Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden): trump takes command in the fight for Greenland

The American President is often just crazy when there is a leak from the White house. But not that time.

It seems that in August 2019 trump had nothing against to talk about plans surrounding its reporters before boarding a helicopter to return to Washington after a ten-day vacation in a private Golf club in new Jersey.

“We were talking about Greenland, Yes, it somehow became known, don’t know how. Greenland belongs to Denmark. We with Denmark close allies. We protect Denmark as well as protect most of the world. I came up with this idea, and I said it was interesting from a strategic point of view. In fact, it is the major land transaction”.

As the owner of a huge number of real estate, trump has for decades been buying up land and most impressive facilities around the world. But nothing, at least in part comparable with the purchase of Greenland, he is not even close to done.

The island, which for several hundred years by Denmark, was the first colony with a continuously developing system of self-government. Due to Greenland, Denmark is the eleventh largest in the world. In Greenland for more than two million square kilometers live 56 thousand people. 80% of its territory covered with large glaciers.

During the Second world war, Greenland took a step towards independence. Denmark was in the hands of the Germans, and the contact was broken. Greenlanders allowed the US to build military facilities on its territory. Since then, the United States to protect the island, as well as using these facilities for their own defense.

After the war, then-President Harry Truman offered Denmark 100 million dollars for that Greenland became part of the United States. It was in 1946.

But the deal never took place.

“A few years later began the cold war, the Soviet Union was threatening ballistic missiles. Greenland has long been woven into the context of Grand strategy. At the airbase Thule is an early warning system and a huge radar to detect ballistic missiles,” says Niklas Granholm (Niklas Granholm), head of research projects at the Institute of Total defence.

In October 2019, a few months after the initiative trump, Niklas Granholm published a report on developments in the Arctic and how it may affect including Sweden — one of the eight countries that have in the region of its own territory. The remaining seven countries — Russia, USA, Canada, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Denmark. China calls itself alloactions government, and he has a permanent observer status in the Arctic Council.

“The proposal was followed by trump after the White house discussed the possible plan of action. And we must act because Americans see how active it is now in the region of the Chinese,” says Niklas Granholm.

It compelling factor was the fact that Denmark has planned the modernization of three airports on the West coast of Greenland. On the island there are almost no roads, and sea routes are too unreliable.

“In fact, it’s the old base during the Second world war. Also, Denmark put up for sale the former naval base, Greenland Command, located South from the island’s capital Nuuk. Of course, the Chinese immediately volunteered to buy and base, and all three of the airport”.

After the Danish government talked with the White house scheduled the transaction was canceled. However and without it became very clear to me what security risks involve Chinese money.

“From the point of view of the trump, the best solution in this case will be to buy a Greenland — like buying real estate. But we don’t buy or sell territory this way. However, the American strategy has shown that the United States will not tolerate the permanent presence of the Chinese so close, and Denmark had to put up with it,” explains Niklas Granholm.

China’s behavior he calls “Chinese policy on Africa, which is adapted for the Arctic.”

“If you look at how China is behaving in Africa, the Indian ocean and the Pacific, it can be noted that he offers to all at first glance very lucrative contracts for the construction of infrastructure or the extraction of minerals. And when someone is unable to pay the loan, it turns out that things are not so rosy. Objects moving into the possession of China.”

The Arctic is one of most vulnerable climate change regions. In Greenland, global warming has already caused large-scale changes: masses of ice melt, turn to water, sea level rises faster.

In one hand, melting ice affect the daily life of the island. For example, starving polar bears, struggling for life, in search of food come into a populated area. On the other hand, this process has and geostrategic importance. New transport routes can be used in both economic and military purposes.

The inhabitants of Greenland it gives you the opportunity to a greater extent to provide for themselves independently, developing industry and receiving income from sources other than traditional fishing, tourism and the Danish Treasury. But for the same reason Greenland can begin to take advantage of great powers.

The island has deposits of various resources — iron, copper, zinc, and valuable rare earth metals are very important for high-tech and defense industries worldwide. Approximately 70% of such products are produced in China, which creates conditions for the formation of dependence. Due to the melting of the Greenland ice deposits become more accessible.

The report of the Institute of Total defence “Situation in the Arctic: significance and complexity in Sweden” Niklas Granholm talks about the Russian and Chinese offensive in the region and how the United States was lagging.

From China to 2018 is the official strategy for the Arctic of the same kind as that of other strategy of China under the leadership of XI Jinping that he is actively pursuing worldwide, investing in infrastructure and business projects, allowing you to gain control over the strategically important objects and areas. Failed transactions in Greenland is just one example of their very long range around the world.

The stated goal is to create a Polar silk road, Arctic version of the New silk road, which will link the East and West transport routes within the giant infrastructure project. In the Arctic focuses on the Northern sea route, which runs along the Siberian coast, providing trade links between Asia, Europe and the United States.

Russia cooperates with China, doing transport projects in close proximity to Siberia. In addition, on the Kola Peninsula and in the Barents sea actively build up armaments with the participation of troops using modern equipment. The main objective — to protect strategic nuclear submarines of the same class, “Yury Dolgoruky” that lurk in the depths of the sea, providing the country a potential second impact.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to control a segment of the Northern sea route from the Bering Strait to the North Cape and further towards the coast of Greenland. This may affect the cable communications and the fairway of the Atlantic. The heightened ambitions of the superpowers can affect transport routes to the West coast of Sweden, and the passages to the Baltic sea. This development directly affects the safety of Sweden.

The current Arctic strategy of Sweden has been active since 2011 and “largely obsolete”, according to a report of the Institute of Total defence. In March the Minister of foreign Affairs of Ann Linde, speaking in Parliament, promised that “in the course of the year will be presented an updated strategy for the Arctic.”

“It will be more active than before and will also consider a security policy”.

USA recently not quite able to keep up with changes in the situation in Greenland and the Arctic in General. The turning point was the meeting of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi in Finland in may 2019.

U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo (Mike Pompeo) gave a speech, which he called a frontal attack on the power ambitions of Russia and China and their attempt to militarize the whole region.

“Russia claims to territory in the Arctic and demands that foreign ships in international waters was accompanied by the Russian pilots. This is incompatible with international law. China is not an Arctic state, and he has no right to put forward strategic requirements in the Arctic,” said Pompeo.

He meant that the United States will act in the Arctic, increasingly, as strategic interests of the country threatening the Russian and Chinese offensive.

A month later, the Pentagon unveiled a new strategy on the Arctic. And in August, Donald trump offered to buy Greenland.

The President’s proposal has not fallen into such fertile soil as he had hoped. On the contrary, Danish and Greenlandic government was in turmoil.

The Ministry of foreign Affairs of Greenland has published an ironic post to Twitter: an island with large deposits of minerals, renewable energy, fish and other seafood, “open to trades, but selling is not placed”.

During a visit to Greenland Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen (Mette Frederiksen) called trump’s offer “absurd.”

Donald trump much offended, and his official visit to Denmark did not take place.

Eight months later, in the midst of the epidemic of the coronavirus, there is information that the US provide Greenland pack of the 12 billion dollars dedicated to the development of industry, tourism and education. The US Ambassador in Copenhagen Charles Sands (Carla Sands) added that the assistance should help the Greenlanders “to protect against the influence of China and Russia and pressure from their side”.

The Russian Ambassador in Denmark Vladimir Barbin for its part, said that the aid package Greenland “threatens peace in the Arctic” and that the United States seeks “to achieve dominance in this part of the world.”

Expect new episodes of the struggle between superpowers for control of the Arctic and the effect in Greenland. Voluntarily no one will concede.