No thanks, we're not for sale
August 17, 2019 5:33 AM   Subscribe

The dealmaster in chief wants to buy some prime real estate, but no one is selling Thursday, WSJ broke the news that Trump has expressed interest in buying Greenland. It's behind a paywall, but the other news outlets were fast to bring their own stories (CNN)

Danish politicians thought it had to be a joke, or that Trump had gone mad. Twitter had a field day.
(From the Newsweek article quoted above)
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had been told by a guest at a dinner with associates that Denmark was struggling to pay the nearly $600 million annual subsidy it gives the island, which is part of its kingdom.

The guest suggested that Trump should buy it, to which the president reportedly replied: "What do you guys think about that? Do you think it would work?"

Some advisers backed the idea, believing it could leave a legacy similar to that of the U.S. acquisition of Alaska from Russia in 1867, the paper said, and that its vast natural resources make it an attractive proposition.
Which is an interesting glance into the Trump administration decision-making proces. A functioning State Department would have been able to dismiss the notion that Denmark is struggling economically with anything, let alone Greenland, or that self-governing Greenland can be sold.
A commenter in the Washington Post has an interesting perspective, though: Why is Trump trying to import Greenlandic socialism?
We don’t know much about what Trump would do with Greenland, but given its veto power, it would probably want some deal-sweeteners. Would the proud Greenlanders settle for status as a mere U.S. territory with no votes in Congress or for president? That seems unlikely. So let’s assume for the moment that it would need to be the 51st state. (How can you make the world’s largest island anything but, after all?)
Despite this being Trump’s idea, that’s something Democrats could probably get behind. That’s because the island is full of socialists who would probably elect left-leaning U.S. senators.

Greenland previously on MetaFilter, including puppies
posted by mumimor (157 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why Trump Can’t Buy Greenland (Scott R. Anderson, Lawfare): "Beginning with the 1978 Home Rule Act, the Kingdom of Denmark has gradually allowed Greenland to exercise self-government over a greater sphere of its affairs...The legislation authorized Greenland to enter into international agreements on its own regarding matters that solely affect Greenland’s interests, while setting up consultation requirements for any international agreements that Denmark may wish to pursue that implicate Greenland...Under the 2009 act, it seems unlikely that Denmark views itself as having the legal authority to enter into a treaty effectuating such a “sale” without the permission of Greenland’s parliament."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:57 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Millennials may have "killed" a lot of things, but it's obvious Trump has killed satire.
posted by tommasz at 6:02 AM on August 17, 2019 [49 favorites]


Just saw this earlier on twitter:
This land is your land

This land is my land

That land is Greenland

That should be our land

And for a moment I took this seriously.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:07 AM on August 17, 2019 [11 favorites]


One thing that was notably aggravating about the first cycle of English language news articles about this was that journalists didn’t think to actually get a response from the government or people of Greenland. It wasn’t until after the government had responded by tweet that Greenlanders became part of the story.
posted by Kattullus at 6:13 AM on August 17, 2019 [46 favorites]


tommasz: "Millennials may have "killed" a lot of things, but it's obvious Trump has killed satire."

Good god this. There's just no way that you could construct a sentence that's too stupid and/or crazy to potentially be something that Trump might say.
posted by octothorpe at 6:15 AM on August 17, 2019 [29 favorites]


And for a moment I took this seriously.

I will say that Andy Borowitz seems to have found his stride and manages to write things that seem just absurd enough to be maybe plausible for this shambolic administration.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:19 AM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


We Buy Autonomous Danish Territories For Cash!!!!!
202-456-1111!!!!
posted by carter at 6:27 AM on August 17, 2019 [58 favorites]


just absurd enough to be maybe plausible for this shambolic administration

Exactly. It could have plausibly been a humorous response from the Danish government, because how else can you respond to such a proposition anyway?
"he’s gone mad" doesn’t quite capture it...
posted by bitteschoen at 6:28 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


The US wanted to buy Iceland too at one point. It wanted to buy both again in the Second World War, to better protect the shipping lanes to Europe.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


1978 Lex Luthor:

1- buy worthless real estate (California desert)
2- nuke California coast, sinking coastline into ocean and turning desert property into coastal property
3- profit!

2019 Lex Luthor:

1- buy worthless real estate (frozen Greenland)
2- pump CO2 into atmosphere, melting away glaciers and turning frozen property into coastal and habitable property
3- profit!
posted by flarbuse at 6:39 AM on August 17, 2019 [28 favorites]


One thing that was notably aggravating about the first cycle of English language news articles about this was that journalists didn’t think to actually get a response from the government or people of Greenland. It wasn’t until after the government had responded by tweet that Greenlanders became part of the story.
Yes, I thought about posting some Danish-language articles about the deeper implications of this, but gave up. In my opinion, this may be a blessing in disguise, because there are certainly people in Greenland who imagine they might be better off as a 51st state of America. Now that it's out there, wise people from Greenland can go out and address it directly, comparing the situation in Greenland to that in Alaska, and they do.
The thing is, there is a strong anti colonial spirit against Denmark in Greenland, and obviously, that is fair and right. Denmark has done terrible things in Greenland. But the only alternative to being part of the kingdom is to be very closely entwined with either Canada or the US, because Greenland, as a country of 58.000 people, cannot defend its coastline and marine rights. Everyone who has given it a bit of thought knows that, but because of the emotions involved, it has been hard for Greenlandic leaders to be loud and clear about it. Because Trump is who he is, this is the perfect opportunity to address the union anew.

Exactly. It could have plausibly been a humorous response from the Danish government, because how else can you respond to such a proposition anyway?
"he’s gone mad" doesn’t quite capture it...

Actually, when the story broke, quite a few of the politicians seemed a bit nervous. Trump is coming to Denmark soon, and I don't think they know how to deal with it. Will we be hit by crazy tariffs when we say no? Or will he send gangsters with horse heads? Or something like that? Incidentally, the guy who said Trump has gone mad, is the one who is most aligned with Trump politically, and often the one who comes on TV to defend Trump. So it's quite harsh. For the Greenlandic politician, the situation is even more vulnerable. For the first time ever, they are going to have direct talks with the US delegation, and I think they can feel the heat after this absurd proposition.
posted by mumimor at 6:42 AM on August 17, 2019 [23 favorites]


The US wanted to buy Iceland too at one point.
There's are many examples of the US having considered, or having done the very things Trump has crowed about at some point. He's a bullying, narcissistic, racist privileged gaslighting rich kid, but our nation has been one for many many years.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:43 AM on August 17, 2019 [22 favorites]


Trump just hears the name “Greenland” and thinks it would be the perfect place for a golf course.
posted by valkane at 6:43 AM on August 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


I’d also almost believe this was a guerrilla marketing campaign by Greenland for more tourism - trolling POTUS to get headlines by planting the idea. But the timing isn’t right with autumn approaching.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:46 AM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


The most popular article I have ever written, in terms of views, has been, by far, “10 Places that Should Join the U.S.,” a short piece at RealClearHistory pining for an enlarged geographic area under the American constitution.
posted by robbyrobs at 6:47 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


There are very good reasons for the US to want to buy Greenland. It makes sense. Trump is not being stupid for having the thought, he is being stupid for not knowing why it is not possible. (Main reason: Greenland is an independent nation, not just a big piece of land owned by Denmark).
posted by mumimor at 6:49 AM on August 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


The most popular article I have ever written, in terms of views, has been, by far, “10 Places that Should Join the U.S.,” a short piece at RealClearHistory pining for an enlarged geographic area under the American constitution.
Man, that should come with a trigger warning.
posted by mumimor at 6:58 AM on August 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


Where else are you going to put 30-50 feral hogs?
posted by debgpi at 6:58 AM on August 17, 2019 [34 favorites]


Trump is not being stupid for having the thought

But to be fair he didn’t have the thought. He simply had someone tell him it was an idea. He parroted it. It’s like saying the wall socket produces electricity.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:00 AM on August 17, 2019 [42 favorites]


If he wants a 51st U.S. state maybe he could start with the one the White House is in. *grumble grumble*
posted by sallybrown at 7:05 AM on August 17, 2019 [37 favorites]


The likely base of this notion is more apocalyptic capitalism: Global warming is melting away the glaciers on Greenland at an ever-increasing rate, which, if left unchecked, will reveal access to unprecedented potential petro & mineral wealth, to be auctioned off at free-for-all BLM rates to business supporters, who will proceed to denude the island of its mineral wealth, while the poor in the world’s coastal cities literally drown under the meltwater.

