It’s been said over and over that Donald Trump’s career as a businessman could not have prepared him for the Presidency. In anticipation of the first 4th of July celebration involving an American president, it was predicted that his career as a producer of live television would serve him well; but no one could have forseen the extent to which his true calling would be on display. Aside from the fact that he benefited from the talents of (presumably) Stephen Miller as a speech writer (if not as an advisor on issues of race) he — or rather, gifted people from the five branches of the military, including the Coast Guard, — put their planes in the sky with split second timing, as he introduced them to the tune of each service’s march. That display, plus the military band’s rendition of a final medley is sure to spike lagging military enrollment.
The question I have is this: will this unique staged celebration give Presidents Xi and Putin reason to hope that under Donald Trump, the United States will eventually join a condominium intended to make the world a better place for all, or should they beware that the United States will always use force to remain Top Dog? At a bare minimum, Trump’s message must be read as a warning to the rest of the world that anyone who steps out of line will be made to pay in ‘blood and treasure’.
While the nation’s colonial —- and even Civil War — can be seen as uplifting, Trump couldn’t resist including the Vietnam disaster in his bragging. In the closing the series of military marches, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which anticipated the Black liberation movement, is unlikely to convince descendants of slaves that ‘the party of Lincoln (sic)’ has their backs. (Currently, politicians and pundits are discussing the issue of whether to pay reparations to every black person in the United States, who was presumably descended from slaves.)
The National Holiday inspired me to see how the much maligned Fox News is doing its job, and I must say that it was not what I expected. From constantly hearing mocking criticism of the pro-Trump news channel (the mouthpiece of alt-right Trump critics, among other things), I was convinced the journalistic level had to be mediocre. Several times I had tuned in before the start of Tucker Carlson’s vitriolic hour, and been surprised at how calm (and friendly) the newscasters and commentators seemed. Now I watched its coverage of the parade and heard no bombast: all very matter-of-fact.
I’m sorry to have to say that based on this limited experience, it is the mainstream media that comes out looking like a caricature: As usual, it couldn’t stop criticizing Trump for ‘imitating dictators like Putin and Xi’, who supposedly feel the need to show off their weapons to make sure that lesser nations don’t step out of line. Never mind that the idea of a 4th of July military parade was born in Trump’s mind when he witnessed the Bastille Day parade in 2018, it being difficult to paint France as a dictatorship.
Having witnessed a handful of Bastille Days, I can attest that West Point has nothing on the French military — including those from France’s former African colonies, such as the famous tirailleurs senegalais (Senegalese sharpshooters), who fought in all of France’s wars. Although he is clearly smitten with the pomp and circumstance of old world regimes, the forty-fifth president of the United States, with its rough and ready cowboy traditions, will never preside over anything similar. Nor does one necessarily have to tune in to MSNBC to hear a steady stream of mockery against Trump: on the day following the first ever July 4th parade attended by a US President, the leaked description by the British Ambassador to the US, that Trump radiates insecurity, that his administration is dysfunctional, unpredictable, faction-riven, diplomatically clumsy and inept is not likely to enhance his efforts to get his European ‘allies’ to poney up for NATO.
Deena Stryker is a US-born international expert, author and journalist that lived in Eastern and Western Europe and has been writing about the big picture for 50 years. Over the years she penned a number of books, including Russia’s Americans. Her essays can also be found at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.