Steve Bannon warned of a coming wave of terrorist attacks suffered by the West months before the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris marked the start of that wave.
In a wide-ranging discussion in the Vatican in 2014, Bannon presciently discussed the rise of what he called the global tea party movement, the re-assertion of working and middle class rights against those of the “party of Davos” – the global elite, as well as the concurrent rise of Islamic jihadism.
Arguing that capitalism – the driver of western wealth – has become detached from its Judeo-Christian roots, Bannon warned that the one of the many disastrous outcomes of that trend will be the rise of Islamic jihad in the west.
“If you look at the sophistication of [how Islamic state have] taken the tools of capitalism; if you look at what they’ve done with Twitter and Facebook and modern ways to fundraise, and to use crowdsourcing to fund, besides all the access to weapons […]”, Bannon said.
“They have a Twitter account up today, ISIS does, about turning the United States into a “river of blood” if it comes in and tries to defend the city of Baghdad. And trust me, that is going to come to Europe. That is going to come to Central Europe, it’s going to come to Western Europe, it’s going to come to the United Kingdom. And so I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism, and on top of that we’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism.”
The remarks were made in summer 2014 when Islamic State was still largely unheard of. Six months later, in January 2015, a spree of western jihadist attacks began with the assault on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. It was followed in November of that year by the Paris attack which claimed the lives of 130 people, the Brussels bombings of March 2016 resulting in 32 deaths, and the attack on Nice in June 2016 which killed 86, among others.
On Russia, Bannon warned that Putin is “very, very, very intelligent”, and playing a clever game in appealing to social conservatives in the West with “his message about more traditional values.
“I think it’s something that we have to be very much on guard of. Because at the end of the day, I think that Putin and his cronies are really a kleptocracy, that are really an imperialist power that want to expand.”
However, he said that, while not wanting to marginalise the Russian threat, when “you’re facing a potential new caliphate that is very aggressive […] we have to deal with first things first.”
The remarks, made to an audience in the Vatican via Skype, were part of a 50-minute Q&A during a conference focused on poverty hosted by the Human Dignity Institute, attended and recorded by BuzzFeed News. The institute was founded to promote Christian values in European politics.