This is conceptually an existential threat to mankind in the quest of short-term profits, otherwise known these days as business as usual.

I would say thank G*d such a thing could never come to pass, except I’m concerned that every time I’ve thought that in the last 4 years, I’ve had the boundaries of my sense of absurdity pushed right off a fucking cliff.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:10 AM on August 17, 2019 [34 favorites]


It's likely mostly about access to off-shore oil and gas, at least in the short term. In the medium term, it's about the US controlling both ends of the North-West Passage, which is akin to owning the Panama or Suez canals.
posted by bonehead at 7:18 AM on August 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's funny now, until Greenlanders start getting American passports in the mail.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:23 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Anything that gets more people talking about the Gall-Peters projection is a good thing.
posted by peeedro at 7:24 AM on August 17, 2019 [17 favorites]


Not sure why or why now, this would be a good idea. But, thinking about it - isnt a huge portion of the USA comprised of land either purchased from other countries or annexed? (Thinking Alaska, Texas, Louisiana Purchase, etc)
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:24 AM on August 17, 2019


Greenland also has a lot of sand, and rare minerals.
posted by mumimor at 7:25 AM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


there's got to be some way for greenland to exploit this. they've got a confused extremely conservative senior citizen who doesn't know how the world works on the hook; his demographic is the perfect target for scams.

they should tell him they're very interested in selling. then they should start sending him emails along these lines:
dear honored mr. president donald trump,

i am kim kielsun, the crown prince of the sovereign christian country of greenland. upon consultation with the people of my country we have decided to become a teritory of the united states for free! we want you to build many golf courses on our beautiful green lands! but international law requires that for the transaction to take place, you msut first deposit 200,000 dollars usd in the following bank account: [bank account here]. if your bank cannot arrange for such a transfer, greenalnd can also accept amazon.com gift cards or steam gift cards.

we have great hopes of doing many lucrative businesses with you, mr. deals president donald trump!

yours in christ,
kielsun kim
and then just keep him going as long as possible. increase the amount of money each time. make up u.n. regulations requiring him to give more and more money. claim that he's won the international lottery of nuuk and just has to make one small deposit of 100,000 dollars to collect his winnings. say that the elderly margrave of thule has just died and wants to give trump his entire estate valued at 200,350,503 dollars usd but that for his account to be unfrozen (it is very cold in greenlandic banks) trump must first deposit 1.5 million dollars usd in it.

the sky is the limit, greenland. this is your big chance.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2019 [96 favorites]


Anything that gets more people talking about the Gall-Peters projection is a good thing

Christ - don’t have him looking at maps. Before you know it someone will tell him about the Antarctic Treaty and he’ll withdraw (citing it as a “terrible deal” of course) and make a claim to all of Antartica.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:31 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Ugh. Can we just not? It's obvious he's not even trying with this one. And yet here we are falling for yet another distraction. How about this for a headline: "President says something so fucking asinine to distract from all his crimes that we're not even going to repeat it"
posted by sexyrobot at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2019 [28 favorites]


> Ugh. Can we just not?

i think it is best that we not but also i low-key wish greenland actually would run a 419 scam on the fucker. just, like, send it as an official diplomatic correspondence, get it written up as a news-of-the-weird story in as many outlets as possible, raise greenland's international profile a little bit. and then buy a bunch of ads in like grapevine.is or whatever. establish the idea that the act of visiting greenland is itself a way to troll donald trump, and watch that sweet tourist cash roll in.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:48 AM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


I happened to be on Twitter the split second this hit the wires and got a refresher course in the inanity of insta-hot-takes. "Trump just wants more white voters!" "This will double our territory size!" Just. Ow.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:49 AM on August 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Christ - don’t have him looking at maps.

I think the thing we can all agree on is that there's little danger he "looks at maps."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:51 AM on August 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


You just know that he thought "...That's where I could store all the migrants!"
posted by delfin at 7:53 AM on August 17, 2019


You just know that he thought "...That's where I could store all the migrants!"

That was my initial thought. First the migrants, then other "undesirables" who happen to have the "wrong" skin color, religion, gender identity, political affiliation, profession, and so on.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:08 AM on August 17, 2019


The president was at a dinner party, was asked a question, and asked his advisors what they thought. I would normally say this is a non-story, but it's Trump so who knows?

On Trump Reddit members have speculated that this is Trump's genius plan for finding somewhere to send refugees and immigrants. :-(

I wonder if he will start seriously considering the idea that buying foreign land is a presidential power (I think?), and therefore all he has to do is buy some land where there are large numbers of white conservative voters to win the election and keep himself out of jail.
posted by xammerboy at 8:28 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


That's some keen trolling by Trump's own advisors if they're encouraging him to view his legacy on a par with Andrew Johnson's (under whose administration the Alaska Purchase was ratified). From UVA's Miller Center:
For the most part, historians view Andrew Johnson as the worst possible person to have served as President at the end of the American Civil War. Because of his gross incompetence in federal office and his incredible miscalculation of the extent of public support for his policies, Johnson is judged as a great failure... He is viewed to have been a rigid, dictatorial racist who was unable to compromise or to accept a political reality at odds with his own ideas.
posted by theory at 8:33 AM on August 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


This is a truly great opportunity for scams targeting the racist shithead demographic and I am disappointed that Indiegogo isn't flooded with Greenland Real Estate Investment Funds.
posted by aramaic at 8:39 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wonder if he will start seriously considering the idea that buying foreign land is a presidential power (I think?), and therefore all he has to do is buy some land where there are large numbers of white conservative voters to win the election and keep himself out of jail.

The purchases of Alaska and Hawaii and the Louisiana Purchase were done by treaty, which requires Senate ratification by a 2/3 vote (as opposed to simple majority). In those cases and for U.S. territories, Congress passed legislation granting citizenship to anyone born after a certain date in the area—I believe it was the date the region was incorporated into the U.S. I don’t think it’s something Trump could do alone or that he’d be able to scoop up votes that way.
posted by sallybrown at 8:48 AM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Greenland is not a place with large numbers of white conservative voters, and TBH, I can't think of anywhere he could buy that has those people. Poland? Hungary? They have the white conservatives, but I don't think they are up for sale. Like I mentioned above, the person who called Trump crazy is one of the white conservative Danes who mostly agrees with Trump.

Can we not do this?
From a Greenland/Denmark point of view, this is not amusing. It's a real threat to an indigenous community. It's funny but not funny.
posted by mumimor at 8:58 AM on August 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


Millennials may have "killed" a lot of things, but it's obvious Trump has killed satire.

IIRC, Tom Lehrer said, "Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
posted by mikelieman at 9:01 AM on August 17, 2019 [23 favorites]


Trump’s leering glances toward Greenland made clear in less than 24 hours why America and the rest of the globe’s major powers continue to be postcolonial in name only. Where the leading topic should be the protection of Indigenous populations and the crucial natural communities they serve and sustain, there is instead talk of square footage, potential monetary gain, and opportune militaristic strategy.

Now, those waiting for President Trump to be interested in Indigenous issues are likely also waiting for free cheeseburgers to fall from the sky. This is, after all, the man who tapped the oil crony to run the Department of the Interior, who insulted Diné (Navajo) World War II code-talkers, and whose sole connection with the Indigenous people is using a godawful Disney movie as a political insult. The bar of expectations was placed on the ground, and then a hole was dug to bury it deeper.

But it is worth examining how the rest of American society, and specifically the American media, handles cases such as these. The short answer is that the conversation goes the exact same way as it goes in Trump’s rattling mind.
The Colonizers Have Turned Their Eyes to Greenland (New Republic)
posted by bitteschoen at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2019 [12 favorites]


i think it is best that we not but also i low-key wish greenland actually would run a 419 scam on the fucker.

I feel like Trump has probably been scammed a lot, actually? But he never pays for anything himself and his brain is mush, so it's not like he'll ever learn his lesson. Your plan would either result in a massive wealth transfer to Greenland from American military emergency defense funds or Deutsche Bank. Which...is probably fair.

