Okay, look, everything is melting and/or on fire right now, but here’s something nobody saw coming.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that President Donald Trump is considering having the US just buy Greenland. Yes, Greenland. All of it.
Greenland — as I’m sure you all know — is that piece of land in the middle of the ocean on your maps that looks giant but is actually only kind of giant. Good news, Gall–Peters projection map fans: Your day has arrived.
Look at the difference in how big Greenland looks!
According to the WSJ, it’s not entirely clear how serious the president is about going through with Seward’s Folly 2.0.
“In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance, and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea,” the paper noted.
While the president’s advisers are apparently split on whether this is an actual thing or a bit of passing interest for Trump, the US purchasing Greenland would be one of the biggest expansions of US territory in over a century.
The territory is mostly self-ruled, but its foreign policy and security decisions are made in Denmark. The US has apparently considered purchasing Greenland before, including as recently as 1946 when president Harry Truman offered $100 million in gold to purchase it. Alas, poor Harry, he did not succeed in buying the ice sheet–covered landmass, but the US does have a military base there where it basically has free rein. So that’s nice.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment on whether the US has raised this issue with the Danes at any level.
Meanwhile, Danish and Greenlandic (which is the actual term for people from Greenland!) politicians have been quick to dump a bunch of ice-cold water gathered from the shores of their noble island all over the potential sale.
“We are open for business, but we’re NOT for sale,” Ane Lone Bagger, who manages to be Greenland's Minister of Education, Culture, Church and Foreign Affairs at the same time, told Reuters.
Now we could debate whether the choice is a good strategic one — the US has been in competition with Russia and China over resources in the Arctic — or one that makes good economic sense — Greenland apparently requires over $500 million from Denmark annually just to keep on keeping on. We could discuss what it would mean for the 56,000 people living in Greenland if the US purchases their land — would they gain citizenship or just become another territory without representation? — or what sort of environmental harm the US might cause when extracting the resources that Greenland possesses — the ice there is melting at an alarming rate this year, a harbinger of things to come.
But that’s honestly not what we’re here for today — we’re here to recognize that the idea that the US could just purchase something as expansive as Greenland is weird in 2019. And that’s exactly what Twitter has acknowledged in force.
So, rather than going through the motions of treating this seriously, let’s all just reminisce on many US-born millennials’ first memory of Greenland: this scene from the classic film D2: The Mighty Ducks.