“It has long been considered conventional wisdom that the US does not need to boast of its military strength because it already is recognised as the leader of the Nato alliance and a model of military professionalism countries across the global seek to emulate.” - The Independent.
Quote of The Week: “We have a Napoleon in the making here,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, said on CNN Tuesday. (From this CNN report.)
That prompts Scriber to propose a diagnostic subcategory: Napoleonic Narcissism. Among its symptoms are beliefs that bigger is always better and a sociopathic disregard for restraints imposed by conventional wisdom.
If Trump gets his military parade, he will join the other authoritarian dictators who also like to boast of their military strength: Russia, China, North Korea. (I omit France from this list because it is not authoritarian, it is the oldest country of the bunch, and it has been celebrating Bastille Day for 138 years.) See Trump military parade: Which other countries have large-scale public displays of military might?
Barbara Starr is the lead author reporting in CNN that Planning for US military parade now underway.
Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said Tuesday that Trump asked for the military parade, adding that the planning process was in its “infancy.”
According to The Washington Post, which first reported that Trump asked top brass at the Pentagon for a military parade, the President was inspired by France’s Bastille Day celebration.
Trump was French President Emmanuel Macron’s guest on Bastille Day last year, and later called the French military parade he witnessed “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen.
Military parades, while unusual, are not unprecedented in the US, though there hasn’t been a major one in Washington since 1991 to celebrate victory in the Gulf War. That display, which drew roughly 200,000 attendees, featured various military units marching, Navy and Marine bands performing, and jets and helicopters flying over the crowd.
Some congressional Democrats have rebuked the idea of a military parade, arguing such a display would waste time and money and provide scant value to the American people.
There is a hint in the above quotes about why and how Trump came to order a military parade. Let’s muse about that. (1) Show the other authoritarian dictators who is boss. (2) Keep up with the French. (3) Macron has larger hands. (4) Macron has another part of his anatomy that is bigger than Trump’s.
Chris Cillizza, I think, sees this as a combination of (1) and (2) concluding that Of course Donald Trump wants a big, shiny military parade.
When you think of tanks and/or missiles rolling through the streets, it’s North Korea or Russia that you think of, not the United States or France. (North Korea is set to hold a military parade in just days, in fact.) You think of shows of force, public measuring sessions to show the world that [fill in the blank country] is not to be trifled with. Very rarely do you think of the world’s leading superpower needing to send that message.
Then there is the context of Trump. This is a President who has openly praised a number of totalitarian leaders – from Vladimir Putin in Russia to Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. This is a President who has openly questioned his own Justice Department and FBI, suggesting there may be a conspiracy at the highest levels seeking to weaken him. This is a President who worked tirelessly to disqualify the idea of an objective news media. This is a President who has said things that aren’t true at an alarming rate – and an administration that has created the term “alternative facts.”
And now this is a President who wants to have a big military parade through the streets of the nation’s capital – largely, I suspect, because he saw the one France put on and thought: “We need something bigger.”
In fact, Trump said as much when he and French president Emmanuel Macron huddled at the United Nations following Trump’s France trip. “We’re going to have to try to top it,” he told Macron.
Bigger is always better in Trump’s world. And might usually makes right. He with the biggest toys wins.
Of course, when the toys are tanks and missiles and no one is really sure what “winning” looks like, the stakes go up – a fact Trump is either unaware or dismissive of. He also seems unconcerned of the sort of message a parade of tanks, guns and other military paraphernalia through the Washington streets sends to the rest of the world that will, most definitely, be watching.
Which means we will probably get a military parade in Washington. Because Trump gets what Trump wants – whether or not it is a good thing for the country.
Steve Benen exposes the parade as an extension of Trump’s insecurity: Trump directs Pentagon to prepare a military parade
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed to NBC News that the president has made the request. A senior administration official added that Trump has “given the directive to begin the planning so the planning has begun.”
And while plenty of details still need to be worked out, the Washington Post’s report included this tidbit: “The location is still being discussed, though Trump has said he would like it to proceed along Pennsylvania Avenue, which links the Capitol and the White House. It would be the same route as Trump’s inaugural parade and pass by his family’s showpiece: Trump International Hotel.”
On the [Rachel Maddow] show in March 2017, Rachel showed footage of military parades in Russia and North Korea, and added, “There’s no law against parading your military, whether or not it’s an important anniversary. But through American eyes, this is a little weird, right? If this gives you the willies to look at, it’s because it’s supposed to. This is an unabashed, uncomplicated, undisguised display of military prowess or national insecurity, depending on how you look at it.”
And now it seems we know exactly how our current president looks at it.
New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz reports that Military Refuses to Participate in Trump’s Parade, Citing Bone Spurs.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The Pentagon has turned down Donald J. Trump’s request for a grand military parade in Washington, D.C., citing a sudden outbreak of bone spurs that would prevent men and women in uniform from participating.
Harland Dorrinson, a Pentagon spokesman, said that, within an hour of Trump’s request, more than a hundred thousand military personnel complained that they were suffering from acute cases of bone spurs that would make marching in such a parade a painful ordeal.
“In the history of the U.S. military, we have never experienced a bone-spur epidemic of this magnitude,” the spokesman said. “Regrettably, however, we have no choice but to issue thousands of deferments.”
A statement from the bone-spur sufferers said that they would continue to valiantly serve their country around the world in a non-marching capacity, and offered an alternative to their participation in Trump’s proposed pageant.
“President Trump is welcome to march in the parade all by himself if he would finally like to enlist,” the statement read.