There is an 95% chance that Trump will mention this twice more at various dinners (in an increasingly garbled fashion), then forget about it entirely. His weasel staff won't bring it up, and Greenland wasn't important to the US in the 1980s so Trump won't think about it himself. I know "there is a 95% chance this tiger will not attack you" is not the most reassuring thing to hear, but as long as there are no crowds chanting "BUY GREENLAND" in the rural midwest, Denmark and Greenland are never going to hear about this again.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:13 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


This made me even gloomier about the future than usual.

Because it shows that Trump is not a Global Warming denier, and that he's doing everything he can to make it worse on purpose.

And that purpose appears to embrace genocide vaster and more comprehensive than anything we've seen before, because as Greenland becomes more habitable, the tropics, where so much of the world's population of people of color live, will become much less habitable, and Trumpist America, Putinist Russia, and white nationalist Northern Europe sure as hell (and high water) aren't going to let them in.
posted by jamjam at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Greenland is not a place with large numbers of white conservative voters, and TBH, I can't think of anywhere he could buy that has those people. Poland? Hungary?

Greenland is leftist, and not that white is my understanding.

But why not Poland? Poland might be interested in sharing some space with the most powerful military on earth given its history. There are other benefits as well: the influx of investment money, dual citizenship perhaps, etc. Putin could be interested in offloading some useless land for the right price. Anywhere in Eastern Europe would do.

I don't seriously think it will happen, but it's just the kind of "you can't do that - omg he's doing that" stunt Trump would pull. My real point was that some kind of zany off the cuff comment like this wouldn't be serious news if not for Trump's utter unpredictability.
posted by xammerboy at 9:45 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


people who had no legal concept of land ownership

So this part basically never happened, or at least not like that. Most often the American Indians were the ones who did have such a legal concept, and (for one example from the Red River area around Minnesota where I have some specific knowledge) were very clear about the fact they were selling transit rights only, not land ownership. It was the U.S. government and/or settlers who had no concept of Native legal ownership of land who were the ones who treated that as carte blanche toward the newly-accessible land, Natives pressed the point, and the U.S. Army was sent in to press its point. Repeat 100 miles further west from 1492 until 2019 and you have the entire history of the genocide, more or less.
posted by traveler_ at 9:49 AM on August 17, 2019 [35 favorites]


<For god’s sake he’s not trying to create a distraction , or store migrants , or expand into minerals, or even “have a legacy”. Greenland was in the news and his pudding brain seized on it and no one can tell King Baby no or go against him cause he only has momentary focus away from his sundowning dementia or tertiary syphillis when he’s mad. The fact that we all have to live inside this dying boomer’s brain as the planet runs out of the ability to support life is just the perfect, best metaphor, folks you love to see it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on August 17, 2019 [38 favorites]


Hey remember when the news was about the president having to pass a test to see if he could tell what a giraffe was? Whatever came of that? Anything?
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


But it is worth examining how the rest of American society, and specifically the American media, handles cases such as these. The short answer is that the conversation goes the exact same way as it goes in Trump’s rattling mind.

This is what I was getting at. Trump throws a lot of crazy ideas to his base and the media. If one of them gets traction, he picks it up and runs with it. I don't even think Trump was being serious, but if his base decides that buying some land and using it as a new cheap manufacturing base / prison planet is a great idea, he'll run with it. It will be the new crazy emergency idea everyone has to talk about and will suck up all the oxygen out of the 2020 campaign conversations.
posted by xammerboy at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Greenland has around 56,500 residents total, about 88% of whom are Inuit and virtually of whom are socialist.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:57 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]




If I ever get a chance to ask Trump a question, I'd ask him about vibranium exports from Wakanda. Because you know that shitbag would make up an answer.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2019 [11 favorites]


I know as much as anyone on MetaFilter, but my interpretation of the situation is that
1) Trump is going to Denmark, he has no idea why
2) Administration tries to educate him by inviting Trump-friendly businesspeople to talk about Denmark at dinner.
3) For the US, the most important thing about Denmark is Greenland (which is a true fact)
4) Idiot business person claims that Denmark is struggling to finance Greenland (which is just rubbish and your daily reminder that rich people can be stupid)
5) Trump thinks he can cut a deal (which is funny and not funny)
6) Aides have no idea what to do about this, but also now realize they have created a problem that cannot be solved in house
7) Aides leak it to the WSJ in hope of stopping the crazy before Trump meets the Danes and his staff meet the Greenlandic government.
8) Unless there is a sudden "buy Greenland" surge on twitter, the aides are succesfull in their endeavor, but Greenlandic and Danish politicians and diplomats are rattled, as are their colleagues in other vulnerable countries.

Rinse and repeat.
posted by mumimor at 10:08 AM on August 17, 2019 [16 favorites]




Greenland has the power in this negotiation. If they were going to go ahead for the lulz they shouldn't be pushing for statehood. They should be pushing for four statehoods. That would get them a decent balance of power and it would also work to discourage their state from becoming an "undesirable" dumping ground. Dump too many immigrants in Green land and suddenly they've got even more senate votes.
posted by Mitheral at 10:10 AM on August 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


I mean, it's no Hans Island.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:25 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


The most popular article I have ever written, in terms of views, has been, by far, “10 Places that Should Join the U.S.,” a short piece at RealClearHistory pining for an enlarged geographic area under the American constitution.

Military protection and the rule of law wouldn’t be enough, on their own, to persuade these states [Canadian prairie provinces] into joining the Federation of Free States.
What exactly do you think is happening in Canada? The only people we have to fear militarily is the US and if anything we have more actual rule of law. EG: the wikipedia "Mass shootings in Canada" page, while not comprehensive, has eleven entries, most of those barely make the cut off, and they had to go back to 1975 for the eleventh entry (total body count less than the Orlando nightclub shooting). The American Page has thirteen entries for 2019 alone. The whole point in Canada is peace, order, and good government.

Practically while we jokingly call Alberta Texas north they also elected an NDP government last cycle. The other two provinces regularly vote in NDP or Liberal governments. No way you are going to get the GOP states to vote in five far left (to Americans) and one conservative senator to dilute their power. Plus the example of federally funded single payer health insurance which would be a requirement in any deal. Cripes Manitoba and Saskatchewan have Crown controlled single payer Car insurance. Finally weed is federally legal and good luck getting people to vote to return to a quasi legal status that exists where it is "legal" in the US.
posted by Mitheral at 10:49 AM on August 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


Without Greenland would Denmark lose its seat in the Arctic Council? Could this harebrained idea also be the result of Russian meddling?
posted by St. Oops at 10:56 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


The whole point in Canada is peace, order, and good government. Well, aside from that Provence which is owned by one family and controls all its news and pours so much pollution around it leads the country in new cancer cases.
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on August 17, 2019


Greenlandets must find it tremendously insulting that they said flatly that the US buying their land is not possible, not welcome, and not ever going to happen but still a hefty chunk of the coverage is speculation on how such a sale would work, what it would mean, etc.

No means no.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:47 AM on August 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


I’m surprised at the confidence by some in this thread that it can’t happen. Now I’m wondering what the Venn diagram overlap is between those people and the people who thought we’d never have a gameshow host as president.
posted by joedan at 12:07 PM on August 17, 2019


Is the idea that the US can buy Greenland patently stupid? Yes. But like so much of what Trump does, if you hold your nose and squint in just the right light, you can catch the glimpse of something powerful and captivating - in this case, the dream of being part of an expanding nation that spreads democracy and freedom to all corners of an embattled world, a benevolent union that works for the betterment of all mankind. I wish I lived in that country, and I hope one day such a country exists behind the flag I was born under.

