News and Commentary

HAMMER: Trump Is Completely Right To Try To Buy Greenland
Village in Greenland
Ashley Cooper/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

News broke a couple of weeks ago that President Donald Trump is apparently interested in acquiring for the United States the barren, remote Arctic island of Greenland. Trump is hardly the first president to express an interest in acquiring the Danish semi-autonomous region for the United States. As Hank Berrien of The Daily Wire noted at the time, the possibility of acquiring Greenland has been publicly floated by previous administrations: “President Harry Truman offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100 million in 1946” and “the State Department during the tenure of President Andrew Johnson considered buying Iceland and Greenland in 1867.”

At first blush, Greenland might not make a whole lot of sense as a potential acquisition object of the president’s affection. The island’s population is a whopping 56,000, and over three-quarters of the landmass of the largely politically autonomous island contains the world’s only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. Overall, due to its harsh climate and sprawling terrain, Greenland is the least densely populated territory in the world.

But from a geopolitical standpoint, Trump is completely correct to seriously look into acquiring Greenland. Doing so, as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) persuasively argued in The New York Times earlier this week, would strongly redound to America’s national security interests. There are at least four main reasons why: Russia, China, energy, and Space Force.

Russia was the primary reason why Truman considered acquiring Greenland in the incipient stages of the Cold War. Greenland is a massive landmass that, from its upper Atlantic Ocean Arctic perch, looks down upon Iceland, Northern Europe, and Russia. Despite failing to formally acquiring the island, Truman and subsequent Cold War presidents used Greenland — eventually centered around Thule Air Base — as a strategic base to deter Russian (then Soviet) hegemony in the Atlantic. Today, a formally acquired Greenland would allow American presidents to install serious missile defense infrastructure — which would largely serve to deter Putin’s Russia, but could also serve to deter other would-be intercontinental ballistic missile hostile regimes, such as the theocratic Islamist regime in Iran.

China, as Cotton noted in the Times, has actually formally attempted numerous times to purchase naval and aerial infrastructure in Greenland over the past few years. While Denmark ultimately rebuffed each request, it is nonetheless harrowing to consider that the far-East nation of China — the number one geopolitical threat to the United States in the 21st century — has expressed so much interest in acquiring a military foothold on the outskirts of North America. The Chinese desire to acquire territory in Greenland accords with China’s over-arching recent desire to expand its military presence in the broader Arctic, more generally. The Trump administration has been concerned about China’s Arctic ambitions for awhile, and Politico reported in May that the administration had already been worrying that Greenland was “vulnerable to encroaching Chinese influence.” An American acquisition of Greenland would therefore not merely allow for the imposition of missile defense materiel to deter Russia; it would also allow for a solidified stronghold to thwart the hegemonic ambitions of the world’s single most pernicious geopolitical actor, China.

Furthermore, Greenland is replete with all sorts of natural resources. The island has huge oil and natural gas reserves and many other reserves of rare-earth minerals that are indispensable to America’s tech and defense sectors. Despite the shrill cries of the enviro-statists and bovine flatulence-despising “Green New Deal” Jacobins, oil and natural gas will continue to power the American — and global — economy for the foreseeable future. And while the miraculous shale revolution has already made the United States one of the globe’s leading oil and natural gas producers, acquiring Greenland would only help more in fueling the literal and proverbial engines of the world’s preeminent macroeconomy. True energy independence — that constantly sought-after goal for every rational self-governing nation-state — would be that much closer for the United States, were it to successfully acquire Greenland.

Finally, it must also be said that the island of Greenland presents a highly intriguing potential base for the future U.S. Space Force that the Trump administration seems — at least if the president is re-elected — increasingly serious about establishing. The administration has not announced where Space Force would be based, but Greenland potentially makes a great deal of sense as a central hub. Wherever Space Force is based, there is sure to be no shortage of surrounding military infrastructure and high-grade weaponry. Greenland’s potential as a hub for Space Force would thus further solidify the island’s purpose vis-à-vis Russia and China alike — as a genuine deterrent to either arch-geopolitical foe’s potential desire to expand hegemonic ambitions into the northern Atlantic Ocean region.

Don’t believe the naysayers who claim that the Trump administration would be making a modern-day “Seward’s Folly” in acquiring Greenland. Just as the 1867 acquisition of Alaska has proven to be immensely beneficial for U.S. military, geopolitical, and energy interests, so too would a modern-day acquisition of Greenland redound to U.S. interests.