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Not Green, Not Land

What explains Donald Trump’s recent offer to buy the territory from Denmark?

 

With just 57,000 inhabitants in over 2.1 million square kilometers — most of it covered by an ice sheet — Greenland is hardly the ideal investment for anyone other than a reindeer hunter.

So what explains Donald Trump’s recent offer to buy the territory from Denmark?

The Arctic is the US’s backyard. But as a July Department of Defense report makes clear, with polar ice melting, the region’s geopolitics is heating up. Russia is forging ahead with a new northern fleet command, and even China is seeking a role as it considers itself a “Near-Arctic State.” The US is concerned by Chinese investments in the area as part of a so-called “Ice Silk Road” strategy.

As a champion of the US’s coal and steel industries, Trump doubtless has in mind the mineral riches under Greenland’s white cap. According to the territory’s resources minister Erik Jensen, Greenland is home to vast amounts of the world’s rare earth deposits — critical for advanced manufacturing — whose global supply China currently controls.

Real-estate deals may be off the table as far as the Danes are concerned, but US interest isn’t. The Trump administration plans to open a consulate there to deal with the rare people and the even rarer earths.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 775)

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