Of course I know that won't ever f**king happen, because that's exactly what colonialism is built from. So instead, I'll just be glad the Danes aren't as evil as we would be. We don't live in the worst of all timelines for Greenland. There's some hope in that.
posted by saysthis at 12:08 PM on August 17, 2019


Given the Argentinian currency crash, maybe they could offer to sell their historic rights to the Malvinas/Falkland islands to the US for a few billion (play to Trump’s history and tell him that he could be like a landlord and enforce rent / evict the current tenant ). Then the US could capitalize on a weakened U.K. post Brexit to pressure Borris into handing the Islands over to the US in exchange for a favorable trade arrangement. Argentina gets cash for an asset they will probably never get access to anyway, U.K. gets a trade deal and a desperate Borris gets a win (spinning the handover as a strategic relationship and partnership expanding a newly free UK’s power to the world), and Trump gets a new south Atlantic golf course military base to expand power and be his legacy. Not saying I’d want any of this to happen - but may as well get some writer’s credit in the event it does
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:54 PM on August 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


The U.S. already has, and has long had, a military presence in Greenland: Thule Air Base. They lost a few nukes up there once, predictably. So Trump, being a sort of oracular fool who often says out loud what political decorum regards as things best kept quiet, offers us a useful reminder that U.S. power long ago arrogated to itself the right to do what it wants.
posted by a certain Sysoi Pafnut'evich at 12:57 PM on August 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Yeah, among the bad things the Danes did to Greenland was to allow the Thule Air Base. To be fair to the Danish government of the time, they probably didn't really have a choice. But the bad thing was that they lied about it, both to the Greenlandic people and the Danish People, neither of whom would have accepted nuclear weapons there.
The Air Base is still there, albeit not at the scale of the Cold War base. But it is one reason Greenlandic and Danish politicians are not entirely jokey about this.
posted by mumimor at 1:18 PM on August 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


I hadn’t counted before but there at least 37 countries (or self governing territories etc) that have US military bases.

Maybe Trump should go all in and offer to buy Australia. I mean it’s already a state based federal system, almost the same size as the lower 48, with a couple of US military bases, and as a bonus even has a better “golf holes per capita” score than the US.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:22 PM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]



I’m surprised at the confidence by some in this thread that it can’t happen.


I'm open to hearing about scenarios in which you think the 88% POC/99% Socialist population of Greenland would change their response from GTFO/That is insulting/Not in a million years to Sure, Mr. Trump, glad to be aboard!

Go ahead and connect those dots. I'll wait.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:24 PM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


(I'm sincerely not saying it's impossible. I'm just saying it's exceedingly unlikely enough that I'll need the people making that case to do the heavy lifting.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:29 PM on August 17, 2019




Is that how America adds territories - by nicely asking the people that live there?
posted by Selena777 at 4:09 PM on August 17, 2019 [8 favorites]


Estimated Population 55,877 (1 January 2018)
Kind of boggled my mind.
posted by theora55 at 4:36 PM on August 17, 2019


Well, aside from that Provence which is owned by one family and controls all its news and pours so much pollution around it leads the country in new cancer cases.

I'll bite. Which province, which family and which pollution?

My Google-fu turned up Newfoundland & Labrador as the leader in new cancer cases, but that doesn't feel like the intuitively obvious answer (what do I know, I'm in Ontario).
posted by Secret Sparrow at 4:51 PM on August 17, 2019


New Brunswick, The Irving Oil Family, they own all the NB media and have been spreading so much Roundup (For thier softwood paper tree branch) that cancer rates are spiking. They’re also the sixth largest landowner in the US just in case you think I’m being smug.
posted by The Whelk at 4:59 PM on August 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Someone should tell him that Nambia is for sale.
posted by adept256 at 6:53 PM on August 17, 2019


America shouldn't get any more islands until it can learn to take care of the ones it already has.
posted by ckape at 9:43 PM on August 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


This morning I was reminded of a conflict concerning the Thule Air Base that may be part of the background for this. When Denmark allowed the US to build the base, part of the deal was that the civilian services to the base could only be contracted to Greenlandic purveyors. Last time there was a tender, in 2015, an American company with an address (and nothing else) in Copenhagen won a huge contract, and shortly thereafter an American shipping company won another. The Greenlandic companies took this to US courts, who (surprise!) ruled in favor of the US companies. This is a huge blow to Greenland's economy, and both in Greenland and Denmark there is a discussion about how to make the US compensate for their land use in an other way.
So Greenland's economy is on the agenda for the meeting in early September, and then it's not hard to guess how it all got twisted in Trump's mind.
posted by mumimor at 12:51 AM on August 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


No one has told him yet that the name "Greenland" was a scam to attract settlers, and that "Iceland" was actually a much more desirable place to go?

Donald Trump: getting conned by Vikings from 1000 years ago.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:08 AM on August 18, 2019 [13 favorites]


Because they only way out of a hole is apparently to dig:
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed Sunday that President Donald Trump is really analyzing the possibility of purchasing Greenland. “Look, it’s an interesting story. It’s developing. We’re looking at it,” Kudlow said on Fox News Sunday.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:58 AM on August 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


1978 Lex Luthor:

1- buy worthless real estate (California desert)
2- nuke California coast, sinking coastline into ocean and turning desert property into coastal property
3- profit!

2019 Lex Luthor:

1- buy worthless real estate (frozen Greenland)
2- pump CO2 into atmosphere, melting away glaciers and turning frozen property into coastal and habitable property
3- profit!



This is highly inaccurate and borderline libelous. If you wish to receive the next communication on this matter from my solicitors, do please continue.
posted by Alexander J. Luthor at 12:04 PM on August 18, 2019 [37 favorites]


OTOH, Greenland isn’t in a rush to fight climate change because it’s good for the country’s economy, Quartz, October 22, 2016: “...paradoxically, no nation in the world will profit from climate change as much as the one at ground zero of it.” Potential benefits (paraphrased):
• As growing seasons lengthen, more areas are suitable for agriculture
• Warmer seas around Greenland have improved fishing harvests
• Melting ice opens easier access to (and extraction of) mineral, oil, gas resources
• Meltwater runoff provides more hydroelectric power
• An ice-free Northwest Passage redraws/shortens global shipping routes
WRT the last profitable benefit, see Scenes from the new Cold War unfolding at the top of the world — Militaries are scrambling to control the melting Arctic, National Geographic, May 8, 2019:
Today, the Arctic is routinely described as an emerging frontier, and many polar nations, along with a few that have no Arctic borders, are angling for access to the region’s rich stores of fish, gas, oil, and other mineral resources. By most measures, the U.S. has lagged far behind other countries in this race, including Russia, Norway, and even China. That may be about to change.

On Monday [May 6, 2019], Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at a meeting of the Arctic Council, an international organization composed of the eight Arctic nations, plus representatives of the region’s indigenous peoples.

This is America’s moment to stand up as an Arctic nation and for the Arctic’s future,” Pompeo said. “Because far from the barren backcountry that many thought it to be … the Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance.
Never pass up an opportunity provided by a good global crisis: apparently an abundance of manifest destiny extends to the North Pole.
posted by cenoxo at 10:35 PM on August 18, 2019


OTOH, Greenland isn’t in a rush to fight climate change because it’s good for the country’s economy, Quartz, October 22, 2016
I think that has changed quite a bit since 2016. The Whelk linked this up above. A couple of years ago, there was a big dream of Chinese investors, and settlers, who were to bring wealth and independence to Greenland by mining for minerals. The project included building three new airports, the whole thing was very similar to what China is doing in African countries. The project isn't entirely dead, but Danish contractors will be building the airports and the Chinese were not allowed to buy an old mine they were looking at reopening in 2016.
Right now, politics in Greenland are fairly chaotic, and not because of Trump. After an election last year, the two largest parties were not able to form a coalition, and the Siumut (Social Democrat) party formed a coalition with three small and quite radical parties. As expected, this is not going too well.
In short, almost all political parties nominally want full independence and it is a huge issue. But at the same time, almost all the parties are more or less socialist and want a strong welfare state. This is where it becomes difficult: at this point in time, Greenland needs Danish support for its welfare state. The traditional governing parties, Siumut and IA (more socialist than Siumut) and the moderate parties Demokraterne and Atassut, are for a slow, managed proces of building independent wealth (with the moderates leaning to never). The more radical parties want out now or ASAP, and are willing to sell mining rights and other stuff to the highest bidder to get there.
Today, a big majority of Greenlanders want to go slow. During the 00's, there was a much stronger political drive towards rapid independence, Danish officials were purged from the administrations and I think Greenland looked a lot towards Iceland for inspiration. Then the crash happened, and there was a a new focus on security. Still, as I wrote above, you can't really have a political career in Greenland without having independence on the horizon somewhere, and that necessarily leads to some economic speculation.
Then there are all the usual problems any government in Greenland will have, big social problems, regional issues, fishing rights, healthcare, education and corruption, which are hard to deal with for a government fighting among itself.
Now, add Trump on a state visit, and that is putting nerves on end, in Greenland and Denmark.
posted by mumimor at 12:54 AM on August 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Guardian wants to hear from you if you work or live in Greenland: How do you feel about Trump’s comments? What has been the reaction from friends and family?
posted by bitteschoen at 4:20 AM on August 19, 2019


I know it is 2019 and I should be beyond surprise at anything, but I still cannot get my head around the fact that not only is this a thing Trump thought of, but is.something people are willing to go on TV and in print to argue for as a possible thing that could and should happen.

