What's the deal with buying Greenland?

 
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What's the deal with buying Greenland?

Based on most of the reports that I've seen, everyone thinks that President Trumps interest in purchasing Greenland was either insane, or just a bad idea.  And frankly, the idea isn't quite as odd as it appears at first blush.  In fact, Greenland has much to commend it for purchase.  Of course, neither the Danes or the Greenlanders are eager to do so, which makes it a bit of a non-starter, but it really isn't as odd as you might think.

But first, just what do people think of the idea?

After President Trump told advisers he was interested in buying the world's biggest island, a semi-autonomous nation affiliated with Denmark, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the idea "absurd." Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen said the island was "not for sale." Trump took offense at Frederiksen's language – he called her comment "nasty" – and canceled his trip to Denmark planned for next week. 

As it turns out, people in the United States seem to be in accord with those in Greenland. By a more than 3-1 margin, 61%-19%, those surveyed say the United States shouldn't take steps to buy Greenland. Even Republicans, who tend to support the president on most issues, are against the idea, 42%-27%.

Cynthia Lasserre, 81, a Republican from Marrero, Louisiana, finds the whole idea flummoxing. "I wonder why that came out," the retired teacher says. "It's like out of the blue."

"We might as well just invest that money in building infrastructure and helping what we have now instead of messing up Greenland," says Jose Yanes, 30, a Democrat from California who was among those surveyed.

So, not very wildly popular with almost anyone.  I get it.  But also not nearly as far fetched as you might think.  And, if reports are to be believed, it was actually the idea of a Legionnaire and a Boys Nation delegate (who also happens to be a US Senator now):

In the days after news of President Donald Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland emerged, the idea was derided as “absurd,” “completely insane” and “an April Fool’s Day joke.”

Now, one Republican senator has declared that he not only agrees — but he already pitched the idea to Denmark.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas proposed the idea to the Danish ambassador to the U.S. in August 2018, in a meeting in the senator’s office that had been arranged to discuss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, according to a spokeswoman for Cotton.

Now Cotton comes at this from a National Security standpoint, having served in the military and basically running on those bona fides:

Greenland, owned by the European nation of Denmark, has a population of just over 56,000 on the 836,300 square mile island. While its economy is primarily made up of fishing exports and is largely subsidized by Denmark, the land is considered rich in mineral resources.

The primary U.S. military base on Greenland is Thule Air Base, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The base is home to the 21st Space Wing’s global network of sensors providing missile warning, space surveillance and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command and Air Force Space Command.

Cotton said Greenland’s mineral reserves and its strategic location make it an ideal strategy move for the U.S., noting that such reasons are why President Harry Truman offered $100 million in the 1940s. Cotton told the Red & Blue crowd that Greenland’s “economic potential is untold,” and the island is “vital to our national security.”

“Anyone who can’t see that is blinded by Trump derangement,” he said.

Mainly I suspect, most people just have no idea why we'd want Greenland.  Most probably don't know about the Rare Earth resources there:

The US recently signed a memorandum to co-operate with the autonomous territory on rare earth mining in order to promote investment in the sector, amid wider efforts to secure alternative supplies after China hinted that it could constrict exports to the US.

Greenland is estimated to hold 38.5m tonnes of rare earth oxides, while total reserves for the rest of the world stand at 120m tonnes.

More on that from WaPo:

The president’s idea of buying Greenland is far from absurd. Today we have a military base in Greenland, so there is no need to buy it for that purpose. But Greenland has enormous unexplored stores of natural resources, including zinc, lead, gold, iron ore, diamonds, copper and uranium, that Denmark has been unable or unwilling to exploit

It also has large, untapped stores of rare-earth elements, such as praseodymium or dysprosium, that are critical to the production of everything from electric cars to smartphones and lasers. Today, the United States gets many of these rare-earth elements from China, which makes Americans dependent on Beijing. The Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing may cut off access to those minerals in its trade dispute with Washington, and China is also trying to corner the market for rare-earth elements in Greenland. Buying Greenland would put those strategically valuable minerals in U.S. hands.

I was mostly interested in the Greenland purchase story because I went there....in the middle of February...  When it was -57 degrees everyday and my beard froze every time I went outside:

The motto of the 821st Air Base Group at Thule Air Base in northern Greenland is Venimus conglaciati vicimus – “we came, we froze, we conquered.” The words resonate for first-time visitors within minutes of stepping off the plane.

Just how far north is Thule? If you want a good view of the aurora borealis – the famed northern lights – you have to hope for a clear evening and then look to the south, because it is significantly closer to the equator. Magnetic north? From Thule, the compass will point just south of due west.

Thule is located in the Qaasuitsup municipality in northwest Greenland, which in the native Inuit language means “place of polar darkness.” It once had a village of fewer than 20 huts, named Pittufik (“the place where the sled dogs are tied”). To the north is Wolstenholme Fjord, the only spot on earth where three active glaciers join together.

The closest neighbors to Thule Air Base are four villages of the Qaanaaq region, roughly 100 kilometers away. Three of those villages have fewer than 50 people, while the other has about 400. In fact, the entire population of Greenland is only 63,000, or roughly half the population of Kenosha, Wis. The capital of Greenland, Nuuk, is some 1,500 miles south of Thule Air Base, accessible only by dogsled or air.

So anyway, it's not as crazy as it might appear at first glance.

But it's also apparently not going to happen, alas for us.  

Posted in the burner | 9 comments
 
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Comments

If China or Russia appeared as bidders for Greenland, minds would change. An auction could become very pricey. Having the Chinese in the Arctic is more-the-merrier.
Negative reactions are proof of a failing education system.

Why is this a Veteran issue?

The idea of purchase may be a non-starter but with increased Russian activity in the area and an interest being shown by China, it might be time for closer relations with Denmark, to include a treaty expressly dealing with Greenland. This could also set out specific provisions for closer commercial and military coordination by both countries and the territory.

In my opinion there is one main reason why Trump was to buy Greenland. Once it is in US hands, Trump will divide it into a number of states, each with a large military base as the capital. Each of these states will have two senators, giving the Republicans a permanent lock on the Upper Chamber.

Didn't Seward want to purchase Greenland in 1868 when at the same time the U.S. bought Alaska? Not such a new idea at all.

Again, how is this a Veteran issue? I am well aware of history. Answer: This is a political issue and not an American Legion issue.

It is a National Security issue, as I noted the national security implications.  And one of the four pillars of the American Legion is National Security.  If you read through our resolutions on the Legion website you will find any number of things that deal with National Security, Americanism, Children and Youth, as well as Veterans.

In fact, here is our resolution on Rare Earth Minerals:

https://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.12203/5666/2016N033.p...

RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Cincinnati, Ohio, August 30, 31, September 1, 2016, That The American Legion urge Congress to continue to require the Department of Defense to provide regular assessments of the needs of the U.S. rare earth supply-chain for defense and require the Defense Secretary to have a long-term rare-earth supply plan in the interest of national defense.

Lets trade for CA.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.