The Greenland Purchase

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

I promise not to do this to Greenland!

No Joke: Trump Really Does Want To Buy Greenland

August 19, 2019

President Trump on Sunday confirmed that his administration has discussed buying Greenland from Denmark, comparing the idea to “a large real estate deal” and suggesting the island would be of strategic value to the United States.

Speaking to reporters, the president confirmed reports that first appeared on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal that he had asked administration officials to look into the possibility of purchasing the self-governing Danish territory.

“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” he said. “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We’ve protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up.”


Earlier Sunday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News that the president had discussed the subject with his advisers.

“I don’t want to predict an outcome, I’m just saying the president — who knows a thing or two about buying real estate — wants to take a look at a Greenland purchase.”


Scott Neuman, NPR

While it’s impossible to determine if President Trump is serious about trying to pull off a “Greenland purchase,” the media meltdown has been hysterical!


The truth is that though it sounds kind of silly, it makes perfect sense if you happen to share Trump’s indifference to environmental issues and indigenous rights.

Greenland is believed to contain a lot of natural resource wealth that is difficult to exploit due to the large amounts of ice and permafrost in the way.

But the planet is getting warmer. A vision of American public policy that is neither interested in halting the warming process nor concerned about the environmental impact of exploring the resources would naturally want to acquire such a potentially rich land. Many Americans, of course, do not share that policy philosophy, but it is very much the Trump worldview.

Matthew Yglesias, Vox

The Grauniad

Greenland, and more specifically its purchase by the US, is being actively discussed in Donald Trump’s Oval Office. But what exactly is it that makes one of the world’s most desolate places such an attractive proposition?

For the president, it is the real estate deal of a lifetime, one that would secure a land mass a quarter the size of the US and cement his place in US history alongside President Andrew Johnson, who bought Alaska from Russia in 1867, and Thomas Jefferson, who secured Louisiana from the French in 1803.

Phillip Inman, The Grauniad


1. Why?
It makes sense to get the big one out of the way first, right? Why would the US President want to purchase an island that is 80% covered by an ice sheet and where less than 60,000 people actually live? Trump himself hasn’t said — yet — but there are a few obvious reasons.

The first is because Greenland is widely believed to be hugely rich in natural resources — including iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare earth elements, uranium and oil. And much of it is currently untapped, due to the fact that, well, 80% of the country is covered by an ice sheet. But due to global warming, that ice sheet is melting rapidly — this summer NASA scientists observed two of the largest melts in the history of Greenland — and that erosion of the ice sheet is expected to make the mining of Greenland’s natural resources more doable.

The second is for geopolitical reasons. The United States already has a foothold in the country — Thule Air Base — and, as The Wall Street Journal, which broke the Greenland purchase story, notes:

“Located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it includes a radar station that is part of a U.S. ballistic missile early-warning system. The base is also used by the U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.”

Third, Trump is a man very interested in his legacy in office. Buying Greenland would be a major bullet point on his presidential resume.

Chris Cillizza, CNN

The Washington Post

Trump’s musings over Greenland are part of his larger tendency to see territory as a tradable commodity, particularly in dealing with the Middle East. During the 2016 Republican presidential primary debates, candidate Marco Rubio chastised candidate Trump for treating Palestinian aspirations for statehood as a “real estate deal.” Jared Kushner’s plan for Middle East peace relies on territorial exchanges between the Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt. Trump’s March tweet recognizing Israel’s control over the Golan paid little attention to the symbolic claims at stake.

This is a dangerous approach to territorial conflict. As recent events in Kashmir make clear, nations are still prepared to shed blood and treasure to secure national claims. Understanding the symbolic value of territory is key to managing this and any future territorial disputes.

In other words, Trump’s real estate approach to Greenland may be the tip of the melting iceberg.

Stacie E. Goddard is a professor of political science and faculty director of the Madeleine K. Albright Institute of Global Affairs at Wellesley College. She is the author of “When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order.” Washington Post


In essence, the media and academia think that President Trump wants to buy Greenland because he:

  1. Hates the environment.
  2. Hates indigenous people.
  3. Wants to unfairly take advantage of climate change in his quest for American Energy Dominance.
  4. Views real estate as if it was a tradable commodity.
  5. Actually wants to put American interests ahead of every other nation’s.

Items #1 and #2 are lies and the next three are simply logical.

The Economics of the Greenland Purchase

Greenland is rich in natural resources.

Greenland general geology and selected mineral resources. (Brookings)
Greenland oil & gas concessions. (Brookings)

However, a lack of infrastructure, harsh operating conditions and lack of a large skilled work force make development very challenging.

The 2008 USGS Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal estimated that Greenland’s oil & gas potential to be nearly 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

At current market prices, the oil & gas resources could be worth over $1.6 trillion.

Of course the cost of developing those resources would be huge, the actual recoverable oil & gas could be much more or much less than the resource potential and it would take 10-20 years to achieve meaningful production rates.

One estimate puts the purchase price at a bit over $500 billion.

While it is difficult to find comparable sections of the United States that could be used to create a valuation, the closest are in the Mountain States, where mineral and oil deposits have been only partially exploited, and then apply a discount for the Greenland risk of lack of exploration.

