Milbank: Let’s Take Greenland by Force!


Greenland is weak.  We can take it.

You gotta love Dana Milbank’s sarcasm here:

On Sunday, Trump confirmed that he would be interested in buying the territory from Denmark and that “we’ll talk to them” about it. “Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal,” Trump explained, reasoning that Denmark might be willing to part with the huge land mass because “they carry it at a great loss.”

The great Danes reacted indignantly. “Greenland is not for sale,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed on a defensive visit to the island Sunday, calling the idea “an absurd discussion” and saying “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”

Fighting words! There is only one proper response to such intransigence: The United States must take Greenland by force.

Greenland has no regular military, so we should be able to occupy every Nuuk and cranny of the place without much struggle. It’s possible, of course, that this attack on Danish territory would prompt a response by NATO under the alliance’s mutual-defense pact, but Trump has already defanged that alliance.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) foresaw such a moment, saying in 2016 during the GOP presidential nominating battle that “we’re liable to wake up one morning and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark.”

Read the rest here.

18 thoughts on “Milbank: Let’s Take Greenland by Force!

  1. Tom,

    Very informative!

    I reckon tourism will increase slightly after this recent Frederiksen-Trump publicity. I suppose local lodging and good is pretty high, however. The fish might be reasonable but most foodstuffs probably have to be imported.


  2. I agree the will of the locals is a strong consideration, and oddly they have not been consulted in this matter. There is very little linguistic or cultural loyalty to Denmark in Greenland today; the current political arrangements between Nuuk and Copenhagen that have devolved broad autonomy onto Greenland are the product of decades of political activism on the part of the majority Inuit Greenlander population to free themselves from Danish control. Today they concede foreign policy and security to Denmark, simply because their population of <60,000 can't realistically protect the huge expanse that is Greenland. According to the CIA World Factbook, less than 8% of the population are ethnic Danes. Danish is a common second language — but so is English. (The only official language is Kalaallit.) The American occupation during World War II started the process of Greenland freeing itself from direct Danish control (so much so that Denmark's initial reaction in the 1950s was to remove Greenland's colony status and make it a direct province of Copenhagen). In fact, in 2009 Greenland officially ditched the name "Greenland" and reverted to the Native Inuit name in the local Kalaallit language, "Kalaallit Nunaat." Most of the rest of the world hasn't really caught up to the new name yet — but hey, we're still getting used to Kolkata and Myanmar as well. There is a story of strong political activism in Greenland/Kalaallit Nunaat which really picked up steam in 1975 culminating in the 1985 agreement that effectively gave Greenland Canada-like autonomy. As I mentioned, Denmark is still responsible for the island's security — most famously in the elite Danish Arctic Slaedepatruljen Sirius (Sled Patrol Sirius) that uses sled dogs to patrol northern Greenland/Kalaallit Nunaat — but given the long political struggle the Kalaallit people have waged to secure their sovereignty, I seriously doubt they'd be enthusiastic to hand it over to anybody else at this stage.


  3. Jim in STL,

    The will of the locals is also a strong consideration. It would be interesting to see a poll. They might have cultural, political, and linguistic loyalty to Denmark, but they might be open to change. In the absence of a reliable poll, I’d enjoy reading an objective article where a truthful journalist (possibly a tough order) goes to Greenland and talks to the citizens.


    I read your comment and I hear an echo of many voices chorusing either “DEUS VULT!” and/or “MAGA! MAGA! MAGA!”


  5. Morning drive-time radio put it as Trump takes EVERYTHING as a Personal Affront; “That’s Just the Way He Is”. (And how much of it is “just talk”.)

    Why am I reminded of the start of the Freedonia-Sylvania War in the Marx Bros’ Duck Soup?


  6. The base is already protected by treaty – the NATO Alliance.

    Before talking about costs you’d have to consider the peoples and economy of the island. Essentially you’d be purchasing some 60,000 people and likely against their will.


  7. A President that has diplomatic skills wouldn’t have had all this stuff in public. Or aired out his anger at being rebuffed using his twitter account.
    Of course it was a whacky idea in the first place.
    He had a planned trip to Denmark. Even if he and his staff didn’t know it was a dumb idea they could have brought it up there quietly and learned it was a “no deal” at the get go and not had the embarrassing public responses and Trump twitter stuff.
    It was all his own fault.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So we should annex it? Why don’t we just send several air craft carrier to Greenland and just take it like the English did to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1664 or that the United States government has done at many other points in its history. I stand by ABSURD.


  9. RM,

    Maybe we need to “think out of the box” on buying international property. It worked fine in the past.
    The Danish treasury would also benefit.



  10. Jim in STL,
    It wouldn’t cost that much and we would owe no rental fees to the Danes. It also secures Thule against removal by a foreign power.


  11. Does Ms. Frederiksen study history?

    I suspect that she does. Ms. Frederiksen said, “Thankfully the time where you buy and sell countries and populations is over.” Ms. Frederiksen understands that unlike the individuals who lived in Alaska and the Louisiana territory in the nineteenth century (who had the sovereignty of their land transferred without their knowledge or consent) people today enjoy a right of self determination. Greenland is Danish because both Copenhagen and Nuuk want it that way.

    If Mr. Trump really wants the US to acquire sovereignty over Greenland (as opposed to dominating the news cycle for 24 to 48 hours) he should be talking to the people of Greenland and not Ms. Frederiksen.


  12. And that’s why we maintain Thule Air Base there. What is the current strategic necessity for needing to buy the island? Prestige purchase? Renewed cold war? Imperialist aggression? Golf course? Distraction?

    I hear that Trump’s recently “joked” about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland.

    “…chosen her words more carefully and less flippantly.”

    Oh, now you care about care and discretion. Have you notified the White House?


  13. Jim in STL,

    I know that weather forecasting facilities based in Greenland had been used by General Dwight Eisenhower to plan for D-Day. Undoubtedly, there was also a wartime logistical and transportation use for Greenland. Harry Truman had seen this and it followed that Greenland would be valuable for the U.S. during the Cold War. While we have weather satellites today, Greenland still has a strategic logistical importance.



  14. James. Can you think of anything happening in 1946 that may have prompted Truman’s comments and concerns? Anything? In a historical sense? In a contextual sense?

    Could there be a little mixing of apples and oranges here?


  15. I would not call it absurd. Greenland is strategically important and the Danes don’t play the international role which the USA plays.


  16. Does Ms. Frederiksen study history? Harry Truman spoke of buying Greenland in the late 1940s. If she were aware of that fact, she might have chosen her words more carefully and less flippantly.


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