WSJ: Trump wants to buy Greenland

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by bone, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. bone

    bone ET Sponsor

    Trump Eyes a New Real-Estate Purchase: Greenland

    In conversations with aides, the president has—with varying degrees of seriousness—floated the idea of buying the autonomous Danish territory

    WASHINGTON—President Trump made his name on the world’s most famous island. Now he wants to buy the world’s biggest.

    The idea of the U.S. purchasing Greenland has captured the former real-estate developer’s imagination, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who said Mr. Trump has, with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest in buying the ice-covered autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

    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.

    Some of his advisers have supported the concept, saying it was a good economic play, two of the people said, while others dismissed it as a fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition. It is also unclear how the U.S. would go about acquiring Greenland even if the effort was serious.

    With a population of about 56,000, Greenland is a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and while its government decides on most domestic matters, foreign and security policy is handled by Copenhagen. Mr. Trump is scheduled to make his first visit to Denmark early next month, although the visit is unrelated, these people said.

    The White House and State Department didn’t respond to a request for comment. Officials with Denmark’s Royal House and the Danish embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did officials with Greenland’s representative office in Washington and Greenland’s prime minister’s office.

    While it is unclear how far the president will push the idea, U.S. officials view Greenland as important to American national-security interests. 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.

    The U.S. has sought to derail Chinese efforts to gain an economic foothold in Greenland. The Pentagon worked successfully in 2018 to block China from financing three airports on the island.

    People outside the White House have described purchasing Greenland as an Alaska-type acquisition for Mr. Trump’s legacy, advisers said. The few current and former White House officials who had even heard of the notion described it with a mix of anticipation and apprehension, since it remains unclear how far the president will push the idea.

    It unleashed a cascade of questions among his advisers, such as whether the U.S. could use Greenland to establish a stronger military presence in the Arctic, and what kind of research opportunities it might present.

    Though it has vast natural resources across its 811,000 square miles, Greenland relies on $591 million of subsidies from Denmark annually, which makes up about 60% of its annual budget, according to U.S. and Danish government statistics.

    Though Greenland is technically part of North America, it is culturally and politically linked to Europe. Following World War II, the U.S. under President Harry Truman developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland and in 1946 offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100 million. But Denmark refused to sell. And that was the second failed attempt—the State Department also launched an inquiry into buying Greenland and Iceland in 1867.

    At a dinner with associates last spring, Mr. Trump recounted that someone had told him at a roundtable that Denmark was having financial trouble over its assistance to Greenland, and suggested that he should consider buying the island, according to one of the people.

    “What do you guys think about that?” he asked the room, the person said. “Do you think it would work?”

    The person described the question less as a serious inquiry and more as a joke meant to indicate “I’m so powerful I could buy a country,” noting that since Mr. Trump hadn’t floated the idea at a campaign rally yet, he probably isn’t seriously considering it. The person believed the president was interested in the idea because of the island’s natural resources and because it would give him a legacy akin to former President Dwight Eisenhower’s admission of Alaska into the U.S. as a state.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to visit Greenland in May with the aim of discussing long-term peace and sustainable economic developments, particularly since “we’re concerned about activities of other nations, including China, that do not share these same commitments,” a senior State Department official said at the time. Mr. Pompeo was also scheduled to visit the New York Air National Guard in Kangerlussuaq, who provide support to U.S. scientists that are conducting research on Greenland’s ice cap.

    His entire trip was called off at the last minute due to escalating tensions with Iran.

    Kenneth Mortensen, a real-estate agent in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, said that the running joke in Greenland currently is that Mr. Trump is traveling to Denmark with the sole intention of buying their island. But he noted that Mr. Trump might run into some trouble.

    “You can never own land here,” Mr. Mortensen said, as all land is owned by the government. “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,” he added. “I’m not sure about that.”
    1. I think it's a good idea.
    2. I also think that 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces should become US states (Quebec would become its own country).
    3. The 3 Canadian territories could also become US states, or US territories.
  2. dozu888


    this would be a great achievement if he can pull it off!
  3. bone

    bone ET Sponsor

    So utterly bizarre it is vintage Trump.
    Overnight likes this.
  4. bone

    bone ET Sponsor

    Quite nearly happened during the War of 1812
  5. Sig


    You might find it interesting that the original Articles of Confederation gave the then existing Canadian territories the option to opt to become states. They declined at the time, pretty certain they would now as well. When the Articles were replaced by the Constitution they dropped the option, too bad because it would make for a fun discussion item if it was still buried somewhere today, kind of like the Third Amendment.
  6. Buy quebec also.
  7. There's less than 45k people in the northwest territories. Just send it the troops from buffalo ny and take them.
  8. Overnight


    The Danes should flip Trump the bird on this one.
    GiveMeABreak and d08 like this.
  9. The only thing he's pulling off is caving to china, all tariffs removed within weeks
    #10     Aug 15, 2019