Well, of course the president who claimed bone spurs to dodge the Vietnam War wants the biggest, bestest military parade ever, with lots of tanks and rockets and flags — zillions of flags — and fighter jets screaming overhead. Why is anyone surprised?
.. anyone who fails to cheer as the bands play and the troops march by will surely be guilty of treason.
.. Trump has already matched North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in dangerous, unhinged rhetoric. Now it appears he hopes to surpass his rival in linear mileage of meaningless military display.
.. It is hard to imagine any other president summoning his generals to demand not a better strategy in Afghanistan, not a detailed plan for success in Syria, but rather an elaborate entertainment that gives him an opportunity to be seen reviewing the troops. In this reality-show presidency, it sounds like the kind of extravaganza that one could imagine as a series finale. If so, bring it on.
.. There is a semi-plausible argument that Trump could consciously use such a patriotic extravaganza as a wedge, the way he has used the national anthem protests in the NFL. It could be a with-me-or-against-me ploy. If you support the parade, you love America; if you don’t, you don’t.
.. But a celebratory military parade with nothing to celebrate could also highlight the gulf between Trump’s campaign promises and his actions. He pledged to wind wars down and bring the troops home; he has done quite the opposite.
.. My guess is that both his narcissism and his authoritarianism are at play in his need to honor himself with a parade.
.. Despite his boastful tweetstorms, the president clearly realizes that his approval ratings are historically low. He is so unpopular that he will not even risk a state visit to London to open the new U.S. Embassy there for fear of being humiliated by mass protests.
.. The campaign-style rallies he so enjoys do not appear well-designed to advance a political agenda; they do, however, boost his spirits and massage his ego.
.. He would be saluted and serenaded to his heart’s content. It would be an egomaniac’s heaven.
.. Trump’s big parade would also be a massive display of power — not so much the nation’s as his own. There is not a soul on Earth who doubts the overwhelming strength of the U.S. military. I can think of one soul, however, who is insecure enough in his own authority that he accuses members of Congress who do not stand and applaud him of treason.