The president is interested in purchasing Greenland.
…That’s correct. He reportedly wants to buy the self-governing territory from the Kingdom of Denmark. As the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday: “In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea.”
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Beyond the obvious — rich people love to own islands (See: Richard Branson, Larry Ellison, Johnny Depp), and Greenland happens to be the world’s largest island — what motivation might the president have for “acquiring” 836,300 square miles of fjord-riddled tundra floating in the middle of the North Atlantic? I’m glad you asked: Greenland has quite a bit to offer.
The Air Force already has an outpost in Greenland: Thule Air Base. The U.S.’s northernmost military installation, the base controls satellites, intercepts intercontinental ballistic missiles (theoretically), and, one imagines, given its proximity to the North Pole, provides a lot of crucial data to the NORAD Santa Tracker every Christmas.
China clearly sees the advantages of Greenland’s position — that’s why the country was interested in financing the construction of three airports on the island last year. (At the moment, only small propeller planes can land in the capital, Nuuk.) The Pentagon, rattled by the idea of China controlling airways on the island, intervened to spike the deal. The country will pay for the airports itself, with loans from the Danish government.
Proximity to New Shipping Routes
Global warming continues apace — this summer, scientists witnessed the Greenland ice sheet’s biggest melt in recorded history — and that means oceans will rise (bummer), but it also means new shipping lanes will open up on all sides of Greenland. Climate change may spell doom for untold numbers of Earthly species, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will gladly tell you, as he told the Arctic Council a few months ago, it’s also “a wonderful economic opportunity for international trade” — and one that the U.S. would be better positioned to cash in on if we owned Greenland.
Uranium and Rare Earth Reserves
Greenland is home to one of the largest reserves of uranium and rare earth metals anywhere in the world — and much of it has remained unexplored for decades due to permafrost and a prohibition only lifted in 2013. Guess who is the largest consumer of uranium? That’s right: the U.S., by a mile. There’s a word for that, it’s synergy.
The U.S. imports tens of millions of dollars of fish from Greenland every year. We’re talking cod, halibut, salmon, and enough shrimp to keep 39 Bubba Gump franchises nationwide in business for eons.
You may or may not be aware, but the world is running out of sand. As United Nations Environment Programme pointed out in a 2014 report, the current pace of sand mining already “greatly exceeds natural renewal rates” and “the amount being mined is increasing exponentially” every year. That’s a problem because it’s critically important for construction, agriculture, and beach restoration, among other things. Luckily, Greenland — again, thanks to climate change — has tons of it, and more is revealed every day as ice continues to melt.
Plus: Puffins! Heli-Skiing! The Northern Lights! Look, all I’m saying is: Greenland has a lot to offer, and I think the people of the United States should give this idea some serious thought. It might be the only good one Trump has ever had.
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