The USA uses soft-power tactics on Greenland and Faroe Islands
Washington D.C. has plans for Greenland and the Faroe Islands and initiatives have been set into gear that could have big geopolitical consequences for the Arctic region and the powers engaged in various economic and military projects there.
The former Director of the CIA and current United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, visited Denmark on July 22nd in order to meet with the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jeppe Kofod, as well as representatives from Greenland and the Faroe Islands in order to formulate a common military and economic policy in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions.
In mid-2019, both the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and Mike Pompeo had planned to visit Denmark in order to discuss issues related primarily to American military and commercial investments on Greenland and the growing presence of Russia and China in the region. It was even reported that the USA had plans to buy Greenland and thus cement their claim to this area and its resources. Denmark rejected any proposal to sell Greenland and the Americans in turn cancelled all planned meetings.
Despite last year’s diplomatic row, the Americans seem to have backed away from their proposal to purchase Greenland, and on July 22nd Mike Pompeo and Jeppe Kofod managed to have a joint conference in Copenhagen. During the conference, Kofod stated that the USA is Denmark’s “absolutely closest ally” and that they work together in order to secure a “rules-based international society”, which is a euphemism for the America-led unipolar world order based on liberal democratic values such as free trade capitalism, “human rights”, and globalism. Now it follows that all the countries standing outside of, or against, this “humanitarian” system will be portraited as morally “evil”, “not-human” and/or economically injurious and thus acts of subversion or destruction using either soft-, hard- or hybrid power strategies will be rationalized by the USA and its allies against perceived rule-breakers.
Pompeo went on to comment: “I have come here because Denmark is a strong partner. It is not only about standing together against China which undermines and is a threat against our national security” (Rasmussen: 23 July 2020). Pompeo and Kofod agreed on a common front against China on Greenland, and the USA promised that Greenland will be rewarded financially for the presence of the American Thule Air Base on the island (Svendsen: 22 July 2020).
That the USA plans to increase its influence in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions by financial means was made clear by Pompeo who during the visit informed the representatives of Greenland and the Faroe Islands that they would be offered new and stronger commercial ties with Washington D.C. in exchange for opposing Chinese and Russian investments on their territories. An economic, soft-power approach is therefore being utilized by the USA to secure its hold on Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
The influence of the USA on Greenland is already growing since they reopened a consulate on the island in June, with approval from the Danish government, and even paid a $12.1m aid package in April (Aljazeera: 22 July 2020). The Faroe Islands have agreed to start a formal dialog with the USA on the establishment of stronger economic ties and a free trade agreement. Besides the economic factors there is a military-strategic aspect as well since the U.S. ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, has reached out to the Faroe Islands to ask for the possibility to open a diplomatic consulate there and allow the U.S. Navy to use its harbors for operations in the Arctic (Joensen: 7 July 2020).
Such an agreement would allow the USA to create a wall or corridor of military significance stretching from Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and down to Norway which could function as a strong geopolitical tool against Chinese and Russian activity in the area.
During his visit to Denmark, Pompeo also managed to have a meeting with Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the American Embassy in Copenhagen. Rasmussen is a member of the liberal political party “Venstre” and served as the Prime Minister of Denmark from 2001 to 2009 after which he resigned in order to become Secretary General of NATO from 2009 until 2014. He currently heads his own Atlanticist political consultancy firm called “Rasmussen Global” and is a Senior Advisor at the American bank Citigroup. It is important to point out that Rasmussen is an outspoken supporter of U.S. hegemony and unipolarity throughout the world and was personally responsible for bringing Denmark into the Iraq War in 2003. After their meeting Rasmussen revealed that the topic of his talk with Pompeo concerned how to stop “autocratic regimes such as Russia and China” from making investments on Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Rasmussen advised Pompeo that “If we are to prevent the many Chinese investments on Greenland and the Faroe Islands we need stronger American involvement in terms of more money” […] “For that reason I have offered my help in supporting American investments on Greenland and the Faroe Islands” (Gøttler: 22 July 2020). The implication here is clear, the USA is also employing local lobby groups to further their agenda in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions. The tool is still soft-power economics through financial investments to push out and thus contain the perceived enemies of the “rules-based international society” which Atlanticist forces are trying to implement throughout the world. The next step is further militarization which might create a situation were this low-tension area could become a future battleground between the USA, China and Russia.
In conclusion, the fact that the USA is establishing consulates on Greenland and the Faroe Islands to function as direct lines of communications, thus bypassing Denmark, as well as offering financial incentives for the local governments is worth keeping an eye on. The fact that there are political actors calling for the secession of Greenland and the Faroe Islands from Denmark is definitely something Washington D.C. could exploit to their own favor – especially after last year’s spat where the Danish government snubbed the American proposal to buy Greenland. If Denmark refuses to play along, the USA could actively start supporting these secessionist movements in order to “divide and conquer” using soft-power coercion and “occupy” Greenland and the Faroe Islands for themselves. In terms of the purely Political, nothing stands in the way of the USA subjecting allies in their periphery to this kind of treatment, especially if they break with or show resistance to the “protego ergo obligo” system which Western Europe has been under since the end of WWII. America will utilize such actions if they see it will enhance their own power and allow them to more effectively counter China and Russia in making inroads into their proclaimed areas of influence, namely; Europe, the North Atlantic, and the Arctic regions.
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