- President Donald Trump has instructed the US military to prepare and produce a grand military parade in Washington DC, the first of its kind in decades.
- Russia, China, and North Korea also hold military parades, and their equipment is easier to move around than much of the US’s.
- But the US has a major advantage that none of its rivals do – US military personnel are volunteers, and its citizens are free to attend and speak about the event as they choose.
President Donald Trump has instructed the US military to prepare and produce a grand military parade in Washington DC, the first of its kind in decades.
Since the close of the Cold War, military parades have been associated with authoritarian powers like China, Russia, and North Korea, who show off their newly bulit military platforms to the chagrin of military analysts around the world.
While the US has the best military in the world, there are some things Russia, China, or North Korea can do in a parade that the US simply can’t.
For example, Pennsylvania Avenue probably can’t handle a long convoy of heavy military vehicles. Today’s M1 Abrams tanks weigh a whopping 67 tons. World War II era military parades featured tanks that weighed about half that.
The weight and treads of an Abrams tank might just tear up the road. When China and Russia put on military parades, they roll through state-of-the-art military vehicles, while the US’s main battle tank was first built in 1979. In many ways Russia and China’s parades would likely out class the US’s in terms of how new their equipment is.
Will Trump show nukes?
Additionally, Russia, China, and North Korea like to parade their ICBMs around, but the US can’t really do that. Unlike the authoritarian nuclear powers across Asia, the US parks its ICBMs in silos, not atop huge military trucks.
When the US does move its ICBMs around, it does so in plain looking trucks. The US has paraded nuclear weapons down Pennsylvania Avenue before, but today’s nuclear weapons are far more descrete looking.
But there is a nuclear platform that would make sense for a parade and avoid tearing up the road – nuclear bombers. The US could fly B-2 and B-52 bombers overhead, as well as stealth jets like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
In terms of air power, the US has much more to show off than Russia, China, or North Korea, which can’t even fly its planes due to a lack of fuel.
The US has something Russia, China, and North Korea can’t touch
While the US military doesn’t exactly lend itself to parading, it has something worth showing off that China, Russia, and North Korea can’t touch – soldiers who actually want to be there.
The pride of the US military is not any one single platform, or any combination thereof. All major militaries have planes, tanks, and missiles, but the US has an all-volunteer force, while Russia, China, and North Korea rely on conscripts.
Even more important than troops marching though, are the people watching. In the US, anyone of any status can think and say or write what they like about the soldiers. They can attend, or not. The revelers on the sidelines of the parade would be proud US citizens attending of their own free will.
That’s simply not the case in North Korea, Russia, and China.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.