One of the many things President Donald Trump has been accused of is having an affinity for dictators.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un notwithstanding, Trump has on numerous occasions praised autocratic heads of state for their “tough” stances on crime, political opposition, and outward displays of nationalism.
Remember during the second presidential debate when he threatened to imprison Hillary Clinton?
Autocrats often boast about their countries’ military might to intimidate potential foreign and domestic agitators.
Public displays of military weaponry are not uncommon among authoritarian regimes.
Now Trump wants to be the first President of the United States to stage his own.
Upon Trump’s request, White House and Pentagon officials have begun planning a grand military parade for later this year.
Trump formally delivered his directive at a January 8 meeting with the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
A military official speaking anonymously due to confidential planning and discussions confirmed:
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France. This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
A White House official familiar with the planning described discussions as “brainstorming” at the moment.
Defense Department spokesman Thomas Crosson said in a statement:
“We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process.”
Apparently Trump’s desire for a military parade solidified after his July state visit to France, where he was treated to Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
On board Air Force One on the flight back to Washington, aides said Trump was awestruck with uniformed French troops marching down Avenue des Champs-Elysees; tanks; armored vehicles; gun trucks; carriers; fighter jets over the Arc de Triomphe coloring the sky with blue, white and red smoke; and expressed a strong desire to have a similar demonstration of his own.
In addition to the pomposity and ostentation, there is also cost.
The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could be millions.
Military officials say they are unclear how they might pay for it.
Do we really want one of these?
Do we really need one?
Image credit: reverbpress.com