In a move that “smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country,” according to historian Douglas Brinkley, United States President Donald Trump is reportedly pushing for a huge display of his country’s military prowess.
Trump has given orders to officials at the Pentagon to plan a grand military parade as a “celebration of the men and women who give us freedom”, Pentagon spokesperson Charlie Summers said on February 6.
Trump was inspired after witnessing France’s National Day celebrations last year. “It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump told the reporters.
A military official told The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity: “The marching orders were: ‘I want a parade like the one in France.’ This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Democratic Congressperson Jim McGovern called the idea “an absurd waste of money,” according to the South China Morning Post. He added: “Trump acts more like dictator than president.”
The US House of Representatives recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which will pump nearly US$634 billion in Pentagon operations in the 2018 fiscal year. The bill proposed about US$66 billion to be spent on US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries.
Citing North Korea as a threat to justify greater spending, the military will add more ships, aircraft and troops. Part of the bill is also supposed to strengthen the missile technology against North Korea.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said that US military spending would now be three times that of China and 10 times higher than Russia’s.
Critics are concerned that the planned military parade might signify even more overt nationalism. A parade “smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country,” Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, told The Washington Post.
In January last year, the newly appointed Trump administration was contemplating having a “Red Square/North Korea-style parade” for the inauguration, a source revealed to The Huffington Post.
Trump told The Washington Post in an interview before his inauguration: “We’re going to show the people as we build up our military.
“That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, DC, for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]