Republican senator tries to defend Trump’s gambit to buy Greenland — but he misses a crucial fact

Republican senator tries to defend Trump’s gambit to buy Greenland — but he misses a crucial fact
Firing Line (Screenshot)

When President Donald Trump offered to purchase Greenland — and angrily canceled a trip to Denmark after Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen flat-out rejected the idea — some of his supporters were bound to defend the president. One such supporter is Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Cotton makes an argument in favor of the U.S. acquiring Greenland in a New York Times op-ed, ignoring the fact that neither Denmark nor Greenland's leadership wants to see the island put up for sale.

“Once again, the president is crazy like a fox,” Cotton insists. “The acquisition of Greenland would secure vital strategic interests for the United States, economically benefit both us and Greenlanders, and would be in keeping with American — and Danish — diplomatic traditions.”

Cotton notes that Greenland “has long attracted the attention of American policymakers,” including, in 1946, President Harry Truman — whose administration “offered $100 million to Denmark to acquire Greenland,” Cotton writes. But one thing Cotton doesn’t note in his op-ed is how differently that offer was handled: Truman never described the Danish government as being “nasty” when the offer was rejected 73 years ago.

According to Cotton’s op-ed, purchasing Greenland could be as advantageous for Denmark and Greenland as it would be for the United States.

“As the world’s largest economy,” Cotton writes, “the United States could more easily assume support for Greenland’s communities while investing substantially in its future. The transfer of Greenland’s sovereignty would alleviate a significant financial burden on the Danish people while expanding opportunities for Greenlanders.”

How “easily” the U.S. could “assume support for Greenland’s communities” in 2019 is certainly debatable. CNN, on August 21, reported that according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the United States’ federal budget deficit is projected to reach $1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year. This is an increase from previous projections: before, the CBO predicted a $892 billion deficit for 2020. And even if Denmark and Greenland were agreeable to a purchase, the expense would only add to the United States’ already huge deficit — or, to use Cotton’s words, “financial burden.”

In a short article for Splinter News, writer Jack Crosbie takes Cotton to task for acting like a Greenland purchase is even on the table.

“We don’t need to buy Greenland,” Crosbie declares. “It is not for sale. How are we still talking about this like it’s a real thing?”


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