The Greenland Delusion

In August 2019, President Trump expressed interest in buying the frozen island of Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark. As usual, the president left much of the world at a lack of words, unsure whether it was a joke or something to be taken seriously. It turned out to be more than just a bluff, as Mr. Trump subsequently attacked  the Prime Minister of Denmark for refusing to sell him the island.  

Many people wondered, what on Earth would the president of the most powerful nation on Earth want with a giant island covered in ice? Perhaps he has an infatuation with polar bears. Or maybe he’s a huge penguin lover. Everyone gets a kick out of those little tuxedos they wear. Why would Trump be any different? If that’s the case, let’s hope someone told him those cute little birds are only found in the Southern Hemisphere, nowhere near Greenland (nothing surprises me from someone who claims windmills cause cancer).

Donald Trump Greenland
Courtesy: Reddit

In truth, the president’s obsession with Greenland is not as innocent or clueless as it sounds on the surface. Trump is no fan of the cold weather. He doesn’t enjoy skiing or ice-skating and he certainly isn’t concerned about cute little fury arctic animals. His main focus in life, as has been the case since his violent crash-landing on Earth in 2016, is obtaining more money, more power, and appeasing his legion of followers so he can remain at the pinnacle of global dominance.

That’s all.

What could be his motivation for wanting to seize Greenland? For one, he could rename it Trumpland. But who’d want to relocate to such a desolate, lonely, alien-like place? Maybe the American leader feels nostalgia as it reminds him of his home planet, or perhaps he feels it’s an enormous replica of his stone-cold heart.

We can speculate all we want, but here’s the most plausible answer. As much as the president vehemently denies global warming, he knows it’s real, and he knows it’s happening much faster than previously anticipated.  Even though he has repeatedly mocked climate science as a “hoax”, his very own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, told him last year that abrupt climate change could cause upheaval in the near future.  

Mr. Coats resigned last June. It’s easy to assume he was either forced out or left on his own accord, like a babysitter abandoning a house after the child he’s taking care of refuses to stop pouring gasoline all over the walls while smoking a cigarette.

 The summer of 2019 was so warm that it caused record breaking ice-melt on Greenland. In just a span of four days in early August, over 58 billion tons of ice melted from the surface.

Maybe what this administration wants is the world’s largest water park for American families.


In reality, a nearly ice-free Greenland brings huge potential for beachfront real estate and golf courses.  But more importantly, at least for a limited time, it may become the largest, and one of the last, monumental sources of freshwater. 

It seems Trump is not alone in his eagerness to conquer areas vulnerable to climate change. Russia, China and Canada appear to be on a race to claim their share of the Arctic Ocean as the ice rapidly recedes, facilitating passage for oil tankers. Some are even calling this the new cold war. 

But it’s difficult to speculate how privy the world’s leaders are to the gravity of our current situation, or the fact that oil may soon be the last thing on people’s minds when freshwater becomes the new gold and beachfront real estate is as common as penguins in Greenland.

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Roberto Guerra

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