It is all too much. What is next, lasers fueled by diamonds from space? An entire rerun of the 19th century?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:39 AM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Post-WWII America did what it wanted, when it wanted, especially when dealing with smaller countries during the Cold War. From ScienceNordic, December 19, 2017, How the US built a mysterious military camp under the Greenland ice sheet:
In Copenhagen, 18 August 1959, a cocktail party is in full swing.

The Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jens Otto Krag, is deep in conversation with the American Ambassador Val Peterson, but the conversation has just taken a turn. The ambassador has informed Krag that the question of establishing a US scientific military base, powered by a nuclear reactor under the Greenland ice sheet, had moved beyond the embassy’s control.

Eight years earlier, Denmark and the US had signed a formal agreement granting America the right to maintain military bases in Greenland—but only in strictly defined areas, such as Thule Air Base in Northwest Greenland. They still needed approval from the Danish authorities for all activities outside these defence areas.

In this case, they had gone ahead with construction of the camp outside of the designated areas, without Denmark’s approval as required by the 1951 Defence Agreement. It was, as Peterson described it, “a dreadful blunder” from the American’s side.

The application had been sent earlier that year, but contrary to custom, Denmark had yet to respond.

Impatient, the US Army had decided to go ahead and construction was already under way. Peterson now asked Krag whether they could “hurry the case along.”

A nuclear reactor installed in an American military camp under the ice? And the work had begun without Danish approval! This was dangerous news for the government and civil service in Copenhagen. And nobody knew the full extent of the story.
This was Camp Century, publicized in a 1964 U.S. Army film, Progress Report Number 6 (SLYT).
posted by cenoxo at 10:46 AM on August 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I know it is 2019 and I should be beyond surprise at anything, but I still cannot get my head around the fact that not only is this a thing Trump thought of, but is.something people are willing to go on TV and in print to argue for as a possible thing that could and should happen.

I realize this is all deadly serious, and can have major ramifications. Trumps idle wondering may put us on course for a fight with Denmark for no good reason. Denmark, with whom we have no real beef with at the moment!

That being said, when I step aside from the situation, I get great entertainment value in seeing how folks on the right, both White House professionals and cranky internet commentators, tie themselves into knots justifying the random stupid things Trump does. Greenland is by far the most farcical. I haven't gotten around to it, but I look forward to seeing how they justify the Shell rally, knowing full well that, if Clinton or Obama did it, it would be The Greatest Horror of All Time.
posted by MrGuilt at 10:53 AM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


It was a simpler time and place: That Time The United States Was Thinking Of Buying Iceland, The Reykjavik Grapevine, April 20, 2015.

Now, everybody wants to get into the act Arctic:
Spurred by Chinese and Russian activity, EU President Juncker is making the Arctic more central to EU policy, ArcticToday, February 20, 2019

Russia’s Vladimir Putin outlines ambitious Arctic expansion program, Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2019

Inside the West’s Plans for Arctic War Against Russia, The Daily Beast, May 7, 2019

China’s Scientists are the New Kids on the Arctic Block, Wired, May 7, 2019

American Imperialists Have Always Dreamed of Greenland, Foreign Policy, August 16, 2019
posted by cenoxo at 2:41 PM on August 19, 2019


The US tried that stealth take over in the Canadian north too but luckily the Canadians around at the time were on the ball including then ambassador to the US and later Prime Minister responsible for universals health care Lester B. Pearson.
posted by Mitheral at 4:06 PM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't have words. This is your president.
posted by octothorpe at 6:17 PM on August 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


• Melting ice opens easier access to (and extraction of) mineral, oil, gas resources

It's a great thing global warming is giving the U.S. this opportunity to drill for more oil.
posted by xammerboy at 7:40 PM on August 19, 2019


This was Camp Century

From that Wikipedia article
Construction on the camp and the sub-glacial nuclear reactor began without explicit permission from the government of Denmark....

In 2016, a group of scientists evaluated the environmental impact and estimated that due to changing weather patterns over the next few decades, melt water could release the nuclear waste, 20,000 liters of chemical waste and 24 million liters of untreated sewage into the environment. However, so far neither US or Denmark has taken responsibility
Pretty sure we just found what part of Greenland Trump gets to buy.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:06 PM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, Kim Kielsen, the Premier of Greenland, has offered to buy the United States. He stated that since Leifur “Lucky” Eiríksson discovered America, and his father, Eiríkur the Red was first to settle in Greenland, it stands to reason that Greenland gets the US back. Kielsen hasn’t settled on the amount that will be offered, but given the US’s considerable debts, the payment should be low. He also said that if Trump was included in the purchase, that would lower the price.
posted by Kattullus at 4:06 AM on August 20, 2019 [41 favorites]


^ Flagged as FANTASTIC.
posted by yoga at 9:23 AM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


And of course the crybaby has cancelled his trip because the Danes won’t sell. Sweet Jebus this country has come off the rails.
posted by photoslob at 5:53 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]




And of course the crybaby has cancelled his trip because the Danes won’t sell.

To put this in stark terms, Trump called off a state visit via Twitter, snubbing the Danish queen.

Although Trump constantly whines about how the rest of the world is laughing at the US over some perceived unfair advantage or another, he's apparently oblivious to how his behavior plays out in the international press, e.g. Trump cancels Denmark visit over Greenland sale spat (BBC). And of course, a woman standing up to him is a massive narcissistic injury.

The problem is, it's turning out that the Trump administration was more serious about this misbegotten idea that at first glance. The WaPo reports, "People familiar with the president’s interest in Greenland said he had been talking about the potential purchase for weeks. Senior administration officials had discussed the possibility of offering Denmark a deal in which the United States would take over its annual $600 million subsidy to Greenland in perpetuity, said two people familiar with the talks who were not authorized to reveal the internal deliberations. They also discussed giving Denmark a large one-time payment as well to incentivize the transfer, the people said."

Incidentally, Amy Klobuchar got in a good zinger: "The difference between Donald Trump and Greenland? Greenland is not for sale."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:22 PM on August 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


In breaking news from the lorem ipsum desk - the US State Department website for its Greenland consulate literally says “Enter Text Here”. Just in case there needed to be another a signal about the current quality and depth of US foreign policy....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:35 PM on August 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, Kim Kielsen, the Premier of Greenland, has offered to buy the United States.

Kim Kielsen did not actually say that. The story is from Politiken's satire column ATS.
posted by Tau Wedel at 6:18 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


'A narcissistic fool': Danes hit out at Trump over cancelled visit
The Danish PM has just held a press conference where she basically said she was disappointed.

What's interesting is that this has not only started a new discussion about the relation between Greenland and Denmark, but also one about the relation between Denmark and Europe. Across the board, Danish politicians today are saying that we should reconsider our till now very skeptical view of a common European defence system, alongside NATO. This is completely new - and together with Brexit it may mean contribute to a very changed EU in the years to come. Not to mentioned a very changed NATO. Other countries with large US bases must be having a deep think these days.

Cancelling a presidential visit is a huge thing in the world of diplomacy. Probably/hopefully Trump just doesn't realize this, and is just driven by his ignorant narcissism. But normally it'd be equivalent to an open threat. And in that case, we are looking at something far bigger than what we all just thought was an inelegant tweet.
posted by mumimor at 6:39 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]




The time Donald Trump’s empire took on a stubborn widow — and lost, Washington Post, September 9, 2015:
Trump is dominating his Republican opponents in the polls. But in the long melodrama that is Trump’s business career, the house in Atlantic City is the place where all the billionaire’s money and all the billionaire’s men couldn’t keep a 5-foot-3 widow from whupping him.

