Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and current executive chair of Breitbart News, is not fond of China.
It’s one of the strongest recurring motifs in his xenophobic, often rambling rhetoric. He believes the United States and China are engaged in an existential struggle to build and maintain their manufacturing sectors, going as far as to predict an armed conflict between the United States and China over the South China Sea in the coming decade.
There is certainly truth to the idea that the U.S. and China will compete for economic hegemony in the coming century, but Bannon’s apocalyptic, small-minded analysis offers no legitimate path forward and serves no other purpose than to spread fear and sow discord between the two countries. His hatred for the Chinese is well-documented and publicized.
It should come as little surprise then, that the avowed xenophobe received a less than warm welcome when he arrived in Hong Kong, China to give a speech at an investor conference. Bannon was greeted with protestors, with some holding signs bashing the alt-right, and others saying “Nazis are not welcome here,” reports Reuters. “No Bannon, no racism,” some chanted.
One protestor wore a Trump mask, carrying a chicken-shaped sign with “toxic nationalist” written on it, a reference to the dangerous, protectionist “America First” policies Trump has pursued in order to rile up his provincial, bigoted base. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a transparent move to pander to voters when all it really accomplished was to cede economic influence in the Pacific Rim to China. He cares far more about appearances than facts.
While Bannon’s speech was supposed to be open to the press originally, the decision was later reversed without explanation.
The fact that Bannon is willing to give speeches in China, despite all of his anti-China comments, shows what a hollow hypocrite he really is. He cares about money and influence and simply employed hateful ideologies on the campaign trail as a cheap means of exploiting American voters. It’s ironic that a man who calls himself a nationalist seems to, in actuality, care very little about this country.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.