PRESIDENT George W Bush chose his words carefully in 2002 when he deployed the phrase "Axis of Evil" to describe the rogue states of North Korea, Iran and Iraq. The use of such apocalyptic language was always going to play well with that significant portion of the American public who regard the Book of Revelation as the basis of all US foreign policy. Almost 15 years later another president seems to have wrapped the entrails of what can loosely be described as a foreign policy around another vision of the apocalypse. This vision belongs exclusively to Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon who seemed to combine his role with a lucrative sideline as a travelling prophet.

Bannon seemed to pop up regularly at events where the gathered faithful favoured a supernatural and biblical solution to the world’s problems. There was always an unspoken acknowledgment, an assumption if you like, that America was never the author or the instigator of anything wicked in the world. He was even invited to the Vatican in 2012 to expound on his theories which seemed to spring from a 1950s bubblegum guide for evangelical Christians. I suspect that Mr Bannon would not now be made as welcome in the Vatican under the current Pope who has railed persistently against the evils of capitalism and the threats posed by climate change.

Bannon’s influence was at work in President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Unlike the Pope, Bannon believes that capitalism, especially the form practised in the US, is at the top of the natural order of things. This capitalism has a sacred aspect to it, according to Bannon, who asserts that it is rooted in a mystical Judeo-Christian provenance. In some of America’s banjo franchises this has been described as "good ol’ Judeo-Christianity". It’s the same little-known tributary of Christianity that was used to justify lynching black people.

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Bannon’s apocalyptic worldview can be summed up thus: capitalism is God’s favoured instrument of social and economic existence; greedy young American millionaires gave capitalism a bad name thus ruining it for everyone; this led to ideas about socialism; socialism is the Devil’s Work; so let’s get back to a capitalism of the type that doesn’t make it too obvious that the masses are getting shafted. And, er, God Bless America.

The Herald’s sister paper, the Sunday Herald, revealed last weekend that Mr Bannon had visited Scotland recently as a guest of Sir Angus Grossart, grand master of the Edinburgh establishment and founder of the lobbying firm Charlotte Street Partners. Just what did the leading Trumpette say to his Gleneagles guests? Perhaps he told his guests it had been revealed to him in an apocalyptic vision that ancient Caledonia was actually the 13th tribe of Israel.

The problem with many of these biblical snake oil salesmen of the American Out of Sight Right is that they often overlook Jesus’ abjuring of the mob who had gathered to stone Mary Magdalene to death: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. I don’t know if President Bush’s axis of evil remains extant but if it does then perhaps the rest of the world might now conclude that the US, under the careful tutelage of its pantomime President, has now become its fourth member.

President Bush conferred apocalyptic evil status on North Korea, Iran and Iraq principally because their mission to acquire nuclear weapons allied with their all-round beastliness, godlessness and incorrigibility rendered them a threat to world peace. Under President Trump the US now fits very easily into this wretched crew of the world’s most damned countries. For decades, sensitive international diplomacy has managed to persuade North Korea to keep its weapons for show.

I’ve always thought a simple solution might lie in getting FIFA to send Kim Jong-un a letter confirming that after due consideration it now concurs with the official historical narrative of this wee democratic republic that North Korea did in fact win the World Cup in 1966. Perhaps we could also throw them a nice Olympic Games in the near future; after all, it’s not as if this five-ringed circus doesn’t have previous in mollifying and massaging dodgy regimes.

Mollifying and massaging, however, don’t figure in President Trump’s lexicon. Instead he’d rather pursue the "bomb them to kingdom come" approach favoured by assorted five-star generals during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The problem with this, though, is you must hope that you get all of theirs in your first strike lest there may be one left to take out most of your eastern seaboard.

The President seems also to have deployed the spirit of this strategy in his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It didn’t seem to matter to him that, in the words of my colleague David Pratt in yesterday’s Herald, “amid three catastrophic Middle East wars his announcement is a direct affront to peace efforts in the region”.

Each week it seems Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel Investigation uncovers yet more evidence of collusion between the incoming Trump administration and the Putin regime in Russia. Last week a new ingredient was added to this cesspool of lies, corruption and treachery: good ol’ capitalism, though not perhaps of the sort that resides in Mr Bannon’s fevered imagination. This was the "bad" capitalism that brings good, ol’ fashioned greed into disrepute. Thus we learned that the President’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had confessed to dealing with Putin, not merely to win an election or to besmirch Hillary Clinton, you understand, but to fill his boots and those of his associates by building nuclear power plants in the Middle East in a joint venture with the Kremlin.

It’s intriguing to speculate how future historians will come to regard the Trump presidency. The Gangster Administration or the Mafia Era would be entirely appropriate. In bringing his country into global disrepute President Trump has given succour to all of the world’s rogue regimes. How can we lecture them on their morals and ethics while the leader of the free world is the biggest threat to peace?

But then perhaps this also plays out in the visions of Steve Bannon in which Armageddon is just around the corner and the re-building of a new world order of Judeo-Christian capitalism will reign and the world’s poor will once more know their place and stop being truculent.