American Greatness Publisher Chris Buskirk had former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka on the radio to discuss current events. It’s a pretty great interview, if you really want to know . . .
Chris Buskirk: Hi, I’m Chris Buskirk. He is Seth Leibsohn. This is the Seth and Chris Show. We’re going to get right to it, because as promised, we are joined by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, late of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, was a deputy assistant to the President of the United States, resigned on Friday, and is now a private citizen, but still one of the leading voices for what we call the greatness agenda. Welcome to the show, Seb. How are you?
Sebastian Gorka: I am very, very well. Thank you for having me.
Buskirk: It’s always a pleasure. There’s going to be two questions probably everybody who’s listening to this show want to know. I’m going to ask them. You probably heard them already, but is the Greatness Agenda dead? Where does it stand?
Gorka: Not in the slightest, not in the slightest. As I’ve told everybody, the President is a force of nature. He’s unstoppable. If I had half the energy he has as a man in his seventies when I’m that old, I would be most, most satisfied. The America agenda is not just about the people around the President and the White House. The America agenda is about all the people that voted for this total and utter outsider on November the 8th.
As I told people, Steve Bannon, myself, there are many more things we can do. We have a whole cornucopia of tools that we can use outside of the Administration as private citizens, and we are going to support the “Make America great again” agenda to its fullest.
Buskirk: Dr. Gorka, what is the biggest impediment right now to implementing the agenda that Donald Trump not only ran on and won, but really energized an entirely new movement in this country. How do we get that implemented? What’s your take?
Gorka: Can I give you, two? I experienced two of them in the last eight months. Number one is a GOP Republican establishment that, at least in the leadership and perhaps even broader, thinks that November the 8th was to their merit, that was a GOP victory when it was not, when it was the anti-establishment victory, the victory of a total outsider, New York real estate mogul. Unless the GOP understands how politics changed irrevocably at the end of last year, that remains an obstacle, but I think they’re starting to understand it.
Secondly, the biggest take-home for me after working in the White House, is after about the tenth meeting on serious policy issues across the inter-agency, in the NSC, on big matters of national security import, when I realized in every meeting you can sit there for an hour, an hour-and-a-half, and not one participant from across the government, the bureaucrats, ever mentioned the name of the President or his mission statement or his objectives.
I don’t like the phrase “the Deep State” but the permanent state, the bureaucratic state, need to understand they are not there to serve their own whim and their own vision. They are there to execute the vision of the individual chosen by the American people. It’s the permanent bureaucracy and a lackadaisical GOP, those are the biggest obstacles I’m after.
Buskirk: Seb, you wrote a book called Counter-Jihad.
Gorka: Defeating Jihad.
Buskirk: Defeating Jihad, sorry. Yeah, but I mean, you’re a national security person, that’s your training, that’s your expertise, I mean, you know that one of the issues in dealing with a foreign power, let’s say Vietnam or even Afghanistan, there is a sense in which the people resident there, the Viet Cong in Vietnam, the Taliban in Afghanistan, they think, “Well, we can just wait you out. We know you’re going to go home.”
I am going to do something that maybe will be quotable. I’m going to analogize the permanent state to the Viet Cong. They’re permanent. They’re always there, and they think they can wait out Donald Trump until he just leaves. His term’s going to end. Theirs never ends. What do you think of that analogy?
Gorka: Yeah, it’s fascinating. I think there’s a story, apocryphal or not, from one of the first meetings of the NSC under President Reagan where the President came in, talked about what we’re going to do, “We’re goin to defeat the Soviet Union, rebuild the economy, and make Americans proud of themselves.” Then after the principals left the room, the GF16 said, “Yeah, we’re not going to do any of that. I was here before these guys arrived and I’m going to be here after they leave.”
Yeah, there is that arrogance of people picking up a taxpayer-funded pay check, that they arrogate to themselves the decisions that really belong in the hands of those who represent the will of the people, so yeah, I think the analogy is an interesting one. Look, one of the things you have to love about the President is he is a disruptive force, and he’s a disruptive force for the better. I think that the bureaucratic Viet Cong doesn’t know what’s going to hit them.
Buskirk: Do you think that President Trump and the people who are very close to him, when they came into the White House, you were one of them in January, do you think that people understood the depth of the antipathy and opposition, what would be arrayed against the President and his agenda?
Gorka: I think not all of them, and not the depth of it. I think what people failed to realize on the outside, and this is why I want to reassure our supporters why this is all [inaudible 00:06:00], my leaving the building is a natural tactical decision, is what happened last year on November the 8th was an insurgency. A scrappy band of wolverines from Red Bull, just nullified the establishment.
