Politics

Prime Minister Calls Trump’s Idea to Buy Greenland “Absurd”

Published on August 19, 2019 by Athena Pallas

“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over,” said Denmark’s prime minister regarding President Trump’s idea to buy Greenland from Denmark, an idea which Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also called “absurd”, according to The Hill. Frederiksen, who became Denmark’s prime minister in June of this year and has been the country’s Leader of the Social Democrats party since 2015, was reacting to Trump’s comments that he would be interested in having the United States buy Greenland from Denmark.

Greenland is a semi-autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark – it was granted home rule by Denmark in 1979 and has been moving toward handling all of its own affairs, although some aspects of its government, including foreign affairs and defense, are currently still handled by Denmark. Frederiksen also remarked on Greenland’s autonomy in her remarks, saying, according to The Hill, “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic,” while also expressing the hope that Trump’s comments are not meant seriously, but are instead some sort of joke, saying “I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant.” Trump certainly did not seem to be joking, and has also made the comments more than once, but thankfully Greenland is not for sale. According to The Hill:

Denmark’s prime minister said Sunday that the idea recently floated by President Trump to buy Greenland is “absurd.” During a visit to Greenland, a Danish territory, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen rebuffed the notion that the world’s largest island is up for sale, according to The Associated Press. …Trump on Sunday told reporters that buying Greenland is a “strategically” interesting idea and compared the proposition to a “large real estate deal.” “Strategically, it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No. 1 on the burner, I can tell you that,” Trump said.

Greenland has extensive natural resources, which likely account for the appeal to President Trump. Trump is scheduled to visit Denmark early next month, at which point we will see if he still is still talking about wanting to buy a country that is not for sale. More and more of the Arctic has become available for the exploitation of natural resources as a consequence of climate change. Greenland’s thick ice sheet still makes large areas of its interior difficult to access for mining and drilling, but as the ice sheet melts, more areas will become accessible. According to AP News:

Frederiksen said Sunday that the Arctic, with resources that Russia and others could exploit for commercial gain, “is becoming increasingly important to the entire world community.”…Retreating ice could uncover potential oil and mineral resources in Greenland which, if successfully tapped, could dramatically change the island’s fortunes. However, no oil has yet been found in Greenlandic waters and 80% of the island is covered by an ice sheet that is up to 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) thick, which means exploration is only possible in coastal regions. Even there, conditions are far from ideal, due to the long winter with frozen ports, 24-hour darkness and temperatures regularly dropping below minus 20 Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) in the northern parts.

It certainly is odd that President Trump makes these sorts of comments publicly, without checking first to see if it would even be possible to buy Greenland. It is not possible – Greenland is not for sale to the United States or to anyone. Trump seems again to have succeeded only in making himself look uninformed and foolish – or perhaps he intentionally said this foolish thing just for the attention, or to divert attention away from other news he doesn’t like, such as the stock market tumble amid fears that there may be a recession starting soon, possibly before the 2020 election, which would certainly dim Trump’s reelection prospects further.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.