times about what he would do in various war situations. In one question Bannon referred to “your big selling point for being President and Commander in Chief.” Trump responded that for years he has advocated “attack the oil....–not attack it, but keep it!” He said “we have nothing out of Iraq” because “we have stupid leadership.” Iraq has huge oil reserves, he said, but – as he said to Bannon that he knew, too – “the bombs aren’t being put in the right places.”

Then Trump turned suddenly to the thought that “We have to hit the banks because they are pouring cash into ISIS,” there is “a tremendous amount of money being poured into ISIS by the banks.” This followed:

Bannon: You’re talking about the international banking system.

Trump: Absolutely ... trucking out money poured into ISIS by the banks.... We’re going to stop it.

Bannon: It looks like the fire is in the international banking committee. Everybody is making money.

Trump: Except us.

Bannon: Except us....

Trump: Everybody’s making money but us. Russia’s making missiles and making money.

Late in his campaign Trump has charged that he is opposed for President by an international banking conspiracy, a theme which may have come to him from Bannon, whose Breitbart network has been associated with the theory that international bankers dominate the world.

After his startling remark that Obama “should be worried about nuclear weapons coming down into our cities,” Trump characterized concern about global warming as a Chinese scheme to outdo the United States money-wise by lying to the United States.

“We do have weather. You have storms and tornadoes,” he said to Bannon. “We have a lot of stupid people. It goes a little up, it goes a little down. It’s done that for millions of years.” He alluded to a big to-do about a weather crisis, his point being that it had occurred in 1896. “China’s taking our coal and they’re opening up the coal companies. And why not,” since they are so efficient, he said. “We are fools. And by the way, China is not a believer [in climate change].” They’re not a leader against climate change? Bannon tweaked him. “They want be a leader with their mouth!” Trump barked. He put in that the “clean coal” project has some problems, “but it’s still a process that works.”

A little on in the tumultuous conversation Bannon brought the subject back to Turkey: “When you say you have a conflict of interest—”

“Look,” Trump cut in, “this group has got vested interests all over the world.” There should not be “World War III,” he said, over Turkey’s shooting down “his plane,” presumably meaning Putin’s.

Bannon made the point that Erdogan has evolved into a partisan Islamic fundamentalist leader, which, he suggested, entails “people who are not part of the populist nationalist right that’s your constituency.” Repeating again the recurring theme of some of his questions, with tension in his voice he asked Trump: “You’re saying as the war leader of this country, ‘I’m not going to let this metastasize’ ... so tell me how do you stop this from metastasizing ...”

“I have a great temperament,” Trump answered. After ridiculing the temperament of one of his rivals in the primary he returned to his point: “We need a firm temperament, we need a strong temperament.” Some people would start World War III over things we don’t want to go to war on, he repeated. “We’re gonna have the greatest military in the world,” but you’re going to “start World war III over what? Over Syria! Over Syria! That’s not something you get into World War III over.”

Finally, generally, but very briefly addressing Bannon’s inquiries aimed at what if elected Trump was going to do and how he was going to conduct U.S. foreign and military policy, Trump told him: “I will get the Russians, I will get Turkey, and a couple of other countries, and they’ll all work together, and they’ll get along.”

Bannon did not ask Trump any of the many questions that statement obviously suggested. Perhaps that was for another day. The recorded consultation ended with a few now-familiar Trumpisms: “The Iranian agreement is already being violated.” Trump has money “in the biggest bank in China.” The Chinese “think we’re dumb as hell.” Addressing his candidate “Mr. Trump,” Cannon drew the conference to a close.

This year Breitbart News became frankly a continuous campaign broadcast system for Trump for President.

In the 1980s, when Trump was a national real-estate celebrity in his thirties, upon the advice of his good friend and lawyer-associate then, Roy Cohn, formerly the attorney and sidekick of Senator Joe McCarthy, Trump told reporters about an almost incredible plan he wanted to act on then.

He was in communication, he said, with the White House. During his revelatory interview he was phoned, the reporter with him thought possibly by rearrangement, by the Republican leader Senator Bob Dole. The younger Trump divulged for publication that his fond and serious ambition was to be appointed the chief U.S. negotiator to make a deal with the Soviet Union in Moscow (Russia and the USSR of course being communist at the time) to solve the nuclear proliferation problem, the biggest danger on earth.

In segments, he spelled it out. The Soviet Union and the U.S., which he called “The Big Two,” the two mighty nations with most of the world’s nuclear weapons, would confer, conspire, and agree to crush a smaller nuclear-armed nation by vicious trade pressures, which he implied would come from the United States, with results which would, if necessary, terrorize the smaller nation’s people with panic-causing emergency lacks of water and food, while the USSR would also be cowing them with Soviet “retaliation.” In describing the Soviets’ role Trump said no more than the one word.

I reported this at length in a story last July 15th on Reader Supported News. I may be mistaken, but Trump’s present plans as he suggested them in the consultation last December sound similar to and probably are descendants within him, with variants, of his passionate wish in the 1980s to himself arrange a conspiracy against lesser nuclear-armed nations between the Soviet Union and the United States, between “The Big Two.”

Concerning the online posting about the December 1st event: Bannon wrote a brief story with a few quotes from Trump, and he or someone else also posted the entire recorded consultation, linked at the end by a note about the availability of “an interview” with Trump and a small red triangle balanced on one of its points, aimed to the right. The linked recording was still online when, searching the Internet about Breitbart and Bannon last weekend, I happened upon it. However, as of November 4th a much less informative news account is there, and the recorded consultation has been reduced sharply in length and the remaining portions reorganized.

The author received the George Polk career journalism award in 2011. The founding editor of The Texas Observer, he has written biographies of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan and numerous articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The Nation, Harper's, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, and other periodicals. In Austin now he is working on a book about nuclear war. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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