As a result, come January the 20th, it was a hostile takeover, a band of merry men, a few dozen men and women, came into the building, which has several million employees if you add the armed forces into it, we’re talking about a bureaucracy that has millions of employees with a few dozen true [mahga 00:06:36] believers at the top, but we will win because the President is a force of nature. He is a steam locomotive that will not slow down, but we are in it for the long game, Chris.
Buskirk: Yeah, we didn’t get where we are overnight, and it’s going to take a long time to turn it around. I mean, the Left was very conscious for a century in the way that they overtook and finally monopolized positions of power and the high places and the culture, whether it be in government, in the academy, in culture, those types of things. You can’t do that in eight months, you can’t undo that in eight months, you can’t undo that necessarily even in one presidential term, but you can take big strides in that direction.
What would you say to people who support the President, who support the MAGA agenda, but maybe are impatient, who say, “I expected more to have happened by now,” what would you say to that person?
Gorka: I’d say exactly what you just said. If you read Andrew Breitbart’s book, if you study the tactics of Saul Alinsky, you understand that the process that this nation has been victim to, has been at least in the works for 40, 50, if not 60 years, so this is a massive task that we have ahead of us. Think about the fact that after eight years, eight years of incredibly divisive politics from the White House, eight years in which they tried to socially engineer this nation, they lost.
They lost. They lost. Hilary Clinton did not win, so our Republic is incredibly robust, incredibly resilient. We had two wheels over the edge of the cliff, but the Trump agenda brought it back, so patient. Remember, it pays a great deal to study the Asian strategists. Read Sun Tzu. Read the people that approach war in a way that is indirect.
You choose your battles. You flow like water. You choose the indirect approach. Right now we need to learn from the people who understand the long game, like Asian strategists such as Sun Tzu, and have faith that we will win, but the results will take a little bit longer than eight months.
Buskirk: Seb, when you went into the White House, Donald Trump was maybe Henry V, “We few, we happy few,” but some of those few have departed now. How many are left?
Gorka: It’s funny you should ask that. [inaudible 00:09:13] at the White House called me yesterday as I was heading back to DC, and he was having to think about what does he do now, who does he ally himself with, what are his plans. We took stock and at the senior level we came up with five names, five names inside the building who feed into policy and who’re really part of that original macro agenda.
That does not mean that there aren’t dozens, scores, and potentially more of American patriots that are in the building, but not people who are part of that scrappy band of happy warriors that really embodied the MAGA force in Trump Towers. It’s a handful of people, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that they’re outside as well.
Buskirk: Are you concerned at all, we’re going to go to a break, so this one will have to be a quick answer, but are you concerned at all that the President will not have enough allies to execute upon his ideas and his agenda?
Gorka: No, because he got in touch with me on Saturday, and he said he is sticking to the agenda. He wants me to help him on the outside. I messaged back to him that that is what I’m going to do. He’ll realize, when he needs people, he’ll reach out to us.
Buskirk: Very good. Seb, we’re going to go to a quick break and then we’ll be right back. Want to talk about something that you have discussed and written about, which is China. We’ll be right back with Dr. Sebastian Gorka. I’m Chris, that’s Seth. Back in a minute … Hi, I’m Chris Buskirk, he is Seth Leibsohn. Welcome back to the Seth and Chris Show. We’re spending another segment with Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
Seb, question for you. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask, and I feel comfortable asking, since your resignation letter is at least partially online. What made you leave?
Gorka: Actually the whole letter is online now, Breitbart. What made me leave is, I was [inaudible 00:11:13] appointed [inaudible 00:11:14] after the President but my direct report was Steve Bannon. He was my boss. He left the building two weeks ago. I realized that the input that I could have into policy was being lessened progressively and eventually it was the Afghan speech that was written for the President last week that was the final catalyst.
When you have a much-heralded speech about our commitment to the longest war America has had since 1776, not mention the two words most important to national security during the campaign, i.e. radical Islam and radical Islamic terrorism, then you know that the best you can do is not inside the belly of the beast but on the outside.
I put that in my letter, that the fact is, we came in there not to do press junkets or TV hits. I came in there to have an impact in the national security arena, and those options have decreased. Now I can do more from the outside.
Buskirk: Barack Obama was criticized relentlessly and I think rightly, for never uttering those two words, radical Islam, or Islamic terrorism, or any permutation of that phrase, and now we have seen that either it was never in the Afghanistan speech, or it was struck at some point. That tells me that it wasn’t just Obama. There’s a deep reticence to think about the challenges we face from radical Islam at all levels within the national security apparatus.
