Thursday, August 22, 2019

Trump: Emperor of America, King of Greenland?

Friends, my latest article, soon to appear in American Greatness, addresses the kerfuffle over President Trump's interest in the purchase of Greenland.  Many leftists are lampooning the proposal, but, and this may shock you, I regard it as...brilliant!  The United States hasn't had the vision to pursue further territorial expansion in generations.  Leave it to Trump to rediscover the charms of Manifest Destiny!  There are excellent economic and strategic reasons why it would benefit the United States to acquire Greenland, and there are good reasons to believe the transaction would benefit the Danes and the Greenlanders too.  Read all about it:

The Great Greenland Gambit of 2019

Recently, a small-minded tattletale revealed that President Trump has been exploring the possibility of the U.S. purchase of Denmark's overseas territory of Greenland. Greenland is a vast, icy wasteland lodged in the northern Atlantic and southern Arctic Oceans. It is also, however, the home of key U.S. military bases — controlling space assets and providing early warning of potential nuclear attacks — and contains a treasure trove of natural resources, including a variety of metals, gemstones, oil, fish, and hydroelectricity. It is sparsely inhabited by impoverished native Inuits and could benefit tremendously from an infusion of U.S. investment and technical expertise. For the Danes, Greenland is a financial burden they would likely be glad to shed. 
The proposed U.S. purchase of Greenland therefore makes a great deal of sense, but whomever leaked word of the hypothetical transaction seemingly did so with only one end in mind: giving a black eye to the international pariah and supervillain, Donald J. Trump. Sadly, the people of the United States, Denmark, and Greenland may all suffer because of this leaker's slavish devotion to Trump Derangement Syndrome. There is a chance, however, albeit a slim one, that the damage wrought by this agent provocateur can be undone.

The reaction in the United States and in Denmark to the precipitous release of information about the proposed purchase of Greenland has been predictable: U.S. liberals and the vast majority of Trump-hating Danes have recoiled in horror, thunderstruck by the notion that the hapless natives of Greenland would be handed over to the tender mercies of the cruel and “racist” dictator Trump. They have also cast the hypothetical transfer of sovereignty as a crass real estate deal writ large (an analogy unwisely embraced by Trump himself), when the full implications of the sale of Greenland to the United States are far more complex. 
Not just profits and losses are at stake, for all three peoples, but livelihoods, identities, and questions of national security. Trump, and those who support the deal, instead of describing it as a massive exercise in property development, would have been better off focusing on the transaction's human dimensions. They should have cited, for instance, the many communities of Native Americans in the United States, especially in Alaska, which are thriving because of federal assistance, entrepreneurship, and private-sector exploitation of their natural resources. Greenland's natives, by contrast, suffer appalling rates of suicide, alcoholism, and unemployment. 
Yes, transformative change can be frightening, but it is those who embrace it who prosper in this world, not those who cocoon themselves against modernity. Given the fact that climate change is opening up huge new expanses of Greenland to settlement and economic development, Greenlanders can legitimately question whether the tiny Kingdom of Denmark is the logical choice to lead their ice-bound land into the future.

Proponents of the U.S. purchase of Greenland can also point to the fact that the inherent logic of such a move has caused it to be proposed before: Secretary of State William Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, also wished to buy Greenland. In addition, President Truman (ironically, a liberal icon) wanted to purchase Greenland in 1946 because of its strategic value in the Atomic Age.

In the end, we must hope that the people of the United States, Denmark, and Greenland, once they have had time to recover from the latest paroxysm of Trump-hatred, reconsider their hasty dismissal of President Trump's outside-the-box proposal. The existing state of affairs may be acceptable to the three peoples concerned, but the potential benefits of a transfer of sovereignty are tremendous. 

At a stroke, the United States of America would be close to one million square miles bigger, and it would have a permanent presence in the North Atlantic and Arctic for the first time. Denmark would be richer and it would be rid of one of Europe's last colonies left over from the Age of Exploration and Imperialism. The people of Greenland would live in a land as dynamic and rich as Alaska — America's “Last Frontier” that has become a mecca for industry and tourism, as well as the home of some of our proudest and strongest native communities.

Let's take a deep breath and, instead of condemning President Trump for his boldness and ingenuity, acknowledge that the U.S. purchase of Greenland could be, instead of “Trump's Folly,” a masterstroke of diplomacy and economics.

