Buying Greenland: Was it Putin’s Idea?

January 15, 2022

Reuters:

COPENHAGEN, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Denmark warned on Thursday of a rising espionage threat from Russia, China, Iran and others, including in the Arctic region where global powers are jostling for resources and sea routes.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service said there had been numerous examples of attempted spying on Denmark, whose active global role had helped make it a tempting target.

“The threat from foreign intelligence activities against Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands has increased in recent years,” Anders Henriksen, head of counterintelligence at the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, said in a report.Report ad

Greenland and the Faroe Islands are sovereign territories under the Kingdom of Denmark and also members of the Arctic Council forum. Copenhagen handles most of their foreign and security matters.

The report cited a 2019 incident of a forged letter purporting to be from Greenland’s foreign minister to a U.S. senator saying an independence referendum was in the offing.

“It is highly likely that the letter was fabricated and shared on the Internet by Russian influence agents, who wanted to create confusion and a possible conflict between Denmark, the USA and Greenland,” it said.

RUSSIAN DENIAL

In an email to Reuters, Russia’s ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, dismissed the allegation regarding the letter as false.

He linked the broader charges against Russia to a spy scandal in which the United States allegedly used a partnership with Denmark’s foreign intelligence unit to spy on senior officials of neighbouring countries, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Barbin said the allegations “should be solely considered as an operation to cover up the scandal with the Danish authorities having provided the U.S. National Security Agency with access to communication cables that run through Danish territory”.

The Arctic has increasing geopolitical importance, with Russia, China and the United States vying for access to natural resources, sea lanes, research and militarily strategic areas.

The Danish report also said foreign intelligence services – including from China, Russia and Iran – were trying to make contact with students, researchers and companies to harness information on Danish technology and research.

Reuters found in November that a Chinese professor at the University of Copenhagen conducted genetic research with the Chinese military without disclosing the connection. read more 

Thursday’s report said NATO member Denmark’s active international role, the openness of its society and high levels of technological knowledge all served to make it “an attractive target of foreign intelligence activities”.

Neither the Chinese nor Iranian embassy responded to requests for comment.

Memory Lane:

NPR, August 19, 2019:

President Trump on Sunday confirmed that his administration has discussed buying Greenland from Denmark, comparing the idea to “a large real estate deal” and suggesting the island would be of strategic value to the United States.

Speaking to reporters, the president confirmed reports that first appeared on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal that he had asked administration officials to look into the possibility of purchasing the self-governing Danish territory.

“It’s just something we’ve talked about,” he said. “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We’ve protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up.”

Associated Press:

The left-leaning government of Greenland has decided to suspend all oil exploration off the world’s largest island, calling it is “a natural step” because the Arctic government “takes the climate crisis seriously.”

No oil has been found yet around Greenland, but officials there had seen potentially vast reserves as a way to help Greenlanders realize their long-held dream of independence from Denmark by cutting the annual subsidy of 3.4 billion kroner ($540 million) the Danish territory receives. 

Global warming means that retreating ice could uncover potential oil and mineral resources which, if successfully tapped, could dramatically change the fortunes of the semiautonomous territory of 57,000 people.

“The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain,” the Greenland government said in a statement. The government said it “wants to take co-responsibility for combating the global climate crisis.”

UPDATE: Cotton apparently also wrote a New York Times op-ed lauding the idea.

One Response to “Buying Greenland: Was it Putin’s Idea?”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    The competition for the most stupid US Senator is a fierce one, only exceeded by the competition for the most stupid US Representative.

    I think many Dem senators may be just as ignorant about the real world, but they tend to hire knowledgeable/savvy staff rather than those who drink the party Flavor Aid.


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