Why does the USA want Groenland
"Revive" and "repair": These are the words used in the State Department in Washington to describe one of the tasks of the new Foreign Minister Antony Blinken outside in the world of friends and allies, who went through Donald Trump's four years, sometimes more, sometimes less traumatic. In Denmark, one of the most loyal US allies for decades, the desire for friendly attention was particularly great: the memory of summer 2019 is still alive here. At that time Trump wanted to buy Greenland from the kingdom first, the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen then scolded "nasty", nasty when she refused, and afterwards canceled his planned state visit to Denmark out of spite.
The foreign minister of the new US administration, Antony Blinken, was welcomed with demonstrative cordiality in Copenhagen on Monday. He was received one after the other by the Prime Minister, then the Queen and finally all three Foreign Ministers of the Danish Kingdom: In addition to the Danish Minister, his colleagues from the Faroe Islands and Greenland also sat at the table. When asked about the mood in the conversation, Mette Frederiksen then said, visibly relieved: "I would like to put it this way: It's a different approach."
Copenhagen is just the first stop for Blinking on a trip to the far north that will take him to Iceland and Greenland until Thursday. Mette Frederiksen talked a lot about "green change" and climate cooperation between Europeans and Americans, but it quickly became clear what will be at the center of the trip: the "Arctic agenda". In other words, security policy and geostrategy in an Arctic that makes climate change due to the melting ice interesting for the economy and the military, for raw material extraction and shipping.
Antony Blinken praised Denmark's role as "the only country in the world that is a member of the EU, NATO and the Arctic Council". Mette Frederiksen said it was important to ensure "that the Kingdom of Denmark, the United States and NATO play crucial roles in the Arctic - and not others". A barely hidden swipe at Russia, which is increasingly investing in military infrastructure in the Arctic. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod became clearer after speaking with Blinken: "We have seen Russia reopen some of the bases that were closed after the Cold War. And we are observing greater activity in the Arctic."
Blinken will also meet his Russian colleague in Iceland
Blinken then left for Iceland on Monday evening, where he will take part in the meeting of the Arctic Council and also meet his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov. Russia will lead the council at the meeting for two years. The Arctic Council is a forum at which the Arctic bordering states USA, Russia, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark exchange ideas together with associations of the indigenous Arctic peoples. In recent years, it has been about cooperation on issues such as climate, environmental protection and health.
The Arctic Council has so far taken pride in the fact that conflict issues such as security policy had been left out in favor of practical cooperation. The question is how long it will stay that way. Moscow will not have liked to hear that both Danes and Americans gave NATO a role in the Arctic on Monday.
The focus of American considerations on the Arctic is Greenland. On the island of 56,000 people, people are flattered and delighted that a US Secretary of State will actually drop by next Thursday in the first six months of his term in office. Greenland is an autonomous nation within the Kingdom of Denmark. There is a camp there that does not include Greenland's new Prime Minister Múte Bourop Egede, but Greenland’s Foreign Minister Pele Broberg, who is striving for complete independence as soon as possible and is hoping for a tailwind from the USA's recruitment for this venture.
The United States only reopened a consulate in Greenland's capital Nuuk a year ago - still under Trump - almost 70 years after closing the last consulate in 1953. They have been operating the Thule military base in the northeast of the island since 1951. "The Biden government is not going to buy Greenland," commented Denmark's public broadcaster DR on its website. But their goal is "the same" as that of the Trump administration: "The US wants to quickly establish a foothold and greater influence in one of the most important regions in the world."
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