The United States Should Just, Like, Buy Greenland

Trump is an idiot, but he might have been on to something…

by Tyler Genevay

Staff Denmark Eraser

The President of the United States rounded out August the same way that dozens of freshmen boys at Barnyard did: by getting rejected. For reasons as inexplicable as why that senior girl didn’t want to go back to your place in Martyr’s, Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, refused to entertain Donald Trump’s proposition that America purchase the Dane’s ice-covered and ironically named archipelago, Greenland.

As his artful Twitter negotiations collapsed and global media outlets mocked the spurned U.S. leader, the Trump administration canceled a planned state visit to Denmark—and, for good measure, called PM Frederiksen “nasty.” The entire debacle appeared ludicrous, yet frustratingly normal, given the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s propensity for questionable real estate dealings.

While Donald Trump’s fascination with the world’s largest island likely waned when he discovered that its frigid temperatures and year-round ice sheets make it wholly unsuitable for golf courses, the president’s interest in Denmark’s Arctic territory was, surprisingly, not misplaced. Situated between North America and Europe, Greenland’s strategic position atop the globe makes it a crucial component of the United States’ military deterrent against Russian and Chinese aggression. Since 1950, America has operated Thule Air Force Base on the island’s west coast. The Base serves as a critical backstop to the nation’s faltering standing abroad, as well as a scientific haven for those evaluating the impact of climate change on the icecaps. As the globe reckons with climate change’s wrath, it is imperative that the United States leads the world in protecting the Arctic’s vast natural preserves, and it is difficult to overstate the value of assets like Thule Air Force Base in that fight.

Of course, Greenland’s significance to the United States extends beyond its military capacity, and this country has much to offer a population comprised predominantly of indigenous Inuit peoples. The complicated nature of land-use rights and protections is a familiar concept to Americans, who reside in the world’s greatest multiethnic, biodiverse, pluralistic nation. Greenland’s snowcapped peaks and wintry expanses resemble Alaska far more than they do Copenhagen — and the United States possesses far greater experience, resources, and power than Denmark to capably support indigenous communities, as well as to drive development on projects desired by the island’s 56,000 citizens. Under Denmark’s current framework, Greenland is mostly self-governed — not unlike the system implemented by the United States to govern its territories, like Puerto Rico—and incorporation of the island into the American story would follow a cherished history of diversity, strength, and promise.

At this critical juncture on the world stage — with growing economic, social, and military threats challenging American preeminence for the first time since the end of the Cold War — this nation’s chief geopolitical foes, Russia and China, have both recently pressured Denmark to open Greenland to investment and mineral exploitation. With global warming orienting the attention of our enemies to the Arctic, the United States has a moral imperative to preserve the democratic order established following World War II, and the purchase of Greenland would signal to the world that America is engaged in this battle. While our current president may not have the legal authority to acquire the island via tweet, former government leaders have also seen the strategic and cultural importance of Greenland to the United States. In 1946, President Harry Truman offered the Danes $100,000,000 to assume control of the land. Previously, Denmark declined to sell Greenland to the Lincoln administration, which had recently acquired the Alaska territory. These leaders had the initiative and boldness to establish an American era of Arctic stewardship, and it would be in the United States’ best interest to follow their example.

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