What if we purchase Greenland?
US President Donald Trump recently made such a comment. It would have been good for the Global Community if they could dismiss the US President’s words as a joke…
However, that is not the case. At least, Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen was serious about it. She made it clear that Greenland was not for sale, saying that Denmark was only interested in strengthening business ties with the US. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who served as the Scandinavian country’s first female Prime Minister from 2011 to 2015, also expressed incredulity, stressing: “Is this some sort of joke? It is deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.” The largest island in the world, situated near the North Pole, is still under control of Denmark, although it has been enjoying the status of an autonomous region for the last four decades!
Meanwhile, the Danish PM’s statement has irked President Trump. Soon after Frederiksen rejected the idea of selling Greenland to the US as absurd, the US President called the Danish PM’s comments as nasty! Unfortunately, these seemingly insignificant comments have triggered diplomatic tensions between Washington and Copenhagen. President Trump’s comment was not a mere joke or an expression of primitive instinct by a businessman dealing with real estate. The desire to occupy Greenland is closely related to the US’ Geopolitical Ambition!
Extending to about 2,670km from north to south and more than 1,050km from east to west at its widest point, Greenland has recently become a hotspot of Global Geopolitics. Apart from the US, many other countries, including Russia, want to take control of the world’s largest island lying in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is to be noted that Russia, too, shares its northern border with Greenland! Moscow has already set up 27 military bases in the region. Even China has shown interests in investing in different sectors, like mining and infrastructure, in Greenland. The Asian Giant increased its influence in many Asian and African countries in recent times by making a huge amount of investment. As expected, Beijing plans to follow the same policy to ensure its presence in Greenland. And, the US, of course, is there!
Washington had set up the US Navy’s Second Fleet during the World War II mainly to protect the North Atlantic. Former US President Barack Obama had closed down the unit in 2011. However, President Trump has brought back the Second Fleet in order to flex military muscles in the region. With this move, he has hinted that the US is ready to ensure its presence in North Atlantic!
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently explained why the US made the move on an urgent basis, stating that just like the Suez Canal was constructed in the early 20th Century mainly to boost global trade, another such opportunity has come to the world in the 21st Century after the Global Warming triggered melting of ice in the North Pole, thus, making the movements of ships easier in the region. The State Secretary is of the opinion that the US could easily send trade items to Asia through this region in lesser time. China calls this zone ‘Polar Silk Route’! This particular region will not only serve as a favourite trade route or a strategic military zone, but also as an important source of various mineral items, which lie beneath the ice! In the past, those mineral resources were beyond the reach of human beings (or Capitalism or the Capitalist System), because of the thick ice sheets. Nowadays, the Global Warming makes it easier for people to trace these ‘intangible assets’. Therefore, there is no wonder that the interests of the Global Community in Greenland will increase.
We have triggered a disaster, called Global Warming, due to our negligence in protecting the Mother Nature. However, this disaster has created a new opportunity of prosperity for us! This is how Capitalism marches on… Wherever Capitalism discovers new (natural) resources, it creates colonies there and then, makes the wealth available in the world market. Earlier, the imperial powers used to take full control of their colonies (politically). Now, they do the same in the pretext of strengthening democracy or developing infrastructure! For example, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sees development opportunities in the Amazon forestfire! It seems that the North Pole, too, is all set to experience the expansion of genuine and crude form of Capitalism.
It is a fact that the Global Warming has opened the door for commercial expansion in North Pole, but the trade and commerce will certainly increase the risk of Global Warming many a times in the coming years. In terms of Environmental Science, this is called the ‘Feedback Effect’. The Environmentalists are quite sure that there will be a certain possibility of opening the mouth of a huge methane reservoir lying beneath the ice in North Pole, if we establish a trade route in that region. In that case, methane – the deadly greenhouse gas – will accelerate the pace of Global Warming! The US, China, Russia, Brazil and other World Powers are well aware of this fact. Still, they want to take control of the mineral resources there for business purposes…
Interestingly, the current story is quite different from the long history of Capitalism. There is a term in Economics that is called ‘Externality’, which means damages resulting from an economic activity. It has been a part and parcel of Capitalism since the days of Industrial Revolution. For so many years, Capitalism had seemingly marched on without knowing about this fact. In other words, the Capitalist System had no idea that it damaged the environment. This time, the Capitalists know everything about the Global Warming. They also know that the end is near. Still, the Capitalist World affords to show the arrogance to take full control of the North Pole or the Amazon Rainforest! Indeed, this is an unprecedented development in the history of Capitalism!
Anyone can call it the Capitalist Greed… Karl Marx might not accept the term. He could have said that there was no alternative way for Capitalism to follow, except this one. If someone doesn’t have the greed, s/he will have to leave this system! And, someone else would fill the vacuum. How could we stop this aggression? The (Capitalist) reply will be: the chance is less… However, the fact is that we don’t have much time to come out with alternative ways!!!
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