By David McMillan
President Donald Trump confirmed on Aug. 18 that he has discussed buying Greenland from Denmark for its strategic value, and has likened the prospect to a “large real estate deal,” according to The Associated Press.
Such a purchase would block attempts by China to continue offering loans for commercial projects, and may disincentivize the ongoing territorial expansion of Russia, according to The Atlantic.
The historical relationships between the United States and Greenland and the degree of freedom Greenland now enjoys have culminated into the proposal from Trump to purchase the island.
According to CNBC, the last time an administration made an inquiry into buying the island was in 1946, when President Harry Truman expressed a desire to acquire the island for $100 million in gold.
According to professor Mark Nuttall, who published “Self-Rule in Greenland: Towards the World’s First Independent Inuit State?” in Indigenous Affairs, Greenland, the first population of Inuit origin to achieve a status of self-government after having received Home Rule in 1979, currently remains dependent for 60 percent of its budget revenue from an annual Danish block grant.
Greenland’s dependence will lessen, according to Nuttall, as oil and gas production on the island would enable the economy to flourish. The economic forecast seems to have spurred former Premier Hans Enoksen to express a desire for Greenland’s independence in 2021, a date corresponding with Denmark’s tricentennial of colonization.
With some believing Greenland is nearing its independence, others question whether a purchase of the island would necessitate a removal, incorporation or intrusion of the Greenlandic population.