Trump wanted Coking’s house — not to live in, but as a place to park limousines for his casino next door. But Coking wouldn’t let him have it. No way. No how. Never.

“It is a classic case of a schoolyard bully growing up,” said Clint Bolick, who co-founded the legal institute that [successfully] defended Coking in a 1990s lawsuit with Trump and years later co-authored an immigration book with Bush, Trump’s nemesis and Republican presidential opponent. “He’s a thug.”
Trump lost then, but now he’s President with the world’s largest military behind him. Declare an international security emergency in the Arctic, send in the U.S. Navy and Marines to protect Greenland (from certain foreign powers), then make Denmark an offer they can’t refuse.
posted by cenoxo at 7:49 AM on August 21, 2019


WaPo: Danish Lawmakers Furious At Trump’s Cancelled Visit, As Prime Minister Voices Regret
“It’s an insult from a close friend and ally,” Michael Aastrup Jensen, a member of the Danish parliament with the influential center-right Venstre party, told The Washington Post. He said Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland took the country by surprise and was initially widely considered to be a joke, before Danes realized the full extent of “this disaster.”

Jensen said Danish lawmakers felt misled and “appalled” by the president, who “lacks even basic diplomatic skills,” he said. “There was no word [ahead of time] about: ‘I want to buy Greenland and that’s why I’m coming.’” […]

Danish officials, including the royal palace, had rushed to organize the presidential visit, which was announced on short notice.

Center-right lawmaker Jensen called the abrupt cancellation “an insult to the royal house.”
In breaking news from the lorem ipsum desk - the US State Department website for its Greenland consulate literally says “Enter Text Here”.

This is a snapshot of Pompeo's mismanaged State Department after Tillerson gutted it. No wonder Trump's Greenland obsession has gone from a stupid-sounding leak to a full-blown diplomatic fiasco.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:55 AM on August 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


I was joking on facebook that someone should try to sell him Gondor instead.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:34 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I cannot shake the mental image of Trump stomping around the Oval Office, shouting "If I'm the King of the Jews, they'll HAVE to let me buy Greenland."
posted by delfin at 8:39 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Coincidentally, Obama is visiting Denmark in late September

The former president is scheduled to visit Denmark in late September. The current president's cancellation came about a week after his predecessor's visit was announced.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:59 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Which chapter of The Art of the Deal covers throwing temper tantrums?
posted by ckape at 9:05 AM on August 21, 2019


The theory is developing that Trump cancelled because he knew the optics of his visit wouldn't compare to Obama's.
posted by peeedro at 9:05 AM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, protests against Trump in Denmark are going ahead despite canceled visit: Activists press on with plans to fly Trump baby blimp in Copenhagen
Protestors had planned to fly the protest balloon during the September 2nd-3rd state visit which was cancelled by Trump on Tuesday, apparently due to Denmark’s unwillingness to countenance selling Greenland to the United States.

But demonstrations at the US Embassy in Copenhagen will go ahead as planned, according to media A4 Nu.

“We were painting banners when we found out the visit was cancelled. But we are sticking to the demo. We will do it in solidarity with Greenland and to show we are against racism. That has not changed, even though (Trump) is not coming. He wouldn’t have seen us anyway,” Bwalya Sørensen, a spokesperson for the demonstration Stop Trump DK, told the media.

25 organisations are involved in the planned demonstration, with 13,000 people having signalled their interest in attending via the protest’s Facebook event.
posted by bitteschoen at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think that theory flatters Trump in that it suggests that this is more than a petty tantrum at a non existent insult in response to an insulting and insane imperial fever dream.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Trump complaining that the dutch are being "nasty" and "not nice" about greenland. Trump insists that calling the idea absurd is a big deal because "she's not talking to me, she's talking to the united states." I particularly enjoyed someone asking Trump "Do you believe you are the second coming of God?"

Related... how have shouted press conferences in front of a helicopter become the only way to get a comment from this administration?
posted by cirhosis at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


> And that purpose appears to embrace genocide vaster and more comprehensive than anything we've seen before, because as Greenland becomes more habitable, the tropics, where so much of the world's population of people of color live, will become much less habitable, and Trumpist America, Putinist Russia, and white nationalist Northern Europe sure as hell (and high water) aren't going to let them in.

I 100% believe this is the gist of their thinking. What I don't understand is if they think that the warming will just, you know, stop once they've got the world's demographics more to their liking.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2019


Wikipedia:
Louisiana Purchase — 828,000 sq mi (2,140,000 sq km)
Alaska Purchase — 586,412 sq mi (1,518,800 sq km)
Greenland — 836,330 sq mi (2,166,086 sq km)
Greenland drawn to scale over the continental U.S.A.. Whether purchased, invaded, occupied, annexed, or otherwise ‘acquired’, this would be the Biggest Real Estate Deal in U.S. history.

The Donald can’t resist it, folks. Besides, it has good resale potential: if he gets buyer’s remorse after the closing, he’ll flip Greenland to Russia for thrice the price.
posted by cenoxo at 12:59 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


It is not going to happen, no one is taking this seriously, and Greenland is an independent country.
What is happening now and here is that Trump's random tweeting is pushing a stronger independent EU defence strategy, less trust in the US as a partner, and a general perception of Trump as an unreliable person. All towards the diminishment of US political influence.
The US has military bases all over the world. But it's not like the world can't evaluate the benefit of those bases and decide they are a liability rather than a protection.
posted by mumimor at 1:16 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Related... how have shouted press conferences in front of a helicopter become the only way to get a comment from this administration?
Seriously, I was thinking about that too, what was the last time he had a regular press conference?
posted by bitteschoen at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Which is also why we’re not going to have a presidential debate
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]




Greenland is an independent country.

Who certainly aren't going to sell themselves to someone saying by all their actions that they don't even consider then worth calling up to see how they feel about it. Even after being told that Greenland owns itself by the person they wanted to buy it from. Not even a "how is it going and do you want to sell your country because we want it and you don't want to be nasty now, do you?."

(Not that they were going to sell themselves in any case, but this just adds to that pile of WTF that this is.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:34 PM on August 21, 2019


how have shouted press conferences in front of a helicopter become the only way to get a comment from this administration?

It’s so he can pretend not to hear if he doesn’t want to answer something. Or they can pretend he misheard when his “answers” don’t answer the question. Reagan did it a lot, too.
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:02 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


[A few things removed; let's keep this to the Greenland/Denmark thing as such not get in the habit of veering off to "and another shitty Trump-related thing..." stuff.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:07 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


NYT’s Maggie Haberman reports on this fiasco from within Trumpland: Trump’s Interest in Buying Greenland Seemed Like a Joke. Then It Got Ugly.
Greenland, for one, was not on the staff’s list of priorities for the week. But while Mr. Trump has long derided nation-building, his flirtation with nation-buying turned out to be more serious than many originally thought. He has been talking privately about buying Greenland for more than a year and even detailed the National Security Council staff to study the idea.

At one point last year, according to a former official who heard him, he even joked in a meeting about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland — happy to rid himself of an American territory whose leadership he has feuded with repeatedly.

The notion of acquiring 836,300 square miles, or three times the size of Texas, appealed to the real estate developer in Mr. Trump, even if most of it is covered in ice. Aside from the potential military position and natural resources to gain, it fit his desire to do something big as president, in this case literally to increase the size of the country by more than 20 percent.
And now, because nobody at the Trump White House could dissuade him from this ongoing preoccupation, he looks like an idiot on the international stage and has offended a NATO ally, with less than a week before the latest G7 summit.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:18 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


from the NYT’s editorial board: Trump, Greenland, Denmark. Is This Real Life? Or a Peter Sellers movie?
...one of the more astounding plays by a president who finds new ways to amaze, alienate and infuriate almost daily.

