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20 Aug, 2019 14:56

Art of the steal? Trump’s ‘bid’ for Greenland screams American exceptionalism & foul play

Art of the steal? Trump’s ‘bid’ for Greenland screams American exceptionalism & foul play

Describing an effort to buy the world’s largest island as “just another real estate deal,” the US leader shocked the world with a brazenness that underscores everything that is wrong with the US today.

When news broke that the mogul of Manhattan had shown interest in buying Greenland, the story sounded too fantastic to be true. After all, there is very little chance of Greenland becoming a successful golf resort, and despite the ‘Green’ in its name, it will never be confused as desirable beachfront property unless you happen to be a polar bear. To make the story even more fantastic, the potential buyer was not your average developer. Far from it. In fact, he is the commander-in-chief of one of the most powerful militaries on the planet.

Also on rt.com Trump vows not to build giant tower in Greenland… once he buys it?

Essentially it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done. It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they're losing almost $700 million a year carrying it,” Trump told reporters this week, confirming the wild rumor. “So, they carry it at great loss, and strategically for the United States, it would be nice. And, we're a big ally of Denmark and we help Denmark, and we protect Denmark.” 

Judging by those remarks, it almost sounds as though Trump thinks the Danes owe the United States something, doesn’t it? Like maybe in the shape of a 2,166,086 square kilometer (836,330 square mile) landmass loaded with valuable minerals and resources?

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen responded drily to Trump’s overture, saying: “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.” If Frederiksen has been paying attention to the trajectory of US foreign policy of late, she is well aware that sovereignty means little to Washington anymore. 

In any case, it’s important to understand that this was not just the massive ego of Donald Trump talking trash. This was the arrogance and effrontery of a global superpower that has lost all sense of decency and direction. The same superpower that ignored a huge outpouring of public opprobrium in 2003 and went ahead and smashed Iraq simply because it could; the same superpower that saw fit to destroy Libya in 2011 because Gaddafi planned to use gold dinars as opposed to paper dollars; the same superpower that encouraged Ukrainians in 2013 to take to the streets against their democratically elected leader, thereby fomenting civil strife that continues today. Ad infinitum the list goes on.

Of course there is a considerable difference between the possibility of buying some ‘real estate’ and outright pulverizing a sovereign state for no good reason. Yet Trump’s speculative interest in Greenland is not only a major insult to the people of Denmark, it carries the strong scent of danger. Indeed, the fact that this is not the first time Washington has shown an interest in owning Greenland should be of no small concern to Copenhagen. That is not to suggest, of course, that the Trump administration would consider a regime change operation anytime soon against Denmark, a fellow NATO member (albeit one that Trump has complained is behind on its membership dues, incidentally). Yet given Washington’s egregious global track record of late, nothing should be considered beyond the pale. After all, we are talking about an ‘exceptional’ nation here.

Although it is already well known that Harry S. Truman attempted to purchase Greenland in the aftermath of World War II, what is little known is that those efforts never really ceased. In May 2001, for example, National Review political reporter John J. Miller wrote a piece on the strategic importance of Greenland and the importance of the US owning it. To say the opinions expressed are shocking would be an understatement.

Writing at a time when the Bush administration was already considering the idea of withdrawing from the ABM Treaty in order to give Washington the ability to build an early-warning radar system in, yes, Greenland, there was just one nagging little problem according to Miller.

It's a shame a piddling little country like Denmark might hold so much sway over such an important national-security decision for the United States,” he wrote. “The Bush administration appears to be approaching the matter with an appropriate amount of diplomatic delicacy. But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to kowtow to the Danes at all?

Miller then had a masterstroke of genius, much like Donald Trump today: “Let's buy Greenland!” To bolster his argument he recalled how the US bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867, and Louisiana from the French in 1803. Then, almost as an afterthought, he wondered about the 60,000 inhabitants of the sprawling landmass, asking how they could be convinced to go along with the deal.

They acquired home rule in 1979, so these folks probably would have to sign off on the sale in some capacity, too,” Miller surmised. “Maybe we could promise them school choice.” In case anybody missed it that was supposed to be a joke. And probably about as funny as Trump’s indecent proposal this week, which resembled the intrigues of a corporate raider who tosses out some heavy bait and then waits for a bite. Next thing you know quaint and quiet Greenland will be erupting in miniature protests from ‘separatists’ seeking independence from distant Denmark. Stranger things have certainly happened.

At the same time, there are other contributing factors that greatly complicate the picture. First, the Americans – and not necessarily the nicest ones – have already been stationed on the island since the 1950s at Thule Air Base, which operates an early-warning system for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). As already mentioned, this is a very serious real estate from a strategic point of view.

The story gets better. Washington will certainly be looking to beef up its Arctic presence due to proven oil reserves there, which are a source of major competition among eight Arctic coastal states: Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark (via Greenland), Iceland, Sweden, Finland and the US.

Also on rt.com ‘That’s where the conversation ends’: Danish PM rebuffs Trump’s idea of buying Greenland

Needless to say, if the US somehow found a way to own Greenland – through hook or by crook – that would give it a much greater piece of the dwindling resource pie. For a businessman like Donald Trump, finding a way to acquire Greenland would certainly be the deal – or steal – of the century. Whether or not the people of Denmark would ever agree to parting with the world’s largest island is highly doubtful. However, when America’s supreme arrogance and exceptionalism are factored in with Trump’s ego, they may not have a choice in the matter.


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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.