(RT) — US President Donald Trump’s decision to display tanks on the National Mall during the Independence Day festivities is causing a meltdown among his critics, who claim it’s an ‘authoritarian’ move worthy of North Korea – or Russia.
As part of the “Salute to America” celebrations this July 4, the US Navy ‘Blue Angels’ acrobatic group will fly over the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and there will be tanks “stationed outside” on the grounds. The event will culminate with the customary fireworks display.
All of this is intended to show off the “strongest and most advanced military anywhere in the world,” according to the US president.
A rail car with two M1A1 Abrams tanks, two Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and what looks like an M88A2 recovery vehicle – all part of the 64th Armored Regiment from Fort Stewart, Georgia – has been spotted outside the capital on Tuesday.
Five armored vehicles on display is a far cry from a full-on military parade Trump wanted to throw last year, inspired by the 2017 Bastille Day parade in France that he attended. That plan was eventually scrapped due to a host of problems and runaway cost estimates. The streets of DC are in poor shape as it is, and cannot possibly withstand 60-ton war machines driving around – as the city council pointed out again on Monday, tweeting “Tanks but no tanks!”
Trump was aware of this, telling reporters on Monday, “You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks.So we have to put them in certain areas.”
Even such a modest display has triggered Trump’s critics, however. Hundreds of social media users argued this was Nazism reincarnate, a reprise of Hitler’s Nuremberg Rally somehow.
Trump is an “authoritarian,” using tanks as a “show of force” against Americans and a corrupt “prop” for Republican donors, said one former ethics official.
The cruel, heartless president is also ruining holiday plans for military families in order to create a “North Korea-style spectacle,” argued one member of Congress.
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Others seized on the president’s gaffe about “brand new Sherman tanks” that would be on display – referring to the World War II workhorse of the US military, out of production for decades.
Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson called the deployment of tanks “repugnant” and said the US did not do military parades because it is not a militarized society. She must have missed the military color guard, fighter jet flyovers and paratrooper exhibitions that often accompany major sporting events in the US.
Curiously, no one has insinuated that Trump’s tank display was proof of “Russian collusion,” a conspiracy theory behind the special counsel probe of the 2016 election that came to precisely nothing. After all, isn’t there a tank parade in Moscow every year?
The Russian fascination with tanks is well-documented and goes back to the legendary T-34 as the principal instrument of victory in WWII. To ensure the tanks and other vehicles do not chew up the historic Red Square or other streets of Moscow, they are fitted with special rubber track pads.
Tanks also compete in the international army games, a pioneer sporting competition organized in Russia for the last several years that serves as a test of skill and combat readiness.
Russian tankers also have a funny side, showcasing the fine controls of the T-80 as it chops up fruit, serves drinks and even draws. No one tell Trump, though, or he might ask the Abrams crews to try and match that next year…
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