Trump to visit Denmark: Greenland and Arctic Question on the menu
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is scheduled to make an official state visit to Copenhagen, Denmark on September 2-3, 2019. This comes following the cancelled meeting earlier this year where the State Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had planned to visit Denmark in order to discuss Chinese Investments on Greenland and Arctic interests in general.
Trump is set to meet the Danish Queen, the Prime Minister as well as the heads of the local governments of the Faery Islands and Greenland. He is also scheduled to have meetings with prominent Danish business people.
Pompeo’s mission had been to specifically discourage Denmark to accept any Chinese offers for investment in military and civilian infrastructure on Greenland and instead increase the American presence there. Something which is not reported very often when discussing Greenland is that the island itself contains big amounts of raw materials, minerals and rare earths which many countries and companies are eager to get extraction rights and licences to. That Trump’s planned meeting with representatives of Greenland and Danish business could concern these economic aspects and not just military/security matters is not impossible.
In advance of this meeting the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, has commented: “The USA is Denmark’s most important and strongest ally in NATO. Our soldiers stand shoulder to shoulder in the world’s conflict zones and in defending the security of Europe.” She continues: “I look forward to meeting the American President in Denmark where we will discuss global questions of common interest and how together we can strengthen the cooperation between Denmark and the USA in areas such as security politics, Arctic questions and enhance trade and investments.” (Meinecke: 31 July 2019)
Although Denmark recently changed from a blue (liberal) to a red (social democrat) government the subservience to the USA and all the destructive military actions initiated by the same or not questioned or criticized. Indeed, liberal democracy would appear to be a system designed to prevent change.
Philip Christian Ulrich, a USA-analyst from the media kongressen.com, has pointed out that Denmark without question is one of the USA’s closest allies in Europe. Whenever Washington D.C. calls, Copenhagen answers. Denmark has been completely compliant since the 1990’s which is something the American’s know and for this reason wish to keep a close friendship (ibid.).
The USA has a special interest in Denmark since fostering a friendly relationship will give them easy access to the Arctic region through Greenland. That way American companies will have a favoured position regarding extraction of raw materials and the US military will be better position to counter and monitor Russian and Chinese movements in the area.
Although the US Congress is eager to start a militarization of the Arctic it might be interesting to take a look at the deeper geopolitical reasons for such a move. A former Bush administration defence official and analyst at Lexington institute, Dan Goure, has stated that an American presence in the Northern regions could serve no other purpose than simply force Russia to drain herself of resources due to the upkeep costs of having military installations there necessitated by her long vulnerable flank to the Arctic (Larter: 21 June 2019). Resources spend by Russia in the Arctic cannot be used to strengthen her position on the Eurasian landmass the logic goes.
But as pointed out by Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, this same approach would drain the USA as well. He points out that Russia’s need to be present in the Arctic makes much more sense than America’s. Clark believes that having a permanent US military base in the Arctic is a bad idea and instead suggests developing their naval capabilities in Nome, Alaska, and only operate in the far north during the times of year when it is viable (ibid.).
It is unfortunate that Denmark has embraced the idea of the ‘end of history’ and American liberal-unipolar hegemony since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. Denmark does have legitimate claims and interests in the Arctic but these should not be dictated or made on the premise of American geopolitical or economic interests – especially not if Denmark and Greenland could end up acting as a launch pad for aggressive Atlanticist behaviour. It is time to say no to any further involvement and complicity with US interests wherever they may appear. The crumpling American Empire is losing all over the world and they will lose in the Arctic. It is now that Denmark and Europe should think in terms of multipolarity, adapt accordingly and go their own way.
Larter, David B. “Congress wants the US military to challenge Russia with a new Arctic port” DefenceNews. DefenceNews 21st June 2019. Web. 6th August 2019. https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/06/21/congress-wants-the-us-military-to-challenge-russia-with-a-new-arctic-port/
Meinecke, Sandra Meersohn. “Trump Kommer til Danmark” DR Indland. DR 31st July 2019. Web. 5th August 2019. https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/indland/trump-kommer-til-danmark