Trimondi Online Magazine





In their book Hitler-Buddha-Krishna Victor and Victoria Trimondi have shown the obsession of Nazi-Intellectuals by Eastern philosophy. In the centre one could find a Holy Hindu Text, the Bhagavad Gita. Himmler did carry this booklet in his pocket during the World War Two and justified the Holocaust by arguments from the Gita. (See: Heinrich Himmler: The Nazi Hindu) In the last chapter of the Trimondi Book the authors warn against the arising of a new Warrior Ideology, which is based on Buddhist and Hindu texts and which sees as their principal enemy Islamic Jihadism, which also is based on Holy scriptures in the Koran and several Hadiths. Now the ideology of the Warrior-Caste is arrived at the White House in the person of Steve K. Bannon. Donald Trump’s chief strategist has been set to become one of the most powerful men on the planet, because he has a potent influence on the President. Bannon is almost obsessed with military history, guerilla warfare, the general art of war and nationalist foreign policy. In the centre of his obsession you can find the same text, which fascinated Heinrich Himmler: The Bhagavad Gita.


Steve Bannon, Dharma Warrior: Hindu Scriptures and the Worldview of Trump's Chief Ideologue


by Akhilesh Pillalamarri for The Diplomat


Steve Bannon’s appreciation for the Bhagavad Gita makes more sense than you might think.


The Hindu scriptures, especially the Bhagavad Gita, have fascinated many public figures in the West for the last two centuries. Aldous Huxley had the Gita in mind when he wrote Brave New World. Heinrich Himmler saw himself as a disciple of its teachings. And Robert Oppenheimer famously quoted the scripture when the first nuclear device was tested at Los Alamos: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” (Bhagavad Gita 11.32).


The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue from the mouth of god incarnate in human form as Krishna to the warrior Arjuna on a battlefield, exhorting him to remember the higher duty of establishing dharma in the world over all else. The concept of dharma and the teachings of the Gita continue to influence prominent figures in the West, including Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon, the chief strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump. This is despite the fact that Bannon has spoken of the power of Judeo-Christian norms in underpinning the capitalism that led to the greatness of the West.


According to a former friend of Bannon’s, he “used to talk a lot about dharma — he felt very strongly about dharma … one of the strongest principles throughout the Bhagavad Gita.” Dharma, a difficult term to translate from Sanskrit, can mean righteousness, but also duty. Every human must follow his or her own dharma (duty, calling) in accordance with his or her nature and social duties in order for society as a whole to be following the path of dharma (righteousness, order) and be in line with the cosmic order of things:


It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. (Bhagavad Gita 18:47)


Throughout Hindu scriptures and epics, individuals are portrayed as either fighting for and upholding dharma, both through self-actualization and actual sociopolitical or military action, or going against it. Nonetheless, as a character from the Hindu epic the Mahabharata points out, “Dharma is subtle.” It is situational, and difficult for any one individual to say what exactly their or anyone else’s dharma is exactly.


Given Bannon’s wolrdview, which sees the world, and especially the West as being in a state of moral and economic crisis resulting from the lack of mooring in traditional values (in other words, adharma, or lack of dharma or alignment with a sacred worldview), his interest in dharma is not surprising.


In the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic that the Bhagavad Gita is situated in, the great Kurukshetra War that occurs at its climax is not merely a dynastic dispute between cousins for a kingdom, but an epic battle for the ages with metaphysical connotations. In other words, it is a dharma yuddha or war for dharma. This is why the divine gets involved:


Whenever and wherever there is a decline in dharma….and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that time I descend Myself, to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium. (Bhagavad Gita 4.7-4.8).


This apocalyptic worldview is frequently found in Bannon’s thought. Ordinary conflicts are thus parts of and transcended by issues far greater than the mundane. Who is banned or who is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court is irrelevant, or not all that important, in the larger scheme of things, which is to push the world toward the war for dharma. In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas, the group of cousins who were wronged, sought to avoid war for years in order to spare the lives of millions, but were eventually convinced that they must go to war, not for themselves or their stolen kingdom, but for the stake of dharma itself.


Compare this with Bannon’s thoughts. Bannon said: “We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict…fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.” When one sees oneself as part of a cosmic moment, thoughts of popularity, approval, or right and wrong vanish, and one becomes an instrument of a higher metaphysical drama, a key theme of the Bhagavad Gita. A man of dharma goes forward, trusting in fate, and not worrying about the fruits (karmaphala) of his actions:


These warriors arrayed in lines, opposing your men, even without you, will have perished! Arise, therefore, and seize upon your glory! With your foe conquered, enjoy thriving kingship! I have destroyed your enemy already: serve as my tool, O ambidextrous archer! (Bhagavad Gita 11.32-11.33).


Bannon seems to have a worldview in accordance with some of the teachings of the Gita that see the world as a cosmic battlefield, possibly imaging himself as warrior of dharma, adapted around his idea that the defense of capitalism and Christianity should be militarized and seen in the context of a great clash of civilizations and ideas. But like dharma, the Bhagavad Gita is also more complex and subtle than merely being the blueprint for warfare waged for the establishment of dharma. It also preaches wisdom, restraint, nonviolence in many cases, and the thoughtfulness that comes from deep meditation. And it says that the wise do not see any difference between different types of beings, whether the high or the low (5.18).