Gorka: Let’s not just make this about Islam or jihadis. It’s a larger phenomenon. It’s political correctness run amok. I remember two years ago I was asked to run an exercise for 06s, the colonels working in the Pentagon as strategists. I asked them as a group to break up into teams and then decide for themselves, I asked them, “What is the primary national security threat to America?” and then to work out a strategy and then present it to their peers.
When they stood up three days later to present their plan, half of the teams, and these are professionals, teams of professional military individuals. Half of the teams said, under the Obama administration, “The primary national security threat to America is climate change.” That is a product of censorship, of group think, of political correctness.
It’s not just about understanding the threat from jihadist Islamic terrorism, it’s about understanding reality, understanding truth. One of the things we postmodern individuals deny is objective truth. The American voters spoke very loudly on November the 8th and they said, “Something’s wrong. I may not know the difference between Sunni and Shia, but something’s wrong in the swamp,” and that’s why we have Donald Trump as President.
Buskirk: I want to ask you a big question about American geo-strategy going forward. Take your time in answering it, but how would you compare the threats posed to the United States over the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years posed by radical Islamism or Islamic supremacism on the one hand, and by China on the other?
Gorka: Great question. This was the meat of our work inside the building with Steve. Radical Islamic terrorism is the five-meter target. It will be dealt with, as long as we have brave Muslims like President Sisi of Egypt, King Abdullah the Second of Jordan, we have partners who will help us crush this vile, evil ideology. It will be dealt with. Isis will be stacked like cordwood and we will deal with all the threats to America and to our friends. It’s not a long-term problem.
The real threat to the long-term safety and prosperity of our great nation, is the rise of a China that is hegemonic in intent, and that has a global plan. It’s called One Belt, One Road. I encourage all your listeners, Google the phrase One Belt, One Road. China will not go to war with us directly. They’re far too intelligent for that. They are already, Chris, they are at war with us right now, economically in terms of politics, influence, intimidation, subversion, the theft of our intellectual property, and China must be understood as the preeminent long-term threat to the prosperity of all Americans.
Buskirk: How would you characterize that threat? Is it that the economic predominance at some point in the future of China would serve to undermine the basis of American power and ultimately of American security and prosperity?
Gorka: If you read the true experts on China, such as Michael Pillsbury, if you listen to real strategists such as Edward Slack, China is a millennia-old civilization, and the Chinese elite looks at the last 100 years as the anomaly. They look at their loss of power as the unusual part in their thousands of years of history.
They look through the fact that the West humiliated them in their opinion, and made them a small, embarrassed power in the 20th century, but their rightful place is to be the shaper of the world, to be a massive influence in all areas, whether it is military, whether it is economic, whether it is political. That is their belief. That is what One Belt, One Road means, and that can only occur to the detriment of everything we hold dear and to the preeminence of liberty, freedom, and the American way of life. The bottom line is, Chris, they have a plan, and we do not have a plan to respond to their hegemonic intent.
Buskirk: I’ve heard some China people say that, they use this phrase, they’ve said that “China will get old before it gets rich,” and that they may have peaked demographically. What do you make of that?
Gorka: Yeah, I’ve heard that cliché and that’s what we called active [mezheh 00:17:50] That’s the influence of [inaudible 00:17:54] “This is a great people,” such as Peter Navarro, who is still inside the building, still inside the White House. They’ll explain to you how that is such a fallacious thing, but one thing that tells you everything you need to know, don’t measure GDP per GDP.
Measure a purchasing parity to GDP and if you do that, you get a very, very disturbing picture of how the Chinese economy is actually already larger than ours if you use purchasing power parity to measure the size of that GDP. That’s the wake-up call for America. That’s the Sputnik moment. We had a physical wake-up call with the launch of Sputnik. Now we have a need for an economic Sputnik moment where we realize China is on the march, not with tanks, not with aircraft carriers, but with economic and political growth, and they must be understood to be a hegemonic power.
Buskirk: Seb, we’ve got about 20 seconds. If you can just say, once we understand that, is there a strategy? What is the strategy? I would argue that technological innovation has to be at the front of it. What do you think?
Gorka: That’s it, the trigger. Look, it’s like the space race. We need that drive where we are the innovators again, where we don’t allow others to completely control rare-earth minerals, to steal our intellectual property. You are totally right. Technology and making us again the leaders in technology is the way out of this trap.
Buskirk: Dr. Sebastian Gorka, thanks so much for joining us. I know you’ve had a busy day. Thank you very much. We’ll have you again real soon.
Gorka: I’d be delighted. Thank you, Chris.