President Trump Would Like to Buy Greenland
When the news hit that President Donald Trump was mulling over the possibility of buying Greenland from Denmark, the incredulity was epic. On the face of it, the purchase of Greenland would be the greatest real estate deal since Seward bought Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867. The problem is the largest island in the world may not be for sale.
Greenland was the subject of a Viking-era real estate swindle. Erik the Red, the father of Leif Erikson, the real discoverer of America, coined the ice shrouded island with its appealing name to attract settlers. Despite the poor farming land, the settlement flourished for a few centuries before being abandoned soon after Columbus made his voyages. The Inuit people occupied the land before the Kingdom of Denmark reasserted control and founded settlements in the 18th Century. The current inhabitants, about 60,000 in all, are the descendants of these first settlers.
Hot Air wonders what advantage the United States would derive from having sovereign control over Greenland that the country does not have now.
“We don’t need to buy the island to have military access to it. We’ve already got that covered with Thule Air Force Base We don’t need to buy it for economic access either. Greenland is open for business. The reason to want total dominion over Greenland is to gain the power to exclude: China is very interested in the island as an Atlantic base that would put it on America’s (and Europe’s) doorstep. Denmark stepped in and blocked a Chinese attempt to buy an abandoned naval base there two years ago but Chinese mining interests in the country are expanding. If you want to keep the Chinese out, you’re stuck either relying on the unwavering loyalty of the governments of Denmark and Greenland as Beijing throws more money around — or, of course, acquiring the land yourself and telling the Chinese to beat it.”
The current economy of Greenland is based on fishing and subsidies spent by Denmark. However, the mineral wealth of the island, which includes rare earths that are useful for high tech products such as smartphones and wind turbines, is largely untapped, possibly because it is also under the ice. On the other hand, some scientists are worried that climate change is melting the ice that covers most of Greenland and is making it – well – greener.
Whether Trump is serious about buying Greenland or not, the Greenland government is serious about the land not being for sale. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted an affable but firm rejection to the idea, which remember, is not even a formal proposal yet.
“#Greenland is rich invaluable 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”
Some residents were a little less polite. NBC News quoted a 63-year-old woman named Anna Kuitse Kuko as saying, “I think we take it as a sick joke by a crazy president.”
On the other hand, Hot Air suggests that the Greenland government is overjoyed at all of the free publicity the island is getting. As mentioned above, Greenland is trying to develop the island as a venue for an adventure vacation, where the well-heeled and hardy can explore the glaciers and no doubt look for polar bears.
Other wags are wondering if the president is playing a little eight-dimensional chest by allowing the news that he is “interested” in buying Greenland. The gambit could be a way to get the island and American mining companies more interested in accessing Greenland’s mineral wealth and, by grabbing mining rights with contracts, denying it to the Chinese.
Someone else photoshopped a picture of a Greenland village with a Trump Tower looming overhead. As Hot Air suggested, it does not take too much of an imagination to see a Trump Hotel and Casino gracing the landscape of Greenland, no doubt with Viking themed decor. It would be a perfect place for all of those adventure vacationers to unwind after gamboling over the ice.
However, Hot Air has decided that the musings of a Greenland real real-estate deal are not all that serious:
“Sadly, this now appears to be just another real-estate pipe dream, but it’s tough to imagine that anyone took the idea all that seriously in the first place, let alone Trump. He built his fortune on real estate, and it’s certainly believable that he’d bring that approach to dealing with American security, in which Greenland is an important piece. This sounds like spitballing at most — fun spitballing, perhaps, but spitballing nonetheless.”