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Steve Bannon’s Long Love Affair With War

Steve Bannon, the National Security Council’s newest

member, has long been obsessed with waging wars.


by Asawin Suebsaeng


Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s White House chief strategist, was already set to become one of the most powerful people on the planet—even before Trump appointed him to the National Security Council last weekend.


Those who have known Bannon for years, and before he ascended to executive power, describe a man almost obsessed with military history, guerilla warfare, and the general art of war and nationalist foreign policy.


In his Hollywood days, Bannon could easily play war, writing vast landscapes of warfare and conflict into his scripts, sometimes set in outer space.


Thanks to Donald J. Trump, Bannon now could get to do it for real.


That’s because in a presidential memorandum this past weekend, Trump gave his chief strategist a permanent seat at the National Security Council table, while military and intelligence leaders were effectively downgraded. The move to elevate Bannon, a purely political adviser, was unusual to provoke outcry from even fellow Republicans.


For instance, Bannon has very limited experience in U.S. government, and has little relevant experience for the position. Bannon did serve seven years in the Navy several decades ago, before making his name in the private sector, conservative Hollywood, and then politics.


“This is literally the most terrifying thing that’s ever happened,” a former Hollywood associate of Bannon’s (who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, describing Bannon as “vindictive”) told The Daily Beast when discussing the new national-security position.


“He constantly used military terms, used military terms to describe people who worked for him… like, ‘grunts,’” one former Breitbart staffer recalled. “He always spoke in terms of aggression. It was always on-the-attack, double down... macho stuff. Steve has an obsession with testosterone.”


It’s a habit that will likely continue into his time in the executive branch. The New York Times reported that last week’s avalanche of Trump of executive orders was primarily hatched by Bannon and his team, and doubled as an effort “at disorienting the ‘enemy.’”


“If there’s one sort of movie theme that encapsulates Steve Bannon’s philosophy on this, it’s that line from Team America: World Police: ‘You have balls – I like balls‘” Ben Shapiro, former Breitbart editor-at-large, said.


Bannon and a spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on this story. He has, however (as The Daily Beast previously reported), described himself as a “Leninist,” with regard to his goals of political insurrection.


“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too,” Bannon said at a book party in Washington, D.C., in November 2013. “I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”


Lenin isn’t the only communist military or political victor who Bannon seemed to admire, for tactics and ruthlessness, if not leftist ideology. Bannon did not write very many articles at Breitbart, but one of the pieces that bears his byline is an October 2013 obituary for the “‘Red’ Napoleon” of the Vietnam War: Gen. Nguyên Giáp, a famous commander of the Vietnam People’s Army who (like Bannon) once worked in journalism before defeating entrenched establishment powers.


Giap’s tenacity and ruthlessness became his trademarks as he fought two of the world’s most technologically advanced militaries,” Bannon wrote.


You can also find Bannon’s affection for military and strategic ruthlessness in what he reads. According to two of Bannon’s former friends from his West Coast days, two of his favorite books are Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, the hugely influential ancient Chinese text on military strategy, and the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. The latter tells the story of a holy war to establish dharma.


Julia Jones, Bannon’s longtime Hollywood writing partner and former close friend, recalls seeing him excitedly flipping through both books, and talking about them lovingly and often. She would frequently see various “books all over [Steve’s place] about battles and things,” among his clutter of possessions and interests. (Late last year, Jones—who identifies as a “Bernie Sanders liberal”—had a falling out with Bannon due to his work on the Trump presidential campaign, a role that she said absolutely “disgusted” her.)


“Steve is a strong militarist, he’s in love with war—it’s almost poetry to him,” Jones told The Daily Beast in an interview last year, well before Trump won the election and Bannon landed his new job. “He’s studied it down through the ages, from Greece, through Rome... every battle, every war… Never back down, never apologize, never show weakness… He lives in a world where it’s always high noon at the O.K. Corral.”


Jones said that Bannon “used to talk a lot about dharma—he felt very strongly about dharma... one of the strongest principles throughout the Bhagavad Gita.”


She also noted his “obsession” with the military victories and epic battles of the Roman Empire’s Marcus Aurelius and Julius Caesar. But a personal favorite of Bannon’s was the subject of the Peloponnesian War fought between Athens and Sparta.


“He talked a lot about Sparta—how Sparta defeated Athens, he loved the story,” Jones said. “The password on his [desktop] computer at his office at American Vantage Media in Santa Monica was ‘Sparta,’ in fact.”


This is the mindset of Trump’s top White House aide who just earned himself a seat at the table on the National Security Council. Regarding foreign policy and national security, Bannon has a few top priorities: He favors “aggressive military action” to defeat Islamist terror networks (action he thought was lacking during the Obama administration), and wants to build strong ties with far-right, nationalist political parties across Europe.


“He has long wanted to work with all of those parties, but that was only in promoting them with Breitbart,” a source close to Bannon told The Daily Beast in November. “Now he has the power of the White House to do it.”


Those who remain and become Bannon’s closest allies on issues of national security and foreign policy will most likely end up being whoever Bannon sees as tough and ruthless—much in the same way he sees himself and his preferred military leaders of history.


“‘Hammer’ was one of his favorite words,” a former Bannon associate (another person requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals) told The Daily Beast. “‘You’re a hammer,’ he’d say if he really liked you… if you’re ruthless.”


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Further Readings:


Heinrich Himmler: The Nazi Hindu – Interview with Victor, Victoria Trimondi


Genocide and war as a civilizing foundation sacrifice


Bookreview of “Hitler-Buddha-Krishna” by Manuel Sarkizyanz