(National Sentinel) Explosive: Michael Wolff’s explosive new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” continues to cause a stir in advance of its release date next week.
After reports citing an “Author’s note” contained in the book quoted Wolff as saying he can’t be certain everything he writes and everyone he quotes is accurate, a portion of the tome quoting Steve Bannon, the controversial former chief political strategist for President Donald J. Trump, may wind up having major geopolitical implications.
As reported by Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit, Wolff quotes Bannon as claiming that China is the United States’ biggest strategic threat, and that he pushed for an “all-encompassing” war with the Asian giant while still at the White House.
The South China Morning Post noted:
An “all-encompassing” war with China was one of the earliest objectives of President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, according to Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, a controversial, behind-the-scenes-account of the US leader’s first year in office.
“The real enemy, said an on-point Bannon, careful not to defend Trump too much or to diss him at all, was China,” author Michael Wolff wrote what he claims is an account of a strategy session two weeks ahead of Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
“China was the first front in a new cold war,” Wolff wrote, allegedly summarising Bannon’s message to former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes at the meeting.
“China is where Nazi Germany was in 1929 to 1930,” Wolff quoted Bannon as saying. “The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most rational people in the world until they’re not. And they’re gonna flip like Germany in the ‘thirties. You’re going to have a hyper-nationalist state, and once that happens, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”
“To Bannon, if not to Trump, the linchpin of Trumpism was China,” Wolff wrote. “The story of the next generation, he believed, had been written, and it was about war with China.”
Critics of Wolff point to his author’s note, however, in their questioning of whether those claims are even accurate.
Wolff said he was not certain that all the allegations, accusations and statements in the book were true, casting significant doubt on all of its contents, critics charged on Friday.
He said several of his sources were flatly lying to him, while others said things that were contradictory in nature.
Many of those were nonetheless included in his book. Wolff said in his author’s note that he and the publisher are including them, “allowing the reader to judge” whether the sources’ claims are true.
In other instances, Wolff said he used his instincts as a journalist to relay “a version of events I believe to be true.”
“Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book,” he wrote.
“Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in the accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true,” he continued.
The book’s claims come at a crucial juncture in U.S.-China relations. Trump, throughout his campaign and at times since, has been critical of the massive trade imbalance between the U.S. and China.
Following his first state visit to China in November, where he was grandly feted by President Xi Jinping, Trump hailed a series of business deals that were made during his visit, but nevertheless hinted at a trade battle ahead.
The president hinted at coming tensions on those fronts on Thursday, saying he hoped to address “the chronic imbalance in our relationship as it pertains to trade,” The New York Times reported.
“This includes addressing China’s market access restrictions and technology transfer requirements,” he said, “which prevent American companies from being able to fairly compete within China.”
Wolff’s claims also come as China has begun fortifying man-made islands in the South China Sea, nearly all of which Beijing claims as its own.
Trump earlier this year approved a Pentagon plan that required regular challenges by the U.S. Navy to Beijing’s outsized claims in the region.
Still, while it may be unclear whether Wolff has accurately quoted Bannon, other geopolitical observers nonetheless are seeing similar developments.
“Recent militant imagery of General Secretary Xi [Jinping] and the [People’s Liberation Army] are beginning to look more like post-1933 Nazi Germany, and the media coverage is approximating North Korea’s cult of personality,” Douglas Paal, vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the South China Morning Post in an interview. “So in this sense, Bannon may be reflecting broader perceptions.”
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