Yes to Acquiring Greenland! [With Literary Comment by John]

It is amusing to watch the reaction to Trump floating the idea of the U.S. buying Greenland. It’s not like we have never done such a thing before (i.e., Louisiana, Alaska), and while there were arguably constitutional defects with those acquisitions (especially Louisiana), just watch as Trump-hating liberals who ordinarily say our Constitution should be as “flexible” as Gumby and as “alive” as a mold suddenly become strict constructionists again.

I tweeted mischievously about the idea yesterday:

Naturally, people took it seriously. “Trump only wants it for miners and oil drillers!” And the downside of that is what, exactly?

As it happens, in my spare time I’ve been taking in a Danish drama called “Borgen” (the name for their primary government building). Think of it as a Danish version of “House of Cards,” though I think it is far superior to the Netflix travesty. In any case, one episode concerned Greenland and a pending visit to Denmark of the President of the United States! Denmark’s first woman prime minister (a moderate liberal and the star of the show) makes a visit to Greenland, where she hears a litany of complaints about how the mostly indigenous population of the icebound island is condescended to by Denmark, deprived of their autonomy, starved for adequate resources, etc. Hmmm. I suspect this plot line has a large element of truth to it. Denmark says it is not for sale, and it is not clear just who does have the sovereign right to decide the matter. Perhaps the inhabitants of Greenland might like to be acquired by the United States? Might be interesting to ask them.

(Photo credit: Jon Gabriel @exjon)

Barron’s reports that one Danish bank is offering negative interest rate mortgages for home purchases in Greenland. In other words, a bank will pay you to borrow money. I agree with Barron’s: Trump could borrow from a Danish bank to finance the purchase, and plunk down a Trump tower and casino, both easily reached at Greenland’s international airport! (By the way, Barron’s notes that we’re up to $16 trillion in negative intterest rate debt in the world right now. This is a world I do not understand.) Could be a fun meeting Trump has in Copenhagen next month.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News wins the news cycle with a recycle of one of their most famous headlines from the 1970s:

JOHN adds: Most of what I know about Greenland comes from Jane Smiley’s wonderful book (in my opinion) The Greenlanders. It dates from Smiley’s early period, before she succumbed to the belief that the world was dying to learn about her political opinions. The Greenlanders is set in the fourteenth century and covers the period during which the Norse settlements were beginning to decline. It is a terrific book, and includes, among many other things, one of the best courtroom scenes I have read. I recommend it!

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