There have been many, many points during Donald Trump’s presidency when he has seemed to resemble less a world leader than an excitable toddler, from his obsession with a “space force” to his joyous turn honking a truck horn to his innumerable tantrums. The news that he has expressed interest in buying Greenland — as in purchasing the entire thing — fits right in with a leader who sees the world as a Risk board to be tipped over. The Wall Street Journal has the scoop:
In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance, and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea.
Some of his advisers have supported the concept, saying it was a good economic play, two of the people said, while others dismissed it as a fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition. It is also unclear how the U.S. would go about acquiring Greenland even if the effort were serious.
There are two major problems with Trump’s grand vision. For one, Greenland is fully controlled by Denmark, a country the president may or not may not be familiar with (he’s visiting next month). For another, though America did once try to acquire Greenland and currently maintains military bases there, there is no indication that the place is for sale. Danish politicians mocked the idea on Friday, per Reuters:
“It has to be an April Fool’s joke. Totally out of season,” former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter.
“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR.
“The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous,” he said.
Still, Trump’s plan makes a certain kind of intuitive sense. By backing out of the Paris climate treaty, he may help accelerate a rapid warming trend that’s already gripping Greenland. In just a couple decades, the place may be fit for a championship golf course or two.