Advertisements

Greenland?

In the age of President Donald Trump we occasionally come across stories that cause us to do a double-take, and confirm that we’re not reading The Onion or some other satire site. So it was with a Washington Post report that Trump is seriously considering buying Greenland.
The usually reliable Wall Street Journal had previously reported the same claim, and The Washington Post is also more reliably truthful than the Trump administration, so we assume it’s true. Which once again in the age of Trump leaves one to wonder what the hell?
Greenland is a self-governing country but officially a part of the kingdom of Denmark, which we were surprised to learn still exists, but it seems that the property might be indeed up for sale. As a former real estate mogul Trump is interested in the possible acquisition, and has ordered his aides to look into it, but it’s hard to explain why. Greenland has only 58,000 citizens, which is slightly more than the eighth largest city in Kansas, and 1.7 million of of its 2.2 million square kilometers are covered in ice through the year, at least for now. It has considerable resources of coal and uranium, but only 0.6 percent of the landmass produces agriculture, and with all due respect to the good people of Greenland it doesn’t seem a very desirable property.
If America acquires Greenland as a territory we assume responsibility for any calamities that comes the way of its citizens, just as we’re responsible for taking care of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of of a devastating hurricane, which hasn’t turned out well. If Greenland is admitted to the Union as the 51st state its 58,000 citizens will be entitled to the same two Senators as any other state, and given their Danish habits they’ll probably elect a couple of Democrats. In either case, Trump will probably find that those coal and uranium resources aren’t worth the trouble.
Perhaps Trump is betting that climate change will continue to erode the ice coverage in Greenland, and open up land for golf courses. He might have some casinos in mind, but he’s often been bankrupt in the gambling business. and it doesn’t seem a sound business model, given that Greenland is a far distance to travel for gambling in modern America or Europe. Our best is guess is that he wants to brag about adding more land to America during his reelection campaign, even if it didn’t add any value to the country..
We’ve nothing against the people of Greenland nor Denmark, and still have a rooting interest in America, so we’d advise both Greenland and Denmark to stand pat for a while.

— Bud Norman

Advertisements

England Swings Like a Pendulum Do

President Donald Trump arrives in England today for a three-day visit, and we expect it will be awkward.
By all accounts the American president is not popular with the general public in the United Kingdom, where large protests are expected to gather in the streets during the trip, and his relationships with the various levels of government there are similarly strained. There’s an ongoing “twitter” feud with London’s mayor, some continuing disputes with Scotland over Trump’s management of his disastrous-to-the local economy golf courses there, Parliament has hotly debated whether Trump should even be allowed in the nation at all, and the Royal Family seems to be handling the matter with even more than its usual exquisite carefulness.
Trump will get an official welcoming from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, as well as a fancy banquet and a gun salute from the Tower of London, which we’re sure he’ll enjoy, but that’s about it. The usual invitation for a visiting American president to spend the night in the palace has not been extended, there won’t be the usual House Guards parade with a trip through London’s streets in the gold carriage in the Queens gold-plated carriage that Trump has openly fantasized about, and it’s hard to see how any of Trump’s diplomatic objectives will be achieved.
Pretty much ever since the aftermath of the unpleasantness of 1812 America and Great Britain have enjoyed what Mark Twain hopefully dubbed a “special relationship,” which has persisted through two World Wars and a Cold War and all the post-Cold War unpleasantness in the Middle East, but that’s just another of those successful longstanding arrangements that Trump has gleefully sabotaged. He provoked a feud with London’s Muslim mayor and criticized its Muslim-friendly immigration policies, as if that’s any of America’s business, critiqued the Prime Minister’s handling of its “Brexit” from the European Union, which Trump has also criticized for its unfair trade policies and miserly defense spending, and lumped the UK with all the other Euro-trash he accused of taking unfair advantage of America’s economic and military might. He recently called one of the Royal family’s recent American-born and biracial members “nasty,” which he now denies doing even though the Fleet Street tabloid that interviewed him has released audiotape of him saying it, and the rest of it is even more complicated than that.
If Trump hopes to negotiate the best trade and military deal ever with Great Britain over the next three days, which is farfetched in the best of the circumstances, there’s no one in the UK at the moment who could sign off on it. Trump can exult in outlasting his longtime nemesis British Prime Minister Theresa May, who has recently resigned on a date later this month because of her failure to negotiate a successful “Brexit” from the EU, but she’s now a lame duck whose successor won’t be chosen in the next three days, and there’s no guarantee that the next Prime Minister will want to be seen giving Trump a sweetheart deal. There’s also no guarantee that the remaining members of our erstwhile allies in the EU, whose publics also much dislike Trump, will be any more accommodating.
Trump will get a sumptuous Buckingham Palace state dinner on the Royal family’s best China out of the visit, which we’re sure he’ll appreciate, but there won’t be any overnight stays or ┬árides in gold-plated carriages or any other concessions worth bragging about, and at this point we’re just hoping the trip won’t be yet another of his foreign affairs disasters.

— Bud Norman