The United States spans from the east to west coast of North America, to an island chain in the Pacific Ocean and an icy tundra between Canada and Russia. The United States could stand to expand farther, to the other side of Canada, to the large island glacier Greenland. It might seem preposterous that President Trump made such a proposal, but is it really? Could there perhaps be more to the icy domain that belongs to the Danes? Greenland can provide the United States with valuable mineral resources and a strategic advantage in world affairs.
The first reason this would be advantageous is that the glacier has a wealth of natural resources and minerals. As the Financial Times reports, Greenland has 38.5 million tons compared to the 120 million the rest of the world holds. These minerals can be used in hybrid electric cars, phones and MRI scanners (Dempsey, 2019). The acquisition of these resources could speed up the process of converting to more renewable energy and transportation. This could also decrease the United States’ dependence on Chinese minerals, which supplies most of the minerals used to make electronics. Given current trade disputes and any potential of war, it would be in America’s best interest to increase its mineral independence. In addition, China wishes to take advantage of the temporal change in the climate cycle to cut through the ice to facilitate new shipping lanes for silk trade routes (Levine, 2019). A northern route through the arctic and northern regions has long been sought after ever since the New World was discovered (History Editors, 2010). Republican Sen. Tom Cotton argues that buying Greenland would not be unlike buying Alaska, which was considered foolish upon purchase (Levine, 2019). This was regarded as “Seward’s Folly” for the minister to Russia’s purchase of the “icebox” territory (History Editors, 2018).
Another reason to acquire the landmass is because of its strategic importance. The United States established a radar base in Thule during World War 2 to protect Denmark from Nazi Germany aggression (Mehta & Insinna, 2019). The United States also used it during the Cold War to deter the Soviet Union from aggression, as it is the northernmost U.S. airbase. China has also been trying to gain multiple footholds in the region through the building of airports (Vamerio, 2019). If China were to acquire a spot on the glacier, it would put more pressure on the United States and allow China to expand into the western hemisphere. Russia also has interests in Greenland, as it would give them more power (Vameiro, 2019). They could position their fleet closer to the eastern seaboard of the United States, giving them an upper hand. Russia could also drive a wedge between western countries as they would have a place between the North American and European continents. They would likely use the region to leverage trade deals and negotiations. Two large superpowers that are hostile to basic human rights and dignity should not be allowed to have such ability and access to the region, as it would only serve to hinder our abilities to further our own goals and help those in the world that would require it. In order to best protect not only ourselves as a nation, but the world most effectively from Eastern bullying, it would be best to simply buy the island outright. The cost will not exceed the benefits, as the strategic importance alone is valuable to safeguarding democracy in the western hemisphere. The increased independence of minerals we would enjoy would also help decrease our debts and dependence on China.
To conclude, to buy Greenland would be more than a worthwhile investment. It would increase our access to necessary resources that will propel us to future technological innovation and decreased dependence on Chinese minerals. In addition to that, the northeastern part of this hemisphere will be safeguarded from eastern meddling. Our, and Western countries’ interests will be protected from the enemies of freedom. The proposal to buy Greenland is a noble idea and should be considered further.