I’ve heard of people buying private islands, but I’ve never heard of someone buying an entire country. Until Mr POTUS, Donald Trump.
He reckons the concept of buying the world’s largest island is “strategically […] interesting”.
I’m sorry, what?
The Prime Minister of Denmark – the country currently buddied-up with Greenland – Mette Frederiksen isn’t having a bar of it. She says the idea of selling Greenland to the United States is absurd
“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” she told the Greenland newspaper, Sermitsiaq.
But there’s no need to worry, Trump told reporters that though he had discussed the possibility it’s “not No. 1 on the burner; I can tell you that.”
Well, that’s mighty comforting, sir.
The rumour mill started spinning when the White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed reports that Trump had privately discussed the idea of buying Greenland. As a man who “knows a thing or two about buying real estate,” he told Fox News, ofc he’d want to buy a country.
And, this isn’t the first time the U.S. has been interested in buying the country – nor is it the first time they’ve actually bought one. Harry Truman, once upon a time, was keen on acquiring some international real-estate. Also, back in 1917 America bought the Virgin Islands from Denmark for a cool $US25 million.
Kudlow added that “Denmark owns Greenland,” and because “Denmark is an ally, Greenland is a strategic place, up there. And they’ve got a lot of valuable minerals,” that are becoming more accessible due to climate change.
But only part of that statement is true.
Greenland, which you’ll find between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependent on Danish economic support. But, Denmark doesn’t “own” them. While Greenland handles its own domestic affairs, Denmark takes care of defense and foreign policy. America, however, does have military rights over the Thule Air Base in Greenland’s north, given in a 1951 defense treaty between Denmark and the U.S..
Frederiksen told Danish broadcasters that it’s “an absurd discussion”, and “that’s where the conversation ends.”
#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism. We’re open for business, not for sale❄️🗻🐳🦐🇬🇱 learn more about Greenland on: https://t.co/WulOi3beIC
— Greenland MFA 🇬🇱 (@GreenlandMFA) August 16, 2019
But it seems the people of Greenland and Denmark are having a good (albeit slightly concerned) chuckle at Trump’s reported plans.
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, a Danish MP of the Inuit Ataqatigiit party, says the majority in Greenland would believe it “better to have a relation to Denmark than the United States, in the long term.”
“My immediate thought is ‘No, thank you,'”
Conservatives aren’t keen on the idea either. Soren Espersen, a spokesperson for the right-leaning Danish People’s Party, said the idea of “selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous”.
“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad.”
Even former Ambassadors to Denmark (and, thus, Greenland) have chimed in on this “total catastrophe”
I was Ambassador to Denmark which means I was Ambassador to Greenland. It is remarkably pristine and complex. A place unlike any other corner of the planet.
It simply must be handled with immense care and the best intentions for the people there and the global climate.
— Rufus Gifford (@rufusgifford) August 15, 2019
Considering the vast natural beauty of Greenland, and the precarious climate it exists in it would be disastrous for a climate change-denier like Trump to effectively take control of the country. Especially given that Iceland has just farewelled its first dead glacier (of perhaps many), now, more than ever, action needs to be taken to protect these unique and precious environments.
It seems like a really weird game of Monopoly: Countries of the World. And we all know what Monopoly does to friendships… and it’s not pretty.
Image Source: Unsplash