Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

World War 3: US President’s chilling Greenland rationale as Russia ups Arctic interest  | World | News

Last Friday, Donald Trump raised the possibility of the US purchasing the world’s largest island – Greenland – which is autonomous Danish territory. In response, the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said: “Greenland is not for sale, Greenland is not Danish, Greenland belongs to Greenland,” before adding that she hopes “that this is not meant seriously”. Trump then announced he was ditching his visit to Copenhagen as part of his European tour next month, dubbing Ms Frederiksen’s comments as “nasty and inappropriate,” before releasing a tirade to reporters outside the White House last night.

However, Trump is not actually the first to float the idea.

In 1946, just a year after World War 2 ended, President Harry Truman’s administration actually went a step further, offering to purchase Greenland for $100million in gold.

The Soviet Union was quickly becoming Washington’s main adversary and the shortest distance between the new rivals was over the North Pole.

As the Arctic region started to look like a potential battleground, the Pentagon identified Greenland as a potential asset.

Putin is upping his interest in the Arctic

Putin is upping his interest in the Arctic (Image: GETTY)

Greenland is located near the North Pole

Greenland is located near the North Pole (Image: GETTY)

People have forgotten about how important places like Greenland were in the Cold War

Ronald E. Doel

If the Soviets launched an attack, American bombers stationed on the island would already be halfway to Moscow.

Ronald E. Doel, co-editor of  “Exploring Greenland: Cold War Science and Technology on Ice” explained during his book why the move made sense.

He wrote: “People have forgotten about how important places like Greenland were in the Cold War.”

By 1946, “practically every member” of the planning and strategy committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed that the US should try to buy Greenland, John Hickerson, a State Department official, wrote in a memo.

The consensus among the group was that the territory was “completely worthless to Denmark,” he reported, and “indispensable” to the safety of the US.

JUST IN: Putin ramps up defences against NATO in Europe and Arctic 

Trump was ridiculed for his idea

Trump was ridiculed for his idea (Image: GETTY)

However, Denmark had other ideas.

After the proposal was made during a 1946 meeting in New York, former Secretary of State James Byrnes wrote in a telegram that his overture “seemed to come as a shock” to Danish Foreign Minister Gustav Rasmussen.

The Scandinavian nation needed the money, but it also had its pride.

The rejected offer did not become public knowledge until 1991, when a Copenhagen newspaper came across declassified documents in the National Archives.

While today, the immediate threat of an attack from the Soviet Union is impossible, Greenland offers political dominance on another scale.

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The US and the Soviet Union was locked in a Cold War in the Forties

The US and the Soviet Union was locked in a Cold War in the Forties (Image: GETTY)

Greenland is melting due to climate change

Greenland is melting due to climate change (Image: GETTY)

There are unknown quantities of oil, gas and rare metal in the Arctic waters and as the effects of climate change is melting the surface ice, they are becoming more accessible.

Greenland harbours some of the largest deposits of them, including neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, along with uranium, the byproducts of zinc and around 100 million tonnes of ore.

However, Russia has got the scent too.

Unfortunately for Vladimir Putin, Denmark is a loyal ally within the organisation he loathes – NATO – meaning a deal is off the table.

As a result, the Kremlin is making other territorial claims in the Arctic. 

Russia has planted a flag below the North Pole

Russia has planted a flag below the North Pole (Image: GETTY)

On August 2, 2007, a Russian expedition dubbed Arktika 2007, composed of six explorers led by Artur Chilingarov, employing MIR submersibles, descended to the seabed at the North Pole.

There they planted a Russian flag and took water and soil samples for analysis, continuing a mission to provide additional evidence related to the Russian extended continental shelf claim including the mineral riches of the Arctic.

The expedition came as several countries are trying to extend their rights over sections of the Arctic Ocean floor.

Currently, the waters fall under a 1982 United Nations Convention that allow each Arctic state an economic zone extending 200 nautical miles from their coastlines.

World War 3 flashpoints

World War 3 flashpoints (Image: DX)

Putin has urged greater efforts needed to be taken to secure Russia’s “strategic, economic, scientific and defence interests” in the Arctic.

Days later, Russia submitted data to the UN in support of a bid to extend their zone and claim a large chunk of the Arctic.

However, former Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said: “This isn’t the 15th century. 

“You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘We’re claiming this territory’.” 

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