President Trump has talked about showing off the United States’ military might in a parade since before his inauguration according to The Washington Post. Now it would seem that this desire is about to become a reality. According to Post report, the president has made it clear to the Pentagon that he wants a military parade in Washington. The reported idea has the parade route following a similar path as Trump’s inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, with The Washington Post adding that it would pass by the Trump International Hotel in DC:
Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military…
A White House official familiar with the planning described the discussions as “brainstorming” and said nothing is settled. “Right now, there’s really no meat on the bones,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.
The Post adds that most presidents avoid these shows of military might to avoid comparisons to totalitarian dictatorships like North Korea, and due to the idea that a military parade is “not necessary for the world’s preeminent superpower.” President George H.W. Bush was the last president to hold a parade with a celebration of victory during the Gulf War in 1991, with previous parades over the years more or less acting as direct responses to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
According to the report, the desire to have the parade was boosted following the president’s visit to France during the Bastille Day celebrations. According to The Washington Post, “Trump was awestruck by the tableau of uniformed French troops marching down Avenue des Champs-Elysees with military tanks, armored vehicles, gun trucks” and more:
“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters. “It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France.”
Seated next to Macron, Trump added: “We’re going to have to try to top it.”
There are concerns about a parade of this size and scale moving down Pennsylvania Avenue. As The Post points out, shipping “Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware” to DC could cost somewhere in the millions and the seventy-ton vehicles would “chew up” the streets in DC. There is also the pesky truth that the United States is still dropping bombs and holding military operations in at least 7 countries according to The Post, including a presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also leaves some asking what the point of having such a parade would be:
“I don’t think there’s a lack of love and respect for our armed forces in the United States,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “What are they going to do, stand there while Donald Trump waves at them? It smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country — unless there’s a genuine, earnest reason to be doing it.”
The White House official rejected the suggestion that some associate a military parade with strongmen, saying it would be a “celebration of the men and women who give us freedom.”
“That’s the opposite of a totalitarian government,” the official said.
For Trump and his supporters, this is apparently seen as a way to create some momentum for the midterm elections later in the year. It could easily backfire, though, given Trump’s own personal history with military service and the factors that are being overlooked with the parade’s motivation. This is apparently happening, though, so get ready. Here is the parade from France for comparisons.
(Via The Washington Post)