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Those Darned Danes

The kingdom of Denmark was planning to roll out the red carpet for President Donald Trump in a couple of weeks and give him one of those fancy state dinners with the queen that he so dearly loves, but Trump has abruptly cancelled the visit. He thought the Danish prime minister was “nasty” in her remarks about Trump’s plan to buy Greenland, which she called “absurd,” which he took as a slur against the United States of America.
Although we dearly love the United States of America, we have no gripes at all with Denmark, and see no reason to be feuding with it. The Danes have mostly minded their own business and not been a troublesome people over the past few centuries, and they’ve been loyal allies to America during its recent military interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere, we can hardly blame them for declining to sell their territory of Greenland, and their prime minister’s use of the word “absurd” for the idea seems apt enough.
Trump is easily offended and always relishes a feud, though, so Danish-American relations are at a historic level of frostiness. Greenland has long hosted a key United States Air Force base halfway between America and Europe and near an Arctic Circle that’s of surprising strategic important, and has vast resources of coal and uranium that have lately been uncovered by alarming amounts of ice, so the idea of buying it was first floated by President Harry Truman. The Danes have never entertained the idea of selling such a valuable property, nor its 58,000 or so inhabitants, and we can’t blame them for that, so with all due respect to Truman it’s always been an absurd idea.
Trump could have avoided all this mess if he’d discreetly inquired through diplomatic channels if Denmark was interested in selling Greenland, and taken “no for an answer, but he’s a speak first and dodge questions later kind of president.
For now Danish-American relations give us an Air Force base at a strategically crucial location in Greenland, Denmark remains a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally and fair-trading economic partner, and we’ll hold out hope Trump doesn’t toss that away over a personal slight. In the grand scheme of things Danish-American relations are only so important, but Trump is also “tweeting” taunts against the British and Germans and Canadians and Japanese and South Koreans and other longtime and strategically crucial allies, with nothing but kind words for our Russian and North Korean nemeses. This entirely unnecessary rift with the Danes seems the latest part of an alarming pattern.

— Bud Norman

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