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TWIFT | Other | Not for Sale: Why Does the Situation With Greenland Harm Danish National Security?

Not for Sale: Why Does the Situation With Greenland Harm Danish National Security?

The security of Greenland has become more important to the Danish authorities than terrorism or cyber crimes because of the US President Trump’s aim to buy out the largest island.

The head of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service, Lars Findsen, confirmed that the increased patronage of the island is also due to the competition in the Arctic between world powers, in particular, the USA, China and Russia.

Greenland is part of the Danish state, but the island is quite autonomous in everything that concerns concluding trade agreements with other countries since Greenland withdrew from the European Economic Community back in 1985.

Well, the story of the purchase of the island by the US seemed like an unfortunate joke on April 1. On social networks, Donald Trump wrote that after the transition of Greenland to the protectorate, the United States would not build a skyscraper in his honor.

On August 19, after the broadcast of the American president, when he called the purchase of the island “strategically interesting” for America, the Danish authorities didn’t delay their answer.

Official Copenhagen said, that Greenland belonged to the Kingdom of Denmark and there would be no talk of selling Greenland.

Although Greenland is closer to North America, the history of its autonomy begins with Denmark. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called Trump’s proposal an absurdity and denied the possibility of any bidding. After that, the head of the White House canceled his visit to Copenhagen planned for September.

Is It Possible to Sell or Buy an Island?

As to believe the American media, the reason for Trump’s enthusiasm for buying Greenland lies in the president’s desire to go down in history as Andrew Johnson, who managed to buy back Alaska from Russia.

Well, experts predict that in our time large-scale sales or purchases are rarely made, so this fucking nice Trump’s plan is doomed to failure. According to Michael Gertig, a political scientist in Southern Denmark who worked for a long time in Greenland, Trump’s business philosophy is the possibility to buy and sell the whole world. Oh, maybe he lacks competent consultants who could explain to him the legal groundlessness of this funny procedure!

Some media report that this loud statement made by Trump is also related to his desire to win the upcoming presidential election in the United States in 2020. Also, Donald Trump offered to pay Denmark $ 600 million annually for owning the island. The process of selling Greenland is not easy, the American President’s Administration also confirmed this.

The United States has already acquired territories and quite large ones… So, back in the 19th century, American authorities purchased Louisiana from France for $ 15 million, and soon bought back Alaska from Russia, which cost the United States $ 7.2 million. The Virgin Islands became one of America’s last purchases. 

After the end of World War II, the American state gave others more land than acquired. Among the territorial losses of the US are the Philippines, the Panama Canal, a number of islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The US attempt to buy Greenland is not the first in history. So in 1946, American President Harry Truman offered $ 100 million in gold for it. Due to inflation, that amount can be equated to $ 1.3 billion nowadays. According to experts, the idea to buy a country touches on the issue of owning a huge territory, as well as the people who live on it.

In fact, Trump is interested in Greenland not only to win elections or mark in American history. First of all, these are economic benefits. 

Since the island is rich in minerals, here is one of the largest deposits of rare metals ‒ lead, zinc, platinum, copper, nickel, gold and diamonds. According to the US Geological Survey, the bowels of Greenland contain oil reserves of up to 110 billion barrels. These resources make the island much more expensive than Trump thinks. According to the Financial Times, the cost of the island could reach $ 1.1 trillion.

However, extracting valuable resources on the island that 80% ice-covered is not so simple. To establish production, significant capital and resources are needed. Subsequently, they may become more affordable due to the tendency to global warming on Earth. But the initial contribution should be extremely high.

Now Trump is trying to convince the world community that the maintenance of Greenland is beyond the power of Denmark, and the island needs a more reliable investor.

“Mining on the island is definitely a private industry, that’s why this is not the industry in which Denmark can intervene. Greenland de jure belongs to Denmark, but it operates under the law on self-government so people here are absolutely responsible for the use of minerals. This was decided by the autonomous government of Greenland,” confirms Torben Andersen.

The Kingdom of Denmark still manages many processes on the island. For example, Copenhagen is responsible for the foreign policy and defense of Greenland. And also the island receives from the Danish treasury more than 500 million for development. The authorities of the island could manage this money.

At present, China is a leader in the extraction of rare earth metals. China controls large deposits in Africa. So the acquisition of Greenland would mean a worthy counterargument in the trade war with Beijing.

Also, the island would be useful to achieve US strategic goals. Even during the Cold War, the US stronghold appeared here ‒ the northernmost base of the US military forces in Tula, about 1200 km north of the Arctic Circle.

Along with Russia and China, the United States also seeks to expand its influence in the Arctic. As reported by experts, given Russia’s activity in arms buildup, tensions in the Arctic are growing and soon we can talk about a serious aggravation.

Why is Denmark Against the Sale of Greenland?

The American president reacted to the words of the Danish authorities about the impossibility of selling the island:

“Harry Truman had an idea about Greenland. I also had an idea. Other people had this idea, which dates back to the 1900s. Do not say that this is a crazy idea! Because in this way you are not communicating with me, but with the United States,” he said.

However, many politicians have already made it clear to Trump that the purchase of Greenland is not entirely realistic… The former Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, called the idea of ​​Trump “April Fools’ joke out of season.” And the representative of the Danish People’s Party of Greenland, Søren Espersen, said that, if the American president really thought about it, he “went crazy!”

The royal family of Denmark also responded to Trump’s offer as a compliment towards the island. “Only the desired territories receive these offers,” the kingdom replied.

In fact, selling Greenland would mean a huge territorial loss to Denmark. After all, the area of ​​the autonomous island is 48 times larger than the area of ​​Denmark. 

So, dear Trump, you will have to wait! 

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