Buried amid the outcry over the white-nationalist beliefs of Steve Bannon, President-elect Donald Trump's selection for chief strategist, is the scale of his global ambitions as sources close to the Brietbart News chairman predict he will use his influence to craft a foreign policy that includes "aggressive military action" and bolstering international far-right leaders, beginning with France's Marine Le Pen.
Speaking with sources close to Bannon, The Hill reported Tuesday that he is expected to "be an influential adviser to Trump in the international arena."
"Bannon admires right-wing nationalists and hard-line illegal immigration opponents in Europe and elsewhere," The Hill reports. "He wants to work more closely with them and sees them as part of a worldwide movement to overthrow the 'globalists,' according to multiple sources familiar with his thinking."
In fact, Breitbart is planning to open offices in France and Germany specifically in preparation for upcoming elections in those countries, Breitbart editor Andrew Marlow told the New York Times.
A source "familiar with the website's internal dynamics" told The Hill that the new Paris bureau, "will campaign aggressively" on behalf of Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front party.
Meanwhile, Bannon's strong opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel will be a source of inspiration for the German branch. According to a "source familiar with Breitbart's internal dynamics," Breitbart Berlin will focus "on the Islamic refugee crisis that Merkel created."
Former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro minced no words Monday when he declared: "Bannon has goals."
One of those goals, he wrote, is "maximization of personal power," which in large part will be used to "target enemies."
"But more importantly," Shapiro said, "Bannon's interested in turning the Republican Party into a far-right European party."
Citing the Daily Beast report that Bannon has reached out to Le Pen to form a "global ultra-right coalition," Shapiro notes that "[o]ver the weekend Le Pen met with Nigel Farage of the U.K. Independent Party. And Trump met with Farage shortly after being elected."
"Bannon has always wanted to burn down the GOP. That's still his goal. He wants it replaced with an American National Front party in fact if not in name," Shapiro wrote.
Bannon is also expected to focus "on an America-first foreign policy, taking care of America's interests in whatever negotiation the country is engaged in," one source told The Hill, which added:
The former Breitbart chairman has little patience for the idea of U.S. "nation-building" overseas. He loathes the foreign-policy legacy of President George W. Bush and took pleasure in defeating the traditional wing of the party this cycle. But he's no isolationist. He favors aggressive military action when required.
Bannon is close to retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and John Bolton, Bush's ambassador to the United Nations. He bonded with Flynn over their mutual anger with what they saw as the Obama administration's inadequate response to radical Islamic terrorism, one source said.
Meanwhile, Bannon's appointment has roiled everyone from national civil rights groups, progressive Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and the New York Times editorial board, to mainstream conservatives—including Glenn Beck.
"One of the most dangerous trends in America today is the blurring of lines between fact and fiction, between propaganda and news. Bannon has stood at the vanguard of that pernicious trend and he found his vehicle in Donald Trump," Frida Ghitis, world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald, wrote Monday.
"We can expect that the White House itself will become the source of disinformation, of lies and distortion, backed by propaganda sites such as Breitbart and others posing as news organizations, trying to shape the narrative of what Americans receive as news," Ghitis continued, "trying to create a new reality to suit their political ends."