Greenland is a place that you do not want to be unless you are from there. The obvious problem is cold. If one has read Jared Diamond's Collapse, one knows that Greenland is one of the few places on Earth that Europeans failed to succeed in colonizing, and finally failed at even surviving in. The status of the 56,000 mostly indigenous people who live there as Danish Citizens of an autonomous region make it unique in the world. This why the world got a unique laugh when Donald Trump offered to buy it from Denmark. The Danes were perplexed. They had not offered to sell Greenland to America or anyone else. They were probably also understating their offense at the arrogance of the offer.
America has always had access to Greenland when we wanted it. The United States Air Force maintains a small base there. There have been American bases there since 1941. The current base, Thule AFB, was much larger during the 1950s and 1960s, and was connected to secret camps operated by the United States Army as possible sites for nuclear missiles. One contained a secret nuclear reactor that was only discovered by a Danish Parliamentary inquiry in 1995.
Why is America wanting to buy what it already rents and barely even needs for military purposes? Is this another fantasy real estate deal from a President who collects bankrupt casinos the way dryers collect lint? Is this another failed marketing plan like Trump University or Trump Steaks... Trump...Glacier?
Trump publicly denies the existence of climate change, but climate change will melt all that ice. This will not yield human liveable habitat however. There is no soil under those glaciers, just rock. Glaciers pushed all the soil into the seas millions of years ago. It will take thousands of years for soil to begin to exist there in quantities that would sustain the farming that would sustain life even if the climate were to warm up to the level of say, North Dakota. Therefore migrating billionaires North as the climate catastrophe chases them is not the reason either.
This is America and there is only one reason and that reason as always is Oil. Greenland, and it's surrounding waters, is home to 13% of the worlds undiscovered oil reserves and as much as 30% of the untapped natural gas. There is a lot of money under those glaciers and some Trump whisperer in the billionaire class wants it.
The idea of an arctic gold, or rather oil, rush of course leads to all kinds of potential for conflict. First and foremost 56,000 indigenous people live there. I hope I do not have to remind the reader what happens to indigenous people who find themselves living on top of oil.
The second potential problem is that Denmark, the current European power that “owns” Greenland, might not agree to sell and America might insist. This would lead to the breakup of NATO and Denmark receiving vast shipments of American democracy delivered by B-52 bomber to their major cities. Denmark is an enlightened society that values health and education and it could take weeks for American drone pilots to put a missile through the window of every single school and hospital in their small nation. They are white people, so we might only kill half of them.
Our NATO ally to the North, Canada, might also not be amused with a move to claim Greenland, as they are mostly in between here and there. Much of the oil reserves around Greenland are along arctic waterways that could be claimed by Canada. They might fight for it. They might agree to jointly exploit these resources with us. This will not be good for the Inuit. Ask any Canadian First Nations person what sweethearts Canada can be to indigenous people and you will get yourself a very cold stare.
Could this break up NATO? The answer lies with the UK, which is the only power capable of preventing an American bombing campaign against Denmark or projecting the naval power to interfere with a seizure. With Republican allies essentially backing Brexit as a means to separate the Anglosphere from Europe, the breakup of NATO, followed by the UK and Canada sharing in the conquest does not seem far fetched.
Russia might have a word to say about the situation, but much more of the arctic petrochemical reserves lie in their territorial sphere than are located in Greenland. It would be a matter of Russia arming Denmark and other states as a favor that leads to Russian hegemony over Europe. Russia could fight to deny access, thus driving the value of their own exports up, or fight by proxy with Russian arms and energy and European blood and tears.
Whatever the eventual result, Trumps offer to buy is not a joke. It spells war for resources not next year, or even next decade, but in the latter half of the 21st century. The way to end it is to end climate change and the way to do that is to end oil dependence. The resource wars of the next 100 years are just beginning to take shape. If this author is wrong, the president is still merely an idiot. If this author is right, someone much smarter and greedier than that idiot has a plan and that plan is pure evil.