President Trump has reportedly got his eye on purchasing Greenland, the autonomous Danish territory found between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Unfortunately for the former reality TV star and real-estate developer, this geological wonderland and strategic stepping stone isn't for sale.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Trump had privately discussed plans to buy Greenland in conversations with aides on numerous occasions. The claim was later backed up by a “Trump ally” to the Associated Press.
While the WSJ noted that he had spoken about the purchase with "varying degrees of seriousness,” it’s said that the President was attracted by the island’s large deposits of natural resources, including coal, zinc, copper, and iron ore. There's also its important strategic role (which we'll touch on later). Needless to say, Greenland has clearly stated it’s not on the market.
A handful of Danish and Greenlandic politicians have since made comments about the prospect of such a deal and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they weren’t exactly overjoyed at the notion.
Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the former Danish Prime Minister, tweeted: “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke.”
“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” spokesman Soren Espersen told broadcaster DR, according to Reuters.
"Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism," tweeted Greenland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.“
“We're open for business, not for sale,” they added.
The idea of buying Greenland might sound outlandish, but the US has held a curious geopolitical interest in Greenland for some time. Following the Second World War, the Truman administration offered to buy Greenland for $100 million in gold, primarily in the interest of having military bases on the island. Although they didn’t go ahead with the plan, the US Air Force still operates the Thule Air Base on the island.
It's also worth considering that China has been showing a growing interest in Greenland by bidding for contracts with the Greenland government. There was even some speculation that China was vying for a military base on the island.
The US famously bought Alaska from the Russian Empire for a cool $7.2 million in 1867. Following their defeat in the Crimean War, Russia was strapped for cash and felt Alaska would be impossible to defend in any future war. The US also bought the territory of Louisiana from France in 1803 and acquired the Danish West Indies, now named the United States Virgin Islands, off Denmark for $25 million in 1917.