Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Donald Trump Eyes Real-estate Purchase

Greenland may technically be part of North America, but it is culturally and politically linked to Europe. Image credit: WOCHIT

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump is eyeing a real-estate purchase. The mostly ice-covered self-governed Danish protectorate between North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Greenland. 

In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations with his company of cronies, Trump (left) was said to have floated the idea of the US buying the 2.166 million sq km territory. Like everything, this was also being framed as “maybe a joke,” which is insane, like everything else about his presidency. 

Maybe, it is not as crazy as it sounds. 

There had been two failed attempts to acquire the world’s largest island. In 1867, the US launched an inquiry into buying Greenland and Iceland – but it didn’t work out. Following World War II, the US under President Harry Truman had developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland and in 1946 offered to buy it from Denmark for $100 million. But Denmark refused to sell. 

It is noteworthy to mention that US officials view Greenland as important to American national-security interests. A decades-old defense treaty between Denmark and the US gives the latter’s military virtually unlimited rights in Greenland at America’s northernmost base, Thule Air Base. Located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it includes a radar station that is part of a US ballistic missile early-warning system. The base is also used by the US Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. 

And the US had sought to derail Chinese efforts to gain an economic foothold in Greenland. In fact, the Pentagon worked successfully in 2018 to block China from financing three airports on the island. 

Although it has vast natural resources, Greenland still must rely on $591 million of subsidies from Denmark annually, which make up about 60% of its annual budget, according to US and Danish government statistics. 

Some people outside the White House had said that acquiring Greenland would give Trump a legacy akin to President Dwight Eisenhower’s admission of Alaska into the US as a state in 1959. [FYI, Alaska was a Russian colony from 1744 until the USA bought it in 1867 for $7,200,000]. 

Anyway, Trump did confirm on Sunday the veracity of the above report although he admitted such a move was not an immediate priority.

Greenland's government promptly dismissed the idea, maintaining: "We're open for business, not for sale".

And Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (left) had made it clear too on that same Sunday that the idea of selling Greenland to the United States is absurd.

Did you hear her, Trump? She used the word "Absurd".

Sorry, Trump, you ain't gonna make this real-estate purchase after all!

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