...a crude and insulting transactional vision of a world in which buying a self-ruled territory and its more than 56,000 people was just another “large real estate deal”

...That the president of the United States would demonstrate such willful ignorance of how the world works, that he would treat a territory and its independent people like goods and chattel, that he would so readily damage relations with an old and important ally out of petty pique, is frightening.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:53 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Carl Bildt in Washington Post: Trump’s Denmark saga of the absurd
But then it goes beyond the absurd. The self-invited guest suddenly cancels everything and says if he can’t get his property deal and the territory he wants, he sees no purpose for the state visit. Everything is off. Tons and tons of preparations are just scrapped.
But then it goes beyond the absurd. The self-invited guest suddenly cancels everything and says if he can’t get his property deal and the territory he wants, he sees no purpose for the state visit. Everything is off. Tons and tons of preparations are just scrapped.
This article in Danish from a Danish tabloid recounts how the Queen of Denmark once snubbed Trump. I'm posting it so you can attempt at google translating it of you like, because it includes the former Danish foreign minister Uffe Ellemann's story about a conversation with Trump back in the 90's. Already then, the minister found him "bøvet, dum og uinteresseret": "bovine*, stupid and uninterested". But he was already then interested in Greenland.

*bøvet is hard to translate. google translate has it as overfed, which is not wrong, but it is also vernacular for a particular type of lazy-ignorant-crass-stupid, someone like Trump. My analogue dictionary suggested bovine, and I like it.
posted by mumimor at 8:28 AM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Tau Wedel: Kim Kielsen did not actually say that. The story is from Politiken's satire column ATS.

Thanks for the correction! This was recounted in Icelandic media, but either the reporter or I missed that it was (now obviously) satire.
posted by Kattullus at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


WTF was all I could say when I saw the headlines earlier today. Just WTF.
posted by Mrs Potato at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


More seriously, I wonder if this bit from the BBC

He added: "She's not talking to me. She's talking to the United States of America. You don't talk to the United States that way, at least under me."

implied some ill-judged attempt at demonstrating America's global footprint and power?
posted by Mrs Potato at 9:53 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is a bit tangential to Greenland, but I was wondering about the Helicopter backed news conferences and ran across this article on politico it echos what others have said in this thread.
posted by cirhosis at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


from Voice of America

Pompeo Praises Denmark After Trump Cancels State Visit

The State Department said Pompeo spoke to his Danish counterpart by phone Wednesday and discussed "strengthening cooperation with the Kingdom of Denmark - including Greenland - in the Arctic."

Its the whole Arctic thing innit?
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:27 PM on August 22, 2019


This bit from the WaPo Carl Bildt piece:

When the United States in the form of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turned up at the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, he spent most of his energy attacking China and ended up vetoing the communique that had been agreed upon by everyone else. The reason? It mentioned climate change, and that was not acceptable to the Trump administration. All others had been discussing little but the rising temperatures, which are happening two or three times faster here than anywhere else on Earth.


iirc the Finns, who'd spent ages prepping for this meeting they were hosting, were pissed
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


This whole situation is a bit like a guy asking his male friend if he can date the guy's sister, only to be informed that a) she makes her own dates; b) she's not interested in dating right now anyway; c) she's a lesbian; and d) also she does not like him. And still, somehow people will not let the idea go.

I mean Denmark said it's not their decision to make, it's Greenland's; there's never been any indication they would ever sell to anyone; they're socialists; and they don't care for Trump.

Why am I still seeing think pieces on whether this is a good idea or how it would work?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Vanity Fair: “He Has Made Us a Laughing Stock”: Diplomats Stunned by Trump’s Feud With Denmark
“I realize this is yet another bizarre and humorous Trump moment for the late night talk shows here in the U.S.,” [Nicholas Burns, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO] told me. “But, for the rest of the world, particularly our allies, it is simply shocking how far America has fallen from grace in their eyes.“[…]

Even for Trump, no stranger to diplomatic ineptitude, the Greenland episode has been particularly head-spinning. And while it is easy to laugh at the absurdity of the proposition, it has left the diplomatic community stunned. “I can’t think of anything like it. And I wish I could explain it,” a second former high-ranking State Department official told me. When the president’s fascination with acquiring the territory was first reported, the official’s first thought was “that the news media was silly to fall for it—chasing after that story instead of staying focused on the really big issues of the day.”

But the episode has also been clarifying. In many ways, Trump’s spat with Denmark embodies what the “America First” doctrine really is. “It is an illustration of how diplomacy has been completely siloed into Trump,” Bruen said. “Someone gets in the president’s head or maybe he just looked at a map, saw Greenland and thought, Why don’t we own it? And nobody bothered to say, Mr. President, it’s not ours to own.”

The deeper concern, diplomats say, is the lasting impact on U.S. foreign policy. The petulant decision to cancel the Denmark visit is the latest example of Trump dismissing allies when they don’t bend to his whims. “It is simply ludicrous for Trump to cancel a state visit to Denmark because its leader won’t agree to sell off part of her country to him,” Burns said. “The image Trump is projecting to the rest of the world is that of a world class bully who belittles a NATO ally that has always been a loyal friend, including by sending troops to Afghanistan and supporting the U.S. for decades on issue after issue.”
Slate: The Greenland Gambit—Trump’s latest obsession shows what’s wrong with treating every foreign policy issue like a real estate deal. "We can joke about the episode’s resemblance to one of the Onion’s wilder satires. We can shudder over the sheer daftness of this man who holds the fate of the world in his hands. But we should also consider what the tale suggests about the way Trump looks at the world—and what that implies about his utter unsuitability for the office of the presidency."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:23 PM on August 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


You know, I wouldn't blame Greenland if they turned around and said "We're not for sale, but since you're so flush, the rent on Thule just went up by $600 million per year."
posted by Reverend John at 3:21 PM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


He only demanded Greenland because he couldn’t spell Sudetenland.
posted by interogative mood at 11:21 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is anymore about Trump per se. Where is the administration or is the world's military superpower a one man show? Where are the voices in the media projecting a message of calm diplomacy and sense *even* if this was one man's ineptitude?

The continued discussion of this ridiculous issue in the American press and media conveys a disturbingly deep disconnect from the rest of the world. The bubble is far too insulated and too deep, if it believes that its pandering to the domestic audience and their eyeballs is going unheard by the rest of the planet. If they're aware, and don't care, what is the message being sent? We're too arrogant to give a fuck what you think of us, we're America rah rah rah and you will toe the line to our outrageous demands because we are the whatever the fuck is the script polished into national policy documents.

This event is a tipping point like no other has been, and just before the G7 meet. I would not be surprised to note if there was a concerted effort to quarantine the asylum before the insanity infected much more of 'the West'.

Nobody stopped him is the scary part. Nobody poured oil on the waters with Denmark. Even Pompeo's follow up "praise" only highlighted the Arctic resources of Greenland. This is more than just Trumped up nonsense. DK was a key ally in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:29 AM on August 23, 2019 [5 favorites]




I've been wondering who was the "associate" giving Trump this genius idea, but obviously, it's Tom Cotton, the foreign policy genius (WaPo). There's a lot to say about how the Danish ambassador handled this, but it really doesn't change the main absurdity.

BTW, Cotton is up for reelection in 2020. Arkansas should realise that they have a huge responsibility for global peace and vote him out.
posted by mumimor at 2:50 AM on August 23, 2019


FACT CHECK: Did Harry Truman Really Try To Buy Greenland Back In The Day?, NPR, August 22, 2019. Yes — but it's complicated.
posted by cenoxo at 5:54 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]




At this point I half expect a competing bid.

If I have to read one more thing about how this would actually be a good thing for America and which totally ignores the fact that is not exactly an enchanting argument to make.for why someone should sell themselves to you, I will lose it. It is like Brexit all over again what with the unicorns of desire apparently equalling reality.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:52 AM on August 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


they’re fundraising off it.

I really want that T-Shirt (but no way am I donating a cent to them to get it). Mostly so I can have the words "Fight the fascists here before it spreads" or something like that screen-printed under the image.

I'm going to be pissed if "Greenland" ends up turning into to some sort of MAGA meme for them like the "OK" hand signal, etc.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:51 AM on August 23, 2019


This event is a tipping point like no other has been, and just before the G7 meet. I would not be surprised to note if there was a concerted effort to quarantine the asylum before the insanity infected much more of 'the West'.


I can't even count how many things I thought were tipping points but got forgotten almost immediately. A year from now we'll be saying "hey remember that Greenland thing?" because there will have been 100 more tipping points since that and nothing will have changed.
posted by octothorpe at 10:32 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


octothorpe, there is a distinct difference between tipping point domestically, and tipping point internationally. From what I can tell, there's n number of articles by ex State dept and Ambassadorial sorts saying this sort of thing is just not done. The impact of jerking the chain of the Danish Queen will ripple through the rest of the world.