There is a saying that all great empires are either expanding or they are dying. Kudos to President Trump for having the vision to propose that our American Empire expands (peacefully and benevolently) to the north.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

And here it is at American Greatness: 


  1. Dr. Waddy: Erasure once again so I'll keep my comments brief and separate. Western Europe: you'd think the Nazis would have lent them perspective and perception about totalitarianism but, sans perhaps the Brits, they appear not to have learned.

    So President Trump and the U.S. are the villains now ? Well! I remember a candidate for the Danish Presidency in the early '70's having seriously proposed that Denmark needed only a recording saying "We surrender" in Russian!. The reality of the aftermath of that was conveniently unconsidered. NATO, the U.S.? Why, 1940 never happened! And now contempt for the present U.S., which empowered one as well, crude and nouveau riche as Trump, well that's understood is it not?

  2. Dr. Waddy: The left insists that human generated global warming advances apace and presents Greenland as proof. That warming is happening is very plausible but that the leftist generated presumption of human fault thereof is unassailable? They will never convince me; their totalitarian and doctrinaire nature calls into serious question all of their arrogant assertions.

    Anyway, warming may make Greenland a very habitable place and does anyone think the world will ignore a land so vast and newly accessible? Perhaps President Trump, an enterprising man, foresees this. Would the U.S., a country which has learned profound moral lessons from its expansionist past, be the very worst steward of this new frontier?

  3. Dr. Waddy: Kudos to President Trump for reacting as he did to the Danish Prime Minister's characterization of the President's leaked consideration of making an offer for Greenland as an "absurd conversation". I'm going to call the White House comment line to express support for him. The PM's comment was presumptuous, hyperbolic and disrespectful and I'm glad the President defended himself and us.

  4. Jack, I agree with you and President Trump that the response of the Danish Prime Minister to the Greenland gambit was provocative and disrespectful, but at the same time she was a lot more diplomatic than many other Danes and assorted leftist Trump-haters. In the end I don't believe US-Danish relations will be significantly harmed, and I suspect Trump will go on his visit after a decent interval. In the meantime, he's sent the message that the US does not appreciate being mocked. Liberals don't seem to understand that the seething global hatred and contempt for Trump is hardly a credit to the country he leads. You can't trash the President, and expect America's reputation to soar.

    I certainly agree that Greenland would be a valuable addition to the territory of the United States -- and climate change makes it more of a prize every year! Greenland will never reach its potential with Denmark pulling the strings.

  5. Sarah Palin's insightful perspective:

  6. Dr.Waddy:Test. two erasures so far tonight. Jack

  7. Apologies Dr. Waddy and Jack--I am falling behind here in replying (getting ready for the semester to start Monday).

    Although, I did find President Trump's comment a tad bit odd, I for one, find it refreshing and not all that provocative or disrespectful. Finally, someone who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. As for Sarah Palin...sigh...I find her nauseating, maybes its the voice. Her article though, is on point. Let me just say, perhaps we could forgive --I think--Denmark's ((?)) late NATO dues in exchange for Greenland? Hmm, now there is a thought, grin. I say go for it, Mr. President.

  8. Dr. Waddy and Linda: We can be sure that if the Russian Army ever sallies into the Polish tank country those Danes who are complacent would run to us mewing for protection. Our strength and resolve has protected them from that for over 80 years now and some of them may have gotten presumptuous. So they are late on their dues, eh? Perhaps we should neglect our duties to them, which no doubt include repulse of any threat to Greenland. Russia and China do have navies superior to that of Denmark.

  9. Linda, we are grateful for any commenting you can find time for here at WaddyIsRight. I'm sure school will keep you busy, but throw us a bone now and then. That's all we can ask. :)

    To clarify, there are no "dues" as such in NATO. Theoretically, all NATO countries have agreed to try to spend 2% or more of their GDP on defense. Most actually spend far less than that, including Denmark. So yes -- Denmark is mooching off the United States in security terms, and has been doing so for a long time. Were we to sacrifice the security of Greenland, though, to Russia or China, arguably we would be hurting ourselves more than Denmark. The Danes kind of have us over a barrel, therefore -- which no doubt explains their favorite pastime: thumbing their noses at boorish Americans! At least Trump showed them that they should choose their words more carefully in future.

  10. Dr. Waddy: Yeah, you're right; it would hurt us more.