Steve Bannon leaves the White House but his views on China will still influence U.S. politics

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      By now, anyone paying attention to what's happening in Washington, D.C., knows that Steve Bannon has been given his walking papers.

      The final straw for President Donald Trump might have been his chief strategist's impromptu interview with the progressive American Prospect magazine.

      Bannon brazenly declared that the United States is "at economic war with China". And he said that the U.S. has to be "maniacally focused on that".

      "If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll never be able to recover,” Bannon told the publication.

      Bannon is also reportedly a strong believer in a theory that cataclysmic events occur every 80 to 100 years.

      America's War of Independence was in 1776. The next major conflict, the U.S. Civil War, started 85 years later.

      While the United States also fought a war against Spain and joined the First World War late in the game, its next massive combat operations occurred in the Second World War.

      For America, that started in 1941 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii—exactly 80 years after the U.S. Civil War got underway.

      According to this timetable, the United States is due for another monumental war around 2020, which coincides with the next U.S. presidential election.

      Bannon has been influenced by a book called The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny, by William Strauss and Neil Howe.

      The Fourth Turning focuses an enormous amount of attention on different generations, arguing that each looks at the world in profoundly different ways.

      These 80-year periods are likened to four seasons that more or less match the lifespan of a human being. That's because each generation comes of age in their early 20s, with each representing one season.

      In this respect, the Fourth Turning has things in common Elliott Wave Theory, which postulates that the stock market moves in somewhat predictable and repetitive cycles over 60- to 80-year periods.

      The Elliott Wave Theory, in turn, is linked to the theories of Russian mathematician Nicolai Kondratieff, who noticed 50-year cycles of rising and falling commodity prices in Europe. Many cited his work to explain the stock market crashes of 1929 and a major correction in 1987.

      Kondratieff died in a Soviet labour camp in 1938.

      So what does all this have to do with Bannon?

      Now that he's no longer working for Trump, he'll possibly try to hitch his wagon to another politician who will embrace his dystopian outlook—or he'll work from the outside to build a movement that sees China as America's prime enemy.

      In these efforts, he could draw as much support from the left as he might from the right.

      A new axis in American politics isn't out of the question. This concept was explored by political economist Robert Reich in his 2015 book Saving Capitalism.

      "It is likely that in coming years, the major fault line in American politics will shift from Democrat versus Republican to anti-establishment versus establishment—that is, to the middle class, working class, and poor who see the game as rigged versus the executives of large corporations, the inhabitants of Wall Street, and the billionaires who do the rigging," Reich wrote.

      Should Trump's popularity continue to decline, he's likely to face a battle within his own party for the 2020 presidential nomination.

      The most likely challenger is Texas senator Ted Cruz, who put up the strongest fight in 2016, though the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, might also emerge.

      At the age of 46, there's still lots of time for Texas Republican Ted Cruz to plan another run for the U.S. presidency.

      Like Bannon, Cruz has demonstrated hostility to China in the past. Cruz even had a private meeting with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen when she travelled through Houston in January.

      Cruz also wants to rename the address of the Chinese embassy in Washington to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza to honour of the recently deceased Nobel Peace Prize winner jailed by the Chinese government.

      Cruz and Bannon have had a rocky relationship in the past. Breitbart News, which Bannon headed, shredded the Texas senator.

      But Breitbart was funded by the billionaire Mercer family, which was a huge campaign backer of Cruz at one point.

      There's enough common ground there that Bannon and the coldly clinical Cruz would become friends of convenience in the future.

      And that could create a great deal more global havoc—including war with China—than anything Trump has been able to accomplish to date.

      So while antiracists may be cheering the ouster of Trump's former Svengali, there's no reason to believe that we've seen the last of him.