Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) encouraged the Trump administration to purchase Greenland in a New York Times op-ed published Monday, one week after the president publicly floated the idea to the consternation of his critics.
In the piece, Cotton pushed back on presidential critics who have dismissed the notion of acquiring Greenland as a fantasy, pointing out that President Trump is following in the footsteps of previous American policymakers who were motivated by their belief that the acquisition would serve vital U.S. strategic interests.
“In 1946, the Truman administration offered $100 million to Denmark to acquire Greenland, arguing that the island was ‘indispensable to the safety of the United States’ in confronting the growing Soviet threat, just as it had been in World War II when American forces used bases in Greenland to deter Nazi aggression,” Cotton writes.
Cotton — who himself raised the prospect of purchasing Greenland during a meeting with the Danish ambassador last year — goes on to argue that the purchase would help deter Chinese expansion into the Arctic Circle, and weaken the Chinese monopoly on rare-earth minerals.
“Beijing understands not only Greenland’s geographic importance but also its economic potential. Greenland is rich in a wide array of mineral deposits, including rare-earth minerals — resources critical to our high-tech and defense industries,” Cotton writes after detailing China’s failed efforts to establish military bases in Greenland. “China currently dominates the market in these minerals and has threatened to withhold them from us to gain leverage in trade negotiations. Greenland also possesses untold reserves of oil and natural gas.”
Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen called President Trump’s desire to purchase Greenland “absurd” last week after the president confirmed reports that he had discussed the possibility of making the purchase.
“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland,” Frederiksen told the Danish newspaper Sermitsiaq last Sunday. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
Trump cancelled a previously scheduled visit to Denmark in response to Frederiksen’s comments.
Greenland is a Danish territory with a population of 56,000 people who would, according to Cotton, benefit greatly from the economic resources that the U.S. could bring to bear on its relatively undeveloped territory.