In France last summertime, Donald Trump ensure a procession. Now, in true Trump fashion, he wants one of his own.
Back before he called members of Congress who refused to clap for him “treasonous, ” Trump traveled to France at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron to take in the country’s annual Bastille Day military procession. There was pomp, situation, and of course, a bunch of big guns that go boom. Trump was thrilled, publicly talking about how much fun he had months ago — but that’s not all. According to a report in the Washington Post, he’s been privately preoccupying over the idea of ordering the military to hurl him the same kind of parade, right here in Washington.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France, ” the Post quotes a military official.
There’s a big difference between the Bastille Day procession and whatever it is that Trump wants for himself — namely, tradition.
The Bastille Day parade dates back to 1880 and has a rich tradition. While it is heavily intertwined with the country’s military, it’s not in itself intended as a display of toughness or signal of warning to other countries. At the United Nations General Assembly in September, however, Trump spoke about how the parade was such a great present of “military might, ” pledging to top it. In other terms, he altogether missed the point.
In fairness to Trump, there’s actually a really long history of world leaders obsessed with demonstrating “military might” by way of parade — and they’re not exactly as cold as Macron .
Check out a few highlightings below.
Hitler and Stalin were both big fans of military parades.
Saddam Hussein deemed himself a little bit of a parade connoisseur as well.
And be sure to remember Lebanon, Belarus, Nicaragua, Romania, and finally, “little rocket man” himself, Kim Jong Un in North Korea.
If these types of processions all seem like a huge waste of time, energy, and fund in a purportedly democratic nation like ours, that’s because they are.
Throwing processions to demonstrate “military might” seems to be a common thread among insecure male world leaders desperate to prove the size of their “gun” is bigger than their rival’s. The last period the U.S. held a military procession of any sort was in 1991 when soldiers returned home to declare victory following the Gulf War. The cost that time around, according to The New York Times, was about $12 million, with$ 7 million paid with federal funds.
There’s little doubt Trump’s proposed parade would be even more expensive .
Another concern people are already bringing up is the effect that rolling a bunch of 70-ton tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue might have on the roads themselves. The Washington Post suggests that Trump will try to frame this as a show of appreciation for our military, but when you consider that his rationale for trying to ban transgender troops from joining the military was the “tremendous medical costs” and realize that the cost of this parade( assuming it runs on approximately the same budget as the 1991 edition) would exceed even the top-end estimates of what trans people actually expense the military or that he once brushed off criticism over a fallen soldier by saying “he knew what he signed up for, ” it becomes clear this isn’t about showing support for troops at all. It’s about throwing himself a big proto-authoritarian party.
No, Trump’s occasionally authoritarian contemplations don’t construct him equivalent with any of the countries or leaders in the listing above, but it’s becoming inarguable to suggest that he doesn’t share a bit of their autocratic flair.
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