Any analysis has to rule out North Dakota because of the established value of shale. Wyoming has no established mineral or oil deposits of similar size to North Dakota’s. 24/7 Wall St. has estimated the value of Wyoming’s land is $97 billion. Wyoming covers 98,000 square miles. Based on it landmass, Greenland would be worth 5.5 times Wyoming’s worth, or $533 billion. That would make the amount almost the size of America’s annual military budget.

USA Today

Greenland is probably worth $533 billion, if it was for sale.

Seward’s Folly

Signing of the Alaska Treaty, 1867
Russia offered to sell Alaska to the United States in 1859, believing the United States would off-set the designs of Russia’s greatest rival in the Pacific, Great Britain. The looming U.S. Civil War delayed the sale, but after the war, Secretary of State William Seward quickly took up a renewed Russian offer and on March 30, 1867, agreed to a proposal from Russian Minister in Washington, Edouard de Stoeckl, to purchase Alaska for $7.2 million. The Senate approved the treaty of purchase on April 9; President Andrew Johnson signed the treaty on May 28, and Alaska was formally transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867. This purchase ended Russia’s presence in North America and ensured U.S. access to the Pacific northern rim.

For three decades after its purchase the United States paid little attention to Alaska, which was governed under military, naval, or Treasury rule or, at times, no visible rule at all. Seeking a way to impose U.S. mining laws, the United States constituted a civil government in 1884. Skeptics had dubbed the purchase of Alaska “Seward’s Folly,” but the former Secretary of State was vindicated when a major gold deposit was discovered in the Yukon in 1896, and Alaska became the gateway to the Klondike gold fields. The strategic importance of Alaska was finally recognized in World War II. Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959.

US Department of State

Based on the historical inflation rate, $7.2 million in 1867 is worth about $125 million today. Invested at 3% compound interest, it would be worth about $644 million.

From 1981-2018, 15.7 billion bbl of crude oil were produced from Alaska North Slope oil fields at an average sales price of $24.58/bbl. That’s $386 billion in gross revenue.

If you think Seward’s Folly was a bargain… We could have had Greenland on the cheap…

American Imperialists Have Always Dreamed of Greenland
Trump’s reported hopes of buying the Danish island exemplify his 19th-century values.

BY PAUL MUSGRAVE | AUGUST 16, 2019, 12:17 PM

From his love of tariffs to his racial view of the world, Donald Trump is the nineteenth-century president America never had. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal offered another piece of evidence suggesting that the 45th president is a man out of time: the president, it turns out, has frequently mused aloud about buying Greenland from Denmark. (Greenland, although largely self-governing, is alongside Denmark and the Faroe Islands one of the three constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark.)

Like Trump’s racism and trade policies, there’s a precedent for American officials trying to buy territory. Most Americans know, vaguely, that the United States acquired much of its territory by buying it. Some acquisitions, like the Louisiana Purchase, are well enough known to be the subject of TV ads. Others are more obscure, like when Secretary of War Jefferson Davis and other Southerners pressed for the purchase of enough of northern Mexico to support the construction of a Southern transcontinental railway.

In fact, buying Greenland has been tried seriously twice. But the changes in international relations since then make it a far worse idea than it was at the time.

The first time came during the administration of President Andrew Johnson. William Seward, a Lincoln holdover, used Johnson’s distraction over Reconstruction to pursue his longstanding goals of territorial expansion.

Seward made bids of varying intensity to wrest Canada from the British Empire and to buy or lease a naval base in the Caribbean. His buccaneering policy finally paid off with the Alaska Purchase, when the Russian Empire, seeking to divest itself of some underperforming assets, finally succeeded in persuading Seward to buy Russian North America. But it also included an attempt to buy Greenland and Iceland from Denmark, which then owned both.

Robert J. Walker, a former treasury secretary and influence-peddler in the mid-nineteenth century, learned that Denmark might be induced to sell the islands in 1867 as he negotiated the purchase of Denmark’s Caribbean colonies in the West Indies. Seward leapt at the chance and commissioned Walker to produce a gushing report on the resources of Greenland and Iceland.

Walker’s covering note to the report marveled at how buying the two islands could lead the United States to greatness. Although he admitted that basically nothing of Greenland’s north or interior was known, it nevertheless pounded what facts it could master, such as that Greenland was “the largest island in the world” and that it possessed “whale fisheries…of the value of $400,000.”

Seward’s hopes that the United States could make a bid for the islands came to naught when his deal to buy the Danish West Indies failed in the Senate, even though the treaty for purchasing them had been ratified by both the Danish parliament and a plebiscite in the islands. (They would be purchased fifty years later and became the US Virgin Islands.)


Foreign Policy

American Imperialists???

Paul Musgrave is an assistant professor of government at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an expert in American foreign policy matters. He teaches courses in international relations theory, history and international relations, energy politics, U.S. foreign policy, and politics and science fiction.[1]


Never had a real job. That explains the snot-nosed tone and “American Imperialists” horst schist.

A business man would have honed in on this:

Walker’s covering note to the report marveled at how buying the two islands could lead the United States to greatness. Although he admitted that basically nothing of Greenland’s north or interior was known, it nevertheless pounded what facts it could master, such as that Greenland was “the largest island in the world” and that it possessed “whale fisheries…of the value of $400,000.”

We could’ve had Greenland in 1867 for less than Joe Namath’s starting salary with the New York Jets in 1965.



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