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Trump's call for a military parade is boastful and unnecessary

Trump's call for a military parade is boastful and unnecessary

Donald Trump went to Saudi Arabia and was apparently awed by a shining orb. Then he received a private tour of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

He called Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and congratulated him on how he handled  suspected drug users.

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It seems that the president of the United States has an open attraction to strongmen leaders and clearly sees himself in the same regard. Which is why he’s demanding a military parade through Washington, D.C.

 

Military parades are just not something stable democracies engage in. The message they send is not one that is compatible with the modern liberal world order.

They are inherently jingoistic, relying on primitive posturing to provide any payoff. Either the parade is held in order to boost military support at home or it is intended to send a message to foreign adversaries. Both have the effect of pushing attention to a country’s might instead of its institutions, the true pillars of any democracy.

Trump shown an apparent disregard for democratic institutions and he’s actively sought to undermine the United State’s ties to foreign democratic allies.

Waffling on the reaffirmation of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, sneering disdain of German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she visited the White House, and making The United States the lone holdout of the Paris Climate Accords this has been Donald Trump’s effort to uphold the strength of American alliances across the world.

This has pulled us farther away from the norms and practices that America has enshrined in geopolitics is this asinine idea of holding a military parade.

But, you say, Trump’s call for a military parade is in line with France’s Bastille Day celebrations. Yes, his exact quote was “I want a parade like the one in France.

But unlike France’s, Trump’s parade lacks the context to be anything other than a measuring contest (he has a bigger button, remember?). The Bastille Day parade dates back to 1880.

The United States has had a smattering of military parades in the 242 years of its existence. There were parades at the end of the Civil War, World War One, and World War II.

A random procession without the history or occasion for one will look like weakness and desperation from a man floundering in the most militarily powerful position in the world.

There’s also the awkward narrative that Trump’s Bastille Day affinity implies. The holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a prison used to hold political prisoners, by the anti-government forces during the French Revolution.

The revolutionary militias captured the prison and with it, a valuable supply of weapons and ammunition with which they then overthrew the French monarchy. If there is one thing to say about Trump, it’s that he does not see himself as a commoner. He has a gold-plated toilet.

For him to call for a celebration similar to one celebrating the downfall of the ruling nobility, shows his lack of attention to history and appearances that, at this point, should surprise no one.

In the escalation of tensions with North Korea (a country that regularly holds military processions through its capital city), Trump has employed many show-of-force tactics.

Although they constantly insult and call for the other’s death, he and Kim Jong-Un have much in common. Like his equally-inexperienced counterpart, Trump is showing once more that he would be just as comfortable as the authoritarian he’s always wanted to be.

So here’s my recommendation to President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE: If he wants to try and be the president of all Americans and not just himself, he should listen to the American people.

According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, 61 percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s ideas of a military parade, while twenty-six percent support the idea and 13 percent don’t have an opinion.

So instead of trying to show off America’s military arsenal, Trump should focus on the economy, creating jobs, and the many other priorities we have as a country.

José Aristimuño is the CEO of Now Strategies. He was a deputy national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, and a former director of specialty communications and spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services.