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Tags Current Affairs

US offers financial aid to Greenland

Date: 24 April 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Months after stirring a row with Denmark last August over a proposal to “purchase” Greenland from the Nordic nation, the US has caused ruffles once again with its offers of financial aid to the autonomous island that falls within the territory of the Kingdom of Denmark.

 

Background

Greenland is the world's largest island, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.

 

Details

  • This proposal follows plans by the US government to open a consulate in Suuk, Greenland’s capital. Members of Denmark’s parliament expressed outrage at the US government’s attempts to provide financial aid to Greenland with some politicians considering the steps to be “extremely provocative” interference by the US.

  • The US government has said that reason for this decision was to aid “sustainable growth” in the autonomous island, Sands also cited Russia’s aggressive behaviour and increased militarisation in the Arctic and China’s predatory economic interests as reasons for the US government’s decision.

  • In Denmark, the US government’s repeated moves concerning Greenland have become a cause for concern and have been criticised in political circles as well as in the news media since Trump first made references to the territory last year.

  • Purchasing another country or territory is unusual, but the US government has done this twice before, once when President Thomas Jefferson acquired Louisiana from the French in 1803 and the second time when President Andrew Johnson purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867.

  • There are many reasons at play here as many among Trump’s voter base in the US, the country acquiring new territory under this administration would appeal to their nationalistic and imperialistic views.

  • Should the plans for acquiring Greenland ever materialise, it would also secure Trump’s position in US history of having been the third president to add land to the country’s territory.

  • Greenland, though the world’s largest island, is geographically a part of the North American continent. However, it has always been culturally aligned with Europe.

  • Greenland is also a resource rich land mass, strategically located between the Arctic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, with some of the largest deposits of rare-earth metals, including iron-ore, uranium, by products of zinc, neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

  • These rare-earth metals are used in the production of electric cars, mobile phones and computers. For the longest time, China has been the world’s largest supplier of these rare-earth metals and has expanded its acquisitory plans by excavating mines across the African continent.

  • China’s nationalistic and aggressive foreign policies have consistently clashed with the US, with both fighting for dominance and prominence on the global platform.

  • An acquisition of Greenland would make the US less reliant on China for these rare-earth metals. Observers say Greenland, as a part of the Arctic region, also has large deposits of undiscovered oil and gas.

  • Foreign policy experts believe Trump’s push to open a consulate again can be chalked up to Russia and China’s aggressive foreign policy moves to gain more influence in the region.

  • Russia has been steadily expanding its military presence in the Arctic and China has done its bit on the economic front. Due to climate change, the Arctic ice is melting at an accelerated rate, opening up water routes for military and maritime trade.

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