Stephen Bannon, he’s been called the ‘President of the United States,‘ ‘Trump’s puppeteer,‘ a ‘Machiavellian egotistical white supremacist.‘ But is he? The accusations have been coming at such a relentless pace and from so many people from both political parties that I don’t think the average person has asked why? And that includes myself, and I like to think I’m quite good at critical thought most of the time.
Since his appointment to the United States National Security Council, in what is being called an ‘unprecedented’ move, the vast majority of the main stream media and the entirety of the hard-left media, have been working overtime to present the view that Bannon is now acting president and that Trump is simply a puppet. They’ve also been pushing the view that Bannon is a nutty fool, and that Trump keeps him around because fools find each other great company.
Now considering the seriousness of this claim, I decided to research Bannon and draw my own conclusion. I’m going to look at the facts of the case with an unfeeling eye. I’m going to do my best to set aside everything I’ve heard and just look at Bannon for what he presents himself to be, be it willingly or not.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1953 on the 27th of November to two Democratic parents who were both pro-Kennedy and pro-Union it’s easy to imagine his early childhood, but there is much about it we don’t know. We can make educated guesses on it though. The fact that it was Bannon himself who stated “I come from a blue-collar, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats,” hints that his parents weren’t quiet about their political views and perhaps tried to push them unto Bannon himself.
In 1976 he graduated Virginia Tech with a Batchelor Degree in Urban Planning. Immediately following his graduation Bannon signed up for the U.S. Navy where he served for seven years until 1983. Bannon started out as an auxiliary officer in the ships engineering, he rose up the ranks to become ship navigator and personnel officer and was a qualified Surface Warfare Officer. After three years at sea he was hand-picked to work for the Chief of Naval Operations’ executive board in the Pentagon, a collection of senior naval officers who provided guidance and analysis to the Navy’s top officer. During his four years at the Pentagon he spent his nights studying at Georgetown University where he got a master’s degree in National Security Studies from the School of Foreign Service.
(The School of Foreign Service predates the U.S. Foreign Service by six years, it is considered a world leading international relations school and spawns many diplomats.)
So what can we gather from Bannon’s first three decades. We can see that he’s intelligent, as shown by his ascension through the ranks by the will of senior naval authority. It’s self-evident that he is determined to succeed and possesses a drive that makes it possible, we see this from his four years in the Pentagon, working day and night to do both his job and to earn his qualification.
We can also see that Bannon is over halfway to being qualified for a position on the National Security Council by the time he is thirty, both by his four years as an assistant to the CNO and his master’s degree. Indeed his qualifications don’t stray far from previous council members, for instance Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough has the same degree but instead of going down the military service route he went down the Civil service route.
Yet we have been unable to discern much about his actual views during this time. It’s possible that his joining the navy was patriotic, but it’s also equally pragmatic. It’s still too early in Bannon’s life to get a proper idea about who he is.
In the next part I’ll examine Bannon during his time as an Investment Banker, the relationship with his second wife, and his brief period as the head of an environmental science project.