Bye Bye Bannon, Washington's second most powerful man

Steve Bannon profile shot in darkly lit image Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Chief strategist Steve Bannon has become the latest casualty of the Trump White House

Is Steve Bannon the second most powerful man in the world? The question was posed by Time magazine back in February, when it placed the then White House chief strategist on its coveted cover.

Bannon was said to be Donald Trump's alter ago, a Svengali-like figure whose fingerprints were everywhere: from the fiercely nationalistic "American carnage" inaugural address to the decision to leave the Paris Climate Change Agreement, from the botched travel ban to the White House onslaught against the "fake media" - who Bannon memorably labelled "the opposition party."

His crumpled appearance was a form of power dressing. He was said to be the only West Wing adviser allowed into the Oval Office without a suit and tie. He was also the fiercest proponent of the "Let Trump be Trump" doctrine, an unbending approach which the chief campaign strategist believed had won the billionaire the White House.

The Great Manipulator

The cover of Time magazine showed Bannon at the height of his powers, but it may also have set in motion his eventual downfall. The magazine labelled him "The Great Manipulator", a description that reportedly "annoyed" Donald Trump - a president not used to sharing the limelight and unaccustomed to being cast as a puppet.

In the court of Donald Trump, there would be no powers behind the throne.

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The end of the Anglo-American order?

US President Donald Trump (R) reacts as he sits next to Britain"s Prime Minister Theresa May (C) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) during a working dinner meeting at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, 25 May 2017 Image copyright AFP

There has always been a shared conceit at the heart of the special relationship between the United States and United Kingdom that global leadership is best expressed and exerted in English.

More boastful than the Brits, successive US presidents have trumpeted the notion of American exceptionalism.

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Why the UK election isn't exciting Americans

Britain"s Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive to watch an Italian flying squadron during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 Image copyright Getty Images

When it comes to the UK election, Americans have hardly been grabbing the popcorn. Box office it is not. And up against the summer blockbuster of the Trump presidency it looks more like a village hall production - the vicar's daughter playing the lead.

Modern-day movie-goers like franchises, with characters and plotlines that are instantly recognisable; with over-arching themes that comport with a broader narrative. The French presidential election fitted that bill, with Marine Le Pen cast as the female Trump, the face of populist fury.

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Comey sacking doesn't rise to Watergate levels

Nixon and trump in White House Image copyright BBC/Reuters

The New York Times called for the president to leave office immediately, describing it as "the last great service" he could perform for the country.

The Washington Post demanded impeachment, followed by a Senate trial. Time magazine, deeming it necessary to publish its first-ever editorial, thundered: "The president should resign."

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Will Republicans learn the limits of oppositional politics?

US Speaker of the House Republican Paul Ryan (R) gestures during a news conference beside House Majority Leader Republican Kevin McCarthy (L), following a Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 28 March 2017 Image copyright EPA

"All politics is local," was the famed dictum of the legendary House Speaker Tip O'Neill.

O'Neill hailed from an age when lawmakers had a more intimate relationship with the voters who sent them to Washington and were also more willing to cut deals with their partisan adversaries.

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Drip of Russia revelations puts damper on Trump's 'home run'

trump and putin nesting dolls Image copyright Getty Images

A week that began with a reset ended with Russia, the scandal that refuses to go away.

On Tuesday night, when Donald Trump delivered his first speech before a joint session of Congress, there was a new tone, in marked contrast to the shrillness of his American carnage inaugural, and even new tailoring, a more sleekly fitted suit.

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Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism?

Trump gives address to Congress Image copyright Getty Images

When a German Chancellor feels the need to explain the refugee convention to an American president, the speaker of British House of Commons says the leader of its closest ally is not welcome to address parliament, China positions itself as the grown-up in the room by chiding him for his blunt Twitter diplomacy and the botched travel ban is denounced not just by US adversaries, such as Iran, but allies, such as France and Canada, is it not time to sound the death-knell of American exceptionalism?

That is, the credo pushed by successive presidents that the United States is a beacon of democracy, an exemplar of human rights, an indispensable country imbued with special values and beliefs that grants it the moral authority and national self-belief to influence and admonish other countries, friend and foe alike.

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Barack Obama legacy: Did he improve US race relations?

: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina Image copyright Getty Images

Barack Obama sealed his racial legacy the moment he sealed victory in the 2008 election - a black man would occupy a White House built by slaves, a history-defying as well as history-making achievement.

In 1961, the year of Obama's birth, there existed in the American South a system of racial apartheid that separated the races from the cradle to the grave.

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New York: The city where Donald Trump hates being hated

Police officer in New York City Image copyright Reuters

After a year of being greeted by fawning crowds in the American heartland, Donald Trump appears to be struggling with the hostility that now surrounds him in New York City.

Outside Trump Tower, you don't see many people wearing Make America Great Again baseball caps or hear them chanting "build a wall!"

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Was the summer of liberalism really the dawn of Trump?

Confederate flag holder with Trump sign

The United States of America. There have been times over these past seven days, and this past year, when the very name of this country has seemed at odds with its divergent mood.

Increasingly the USA seems oxymoronic, a geographic expression rather than a term to describe a cohesive republic, "one Nation under God, indivisible."

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