Trump Considering Buying World’s Biggest Island
President Donald Trump wants to cement his legacy through adding the island of Greenland as a United States territory. This is what happens when you hire a real estate mogul to run a country, I guess. Denmark currently owns the island, which is geographically a part of the North American continent.
You people will make fun of it, but if we got Greenland, we'd have Russia surrounded from the east and the north pic.twitter.com/1cXinufEMc
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) August 15, 2019
According to The Wall Street Journal, President Trump has “repeatedly expressed interest” in the United States purchasing Greenland. ‘What do you guys think about that?’ Trump asked a table of associates last spring when the idea of buying the island first came to be, a source told the Wall Street Journal. ‘Do you think it would work?’
However, it’s unclear how exactly the U.S. would go about buying the largest island in the world after the U.S.’s two failed attempts by President Truman to buy it for $100million in 1946 and before that by the State Department in 1867.
Greenland, which has a population of roughly 56,000, has welcomed U.S. military personnel to its Thule Air Base as part of a treaty between the U.S. and Denmark that has been used by both U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and includes a ballistic missile radar station. Greenland came under the Norwegian crown in 1262; the Portuguese briefly claimed it at the start of the 16thcentury. In the early 1700’s, Denmark and Norway, which were joined under one crown, owned the island, but in 1814 when the union was dissolved, Denmark took control. In 1979, Denmark granted Greenland home rule. Denmark now handles Greenland’s foreign and security policy.
Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September. The Wall Street Journal notes, “A decades-old defense treaty between Denmark and the U.S. gives the U.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 U.S. ballistic missile early warning system. The base is also used by the U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.”
Trump’s idea isn’t new: In 1946, the Truman administration offered Denmark a cool $100 million for the 836,000 hunk o’ frigid dirt. In 1867, under Andrew Johnson, the State Department considered snagging it.
But Kenneth Mortensen — a real-estate agent in the island’s capital of Nuuk, told the Journal that buying the massive island’s a tricky proposition:
Seeing as Alaska has since become a successful, strategically important, and economically productive American state despite being distant from the American mainland, it’s very possible an integration of Greenland into the United States could be similarly successful.
Greenland is primarily populated by Inuit peoples, who have adapted to life in the island’s harsh arctic climate over many centuries. The territory has had a somewhat tenuous relationship with the Danish government recently, and polling indicates that a majority of Greenlandic people (64%) favor independence.
Joining the United States as a territory could represent a way for the people of Greenland to change their political status without taking the risks of declaring independence as a fully sovereign and new country. The island has a population of approximately 56,000, and is the least densely populated territory on Earth.
The last time the U.S. purchased Danish territory was in 1917 during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, when America paid Denmark $25 million for the Danish West Indies, now known as the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The island’s natural resources, spread across 811,000 square miles, could also be one of the key attractions for the president.
As the climate heats up and the arctic caps melt there has been widespread interest in what is thought to be a rich potential of mineral and energy resources – iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare-earth elements, uranium and oil.
Research shows Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012.
Both warmer air and warmer water are eating away at Greenland, causing it to lose billions of tons of ice daily in the summer.
And while a team of scientists and engineers are only just dropping probes into the ice to help figure out which is the bigger cause, water or air, one thing is certain, less ice could make the ability to uncover sub-earth treasures more feasible.
With less ice, access to this rich pool of resource beneath the land could become easier – making Greenland a territorial interest for the global powers.
Kenneth Mortensen, a real-estate agent in Nuuk, reminded the Journal that all land in Greenland is owned by the government, saying, “You can never own land here. In Greenland, you get a right to use the land where you want to build a house, but you can’t buy. Of course, buying Greenland is a different issue altogether; I’m not sure about that.”