German-U.S. Ties Are Breaking Down 21st August 2019

Never since the founding of postwar Germany have relations between Berlin and the United States been as fragile as they are today. There is virtual radio silence between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump and U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell is doing more to agitate the situation than to mediate.


EU Fearful of Including U.S. on Tax-Haven List 23rd August 2019 click through just for the photograph and its cropping used for this article

Although the United States fits the definition of a tax haven, EU officials in Brussels are weary of publicly shaming it on a "black list" of countries that allow companies to avoid taxes. Given Trump's harsh rhetoric, the Europeans are worried about a further deterioration of ties.


Macron: The UK risks becoming a vassal state to Donald Trump’s USA
posted by Mrs Potato at 11:09 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Don't Lose Sight of President Good Brain's Insane F*cking Week
David Koch is dead and the Amazon's on fire, but the President of the United States had back-to-back episodes again.
posted by adamvasco at 11:14 AM on August 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


The next stop on Donald Trump’s end-of-diplomacy tour - The Financial Times, 22nd August 2019
If the US president makes it through the G7 without hastening the west’s demise, it will be a victory of sorts
Mr Trump’s lunge for Greenland was the amuse-bouche before the meal.

It had all the relevant ingredients. First it showcased Mr Trump’s transactional approach to diplomacy. A country has a piece of real estate that Mr Trump covets, so he offers to buy it. Perhaps it could work both ways. Russia has long had its eye on Alaska, for example. Second, it underlined that Mr Trump loathes alliances. By cancelling his trip to Denmark over its refusal to consider the sale, Mr Trump left a close ally in no doubt that its friendship meant nothing. Fifty Danish soldiers lost their lives fighting alongside US troops in Afghanistan. This death toll is a considerably higher ratio to population than the US.
Trump heading to G-7 summit after insulting allied world leaders 23rd August 2019

and from the realm of fantasy

Trump is pushing to let Russia re-join the G7, and the White House claims that France approves but the French are disputing this

The West and its cherished international rules based world order is the new Reality game show in town.
posted by Mrs Potato at 11:16 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


adamvasco your link is frightening read. the Amazon produces 20% of our planet's oxygen and that Bannonite in charge is letting it burn. If its genocide on a planetary scale where do these guys plan to hide out?
posted by Mrs Potato at 11:24 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


ooh this one’s a bit, should we say, nasty:
...the let’s-buy-Greenland brouhaha in the United States’ relationship with Denmark is being left to an ambassador whose résumé is devoid of governmental or international experience. She did, however, work as a chiropractor before marrying a now-deceased multimillionaire — and as a soap-opera and B-movie star. Who can ever forget her role in “Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell”?
– Here’s why the Greenland situation is being handled by a chiropractor (Washington Post)

posted by bitteschoen at 12:11 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Some people didn’t take Hitler seriously, either — How’d that go?, Louis Anslow, TimeLine, June 16, 2016.
posted by cenoxo at 7:13 PM on August 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Don't Lose Sight of President Good Brain's Insane F*cking Week
David Koch is dead and the Amazon's on fire, but the President of the United States had back-to-back episodes again.


This Greenland business is just the latest flashing warning light that this guy is completely off his rocker and nobody gives a shit.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:03 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


So, end of story:
Trump says he had 'great conversation' with Danish leader after clash over Greenland
In the trumpiverse, it was just a blimp. But in Greenland and here in Denmark it was a scary week for two small countries and a new and young PM.
Fasten your seatbelts, now it's G7.
posted by mumimor at 12:58 AM on August 24, 2019




You know, Puerto Rico is willing to trade the United States for Greenland. We'd get along well with Greenland.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:07 AM on August 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Friendly reminder, this isn't a catchall thread -- this thread is about the Greenland situation. Other politics and current events links can either go in a relevant thread -- for example you can see posts tagged uspolitics here -- or you can start a separate topic thread if the topic has enough for discussion on its own.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:09 AM on August 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Looking at polar opposites across the top of the world, they could be divided by The Arctic Shipping Route No One’s Talking About, Mia Bennett, Maritime Executive, 2019-05-08:
By mid-century, a Transpolar Passage will open across the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole. Few countries are preparing for this reality except China.
...
...in the face of rapid climate change in the Arctic. The shrinking and thinning of sea ice is happening faster than scientists thought possible – so fast that now, it’s not just the Northern Sea Route or even the Northwest Passage that people are talking about. They’re talking about a trans-Arctic passage cutting straight across the North Pole.

As climate change accelerates and the Arctic Ocean reluctantly exchanges its year-round ice cap for merely seasonal cover, a transpolar passage is likely to open up by mid-century, if not sooner. If Arctic sea ice disappears even for just one summer, as the comprehensive 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment notes (p. 34), this would spell “the disappearance of multi-year sea ice in the central Arctic Ocean. Such an occurrence would have significant implications for design, construction and operational standards of all future Arctic marine activities.” In the absence of thick multi-year ice, which can be up to five meters deep, any water that refreezes would take the form of much thinner, more navigable seasonable ice.

In other words, forget needing nuclear icebreakers. Within the next few decades, in summer, it may be possible (even if insurance companies and the Polar Code still mandate polar-class, ice-resistant ships) to sail in a regular vessel across the top of the Earth.
Note the route’s choke points at Greenland and Alaska (opposite Russia), toss in China’s interests, and you have a whole new set of flash points.

Changing, controlling, and patrolling the movement of money around the globe is more important than any one President (however self-centered) or single country (however self-exceptional). This would be a major international problem.
posted by cenoxo at 10:15 AM on August 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ida Auken, Danish member of Parliament and former minister for the environment, has a much better deal to offer.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:14 AM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


The only thing Trump is buying is jail time.
A source close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin,” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reported Tuesday.
posted by adamvasco at 8:11 AM on August 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Deutsche Bank thing, once it's confirmed or fleshed out, seems like it merits its own FPP.
posted by Jpfed at 1:53 PM on August 28, 2019


MSNBC’s O’Donnell retracts Trump [Deutsche Bank] story for being insufficiently substantiated for now.
posted by Jpfed at 9:07 PM on August 28, 2019


After the Trump org threatened legal action against NBCUniversal (a threat they almost certainly have no intention of delivering on), O'Donnell retracted it.

Today, Reuters dripped:
"The congressional inquiry found instances where Deutsche Bank staff in the United States and elsewhere flagged concerns about new Russian clients and transactions involving existing ones, but were ignored by managers, two of the people said.

Lawmakers are also examining whether Deutsche Bank facilitated the funneling of illegal funds into the United States as a correspondent bank, where it processes transactions for others, one of the sources said."
I'm sitting on a draft FPP about this subject--if no additional news drops in the next little while, I'll go ahead and post it.
posted by box at 9:33 AM on September 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Weekly Arctic Sea Ice Age with Graph of Ice Age By Area: 1984-2019, time-lapse visualizations by Cindy Starr, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio, September 5, 2019:
One significant change in the Arctic region in recent years has been the rapid decline in perennial sea ice. Perennial sea ice, also known as multi-year ice, is the portion of the sea ice that survives the summer melt season. Perennial ice may have a life-span of nine years or more and represents the thickest component of the sea ice; perennial ice can grow up to four meters thick. By contrast, first year ice that grows during a single winter is generally at most two meters thick.
Four matched pairs of still images — 1A/1B, 2A/2B, 3A/3B, 4A/4B — give a clear picture of how perennial ice coverage has been shrinking:
Pair 1A: This image shows the Arctic sea ice age in the first week (week 1) of January, 2019. During this week, the area covered by the sea ice that was 4 years of age or older extended 116,000 square kilometers.

Pair 1B: This image shows the Arctic sea ice age in the first week (week 1) of January, 1988. During this week, the area covered by the sea ice that was 4 years of age or older extended 3,121,000 square kilometers.
... nearly a ~75% loss of perennial ice from 1988 to 2019.
posted by cenoxo at 10:17 PM on September 8, 2019


Correction: ...a loss of 3,005,000 square kilometers (or ~96%) from 1988 to 2019.
posted by cenoxo at 4:00 AM on September 9, 2019


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