Photo: Thule US Air Force Base in Greenland
By Sherman Cox
On November 30, the Defense Intelligence Service of the Kingdom of Denmark classified competing imperialist interests over its colony of Greenland as its number one national security risk, outranking both cybercrime and terrorism.
Greenland, home to around 55,000 people, has long been a target of imperialist plunder. The island possesses vast mineral wealth and is a strategic location for military installations. The ice sheets which surround Greenland have been melting more quickly due to global warming, and new, lucrative shipping lanes are opening up alongside additional sites for mineral extraction.
Both Chinese and Russian imperialists have been expanding their influence over the arctic. Chinese imperialists have been investing in mining and transportation in Greenland and have been vying for a contract to expand the Nuuk airport. At the same time, the Russian Federation has been staking its own claims in Greenland while escalating its militarization of its arctic territory.
Both Chinese and Russian efforts have been overshadowed by US imperialism’s domination of the region, which has had a continued economic and military presence in Greenland for nearly a century. In 1940, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany, making it impossible for the Danish government to administer its colonial possessions. The US temporarily occupied the island on behalf of the Danish, ensuring its status as a colony while dramatically expanding US military and economic presence on the island by building many military bases and exporting vast quantities of minerals back to the US.
After World War II, Greenland was returned to Denmark but the US insisted on purchasing it, setting the price at $100 million dollars (about one billion dollars today). The Danish government rejected the offer but allowed the US to continue most of its military and economic operations on the island, as they were then allied against the Soviet Union.
In August of this year, President Donald Trump revived the proposal of purchasing Greenland. Ownership of the island would allow the US to reinforce its hegemony in the region and further intimidate its European subordinates. Denmark has again rejected this offer, expressing clearly that the island is “not for sale.”
This dispute turned into a diplomatic incident which deepened the fault lines between US imperialism and the various European imperialist powers.
In Denmark, Trump’s offer has emboldened reactionary forces in their quest to retain the island under their control in some form, no matter how much it may rob and exploit them.
In stark contrast to these cynical power plays, the revolutionaries of Denmark are struggling in solidarity with the people of Greenland against Danish imperialism. They have recently produced a statement calling for the annihilation of Danish imperialism and an end to their plunder of Greenland.