Thursday, August 22, 2019

Buying Greenland

Michael - Thursday

She's smiling here...
He isn't.
It’s long been clear that Donald Trump thinks that everything is for sale—the only issue is the price. He certainly applies this philosophy in his business and personal dealings. And now he’s extending it to international relations. Over the last several days, he’s had his long-suffering aids running around trying to decide if his interest in buying Greenland was serious or not. Why all the fuss? As Donald pointed out, “Essentially, it’s just a large real estate deal.”

The Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, rejected it out of hand saying it was “an absurd discussion,” and “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.” Well, it wasn’t a joke. In the first place, Trump has no sense of humour. In the second place, he responded by cancelling his state visit to Denmark out of hand and by Tweet. Laugh at that, Ms. Frederiksen!

The New Yorker turned it around with a spoof counter offer for the US from Denmark: “'We believe that, by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation,' the spokesperson said."
They also pondered what advice the people of Puerto Rico might offer the Greenlanders...

I’ve always felt that Donald Trump is a greatly underestimated man. As he tells us, he’s the man with the highest IQ on the planet, indeed in the history of mankind. So I started thinking about the benefits (or otherwise) of this sort of diplomacy. Of course, it’s not original. There’s a long history and mostly a successful one from the viewpoint of the United States. They bought Louisiana for a song, and followed up later with Alaska. (The latter cost them two songs.) Most of Europe tried the same sort of thing in Africa and Asia—traded bits of other people’s countries with no reference to them. Well, that didn’t work out so well—certainly not for the people who lived in the countries. And the traders found it an easy step from there to actually buying the individuals themselves and selling them on. That didn’t work outs so well either—certainly not for the people bought and sold.

Still, this idea of buying and selling other people’s countries does have real attractions. Boris Johnson is having all sorts of trouble at the moment with the “Irish Backstop”, a key requirement of the BREXIT agreement for the UK to withdraw from the European Union. This Backstop is to prevent a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in order to avoid a return to the euphemistically called "troubles." Boris believes that the border can be controlled using some (not yet existing) technology to do the necessary customs and immigration checks remotely. There’s absolutely no doubt this can be done, Boris tells us. But … the Backstop is just there in case it can’t be done. Boris wants the Backstop removed because he’s 100% sure it can be done, so the Backstop is unnecessary. Clearly, Boris does have a sense of humour. (But he only has the second highest IQ on the planet.)

Donald would think bigger. How about the Republic of Ireland just buys Northern Ireland from the UK? Simple. No hard border (in fact no border at all), Northern Ireland stays in the European Union (which it wanted to do anyway), and the English, who have never understood the Irish, are shot of the lot of them. Of course, some people in Northern Ireland won’t be happy, but we’re not worrying about that sort of thing, are we?

In the same vein, Spain could buy Gibraltar, Argentina could buy the Falkland Islands, Pakistan could buy Kashmir, and other bits and pieces of Europe, Africa, and Asia could be tastefully rearranged. Putin could fork out a few roubles to the Ukraine for the Crimean peninsula and so get rid of the pesky sanctions. The possibilities in the Middle East are endless—pretty much like all the current scenarios. China could buy Taiwan. (This one does have a problem in that China believes it already owns Taiwan.) I’m sure you can see many other possibilities.

Back to Greenland. I believe this is only Donald’s opening gambit. Prime Minister Frederiksen fell into his clever trap by pointing out that, “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” In fact, Greenland has the offer of independence, but the 56,000 people who live there like the $500 million dollar subsidies they get from Denmark and have no interest in giving them up. Until the price is right. A good enough offer from POTUS, a speedy referendum with some cash spread around, and there you are. Greenland is bought—cheaply!—and two more Republican senators head to Washington. And best of all, the people of Greenland will be sort of like the Norwegians Donald likes so much. Then, with the global warming Donald doesn’t believe in, quite soon some pretty impressive mineral deposits will be exposed for his friends to exploit.

Just what Donald likes. A win-win! For him!

(Tremendous thanks to all these great cartoonists who keep us sane in an insane world!)


  1. I love this, Michael. I mean the humor and the cartoons. I can't wait to return to Mykonos next week to escape the reality of it all. Or rather the unreality. God Save US...the Queen as well.

  2. Do you think he'd be interested in buying England? I think the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish would be up for a deal...