Friday, 17 August, 2018

Trump orders Pentagon to draw up plans for military parade in Washington

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the museum in Ajaccio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Fesch Museum in Ajaccio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica Thomson Reuters
Glenn Montgomery | 08 February, 2018, 00:47

President Donald Trump wants a big military parade, and the Pentagon may be delivering one, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Up-to-date tanks rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue during Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural in 1953, and rocket-like missiles during John Kennedy's parade in 1961.

"The reality, though, is that we can't stop the president from marching".

Trump is believed to have been inspired after attending France's Bastille Day parade in July.

Though displays of military prowess like the one Trump is organizing have been more common in countries Russian Federation and North Korea, America did hold a two-day celebration after the Civil War and another parade in NY at the close of World War II to celebrate the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

In typical Trump fashion, he also joked with Macron that "We're going to have to try to top it".

Pentagon has reportedly started planning for a military parade in Washington later this year after President Donald Trump asked it to "explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation".

"To a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue", he told reporters.

"The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France", one unnamed official said, according to the Post.

The news of Trump's call for a military parade in the USA comes as North Korea plans to show off dozens of long-range missiles during a February 8 parade, sources with deep knowledge of North Korea's intentions told CNN last week. Both parades would feature the respective nation's military might, but they might still send very different messages, some European defense analysts and columnists cautioned.

Planning for such a parade would likely be more extensive than the military presence at presidential inaugurations or presidential funerals.

While a parade similar to Trump's vision has been uncommon in recent years, the US previously held a national military parade in 1991 to celebrate winning the Gulf War. "It smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country - unless there's a genuine, earnest reason to be doing it". The U.S. traditionally has not embraced showy displays of raw military power, such as North Korea's parading of ballistic missiles as a claim of worldwide prestige and influence.

For Pinchotti, "asking military families who are fighting to protect us, to stop everything and plan their own party is just plain wrong".

But size appears to have mattered in Trump's desire to organize a military parade in Washington, too. "One reason the Soviets had those parades was to distract the world from the fact that the Soviet military was actually much weaker than the Soviets were claiming".

It has always been conventional wisdom that the US does not need to boast of its military strength because it already is recognized as the leader of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and a model of military professionalism that countries across the global seek to emulate.

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