It’s been an interesting week since the news of the possible Greenland purchase by the USA broke through the ice. There was much speculation as to veracity of the effort at first, and a lot of jeering from the knee-jerk opponents of President Donald Trump. Then, when the story flopped out there on the geopolitical tundra like an abandoned lemming, the Prime Minister of Denmark was quick to call the deal “absurd” to contemplate. At that juncture, the President got a bit exercised and canceled what would have been a state visit, which then re-triggered the Danes, and so on…
I have some thoughts on all the commotion, and I think it all flows back to one thing: The Chinese.
You see, we (the USA) have had military bases in Greenland for many decades, servicing the greater NATO mission. This is of no small consequence to the Danes – our presence there protects their interests directly. However, with the ending of the Cold War in the 1990’s and the force drawdowns since that time, the environment is a bit different than it was. And until lately, we’ve allowed a great latitude to Chinese actions, thinking that they were approaching a more capitalistic sort of culture. As a result of that latter condition, the Chinese have been all over the planet, using their relative largess in business as an instrument of state power abroad. What do I mean by that? Well, simply put, they are mining for minerals where we would not, building international projects in far-flung locations, and generally inserting themselves everywhere.
Of course, they come in to a region like a grand friend, and then proceed to act as gangsters, setting up business clauses and perilous financing schemes that entrap their business “partners”. Companies and countries alike become snared in these entanglements, unable to remove themselves from the web of obligations and various forms of debt. In some ways, they are stereotypically Viking, plundering their way around the world!
With the reduction of the USA’s power base in Greenland, China has been particularly keen on sinking its hooks into the flesh of that country. It places the Chinese at our far northern doorstep, enabling the means to stage materials and set up facilities for invasion forces at a time when we are finally squeezing them economically. We’ve been successful thus far in blunting the Chinese drive to build air bases there, but they’ll keep trying. Wars and rumors of wars, as they say.
With the obvious encroachment attempts from the Chinese, I think that we are seriously trying to make the purchase, to relieve the financial burden on Denmark in keeping Greenland afloat and serve our own needs in blocking a surging Chinese military in the Arctic. I think, too, that the Chinese were not supposed to know. That inconveniences us surely, but with Chinese pressure on the Danes ever-present, I think the Prime Minister panicked, and tried to ease the minds of the Chinese in public with a blanket denial and ridicule.
It’s certainly a hell of a mess, as it often is when outlanders fight over another country’s sovereignty.