This post first appeared on Russia Insider
American military publications have been saying the same thing. The arms race is spreading to the Arctic.
-Breaking news! In order to deter Russia in the Arctic, the American president, that's Donald Trump, for now, intends to buy, wait for it, Greenland with all its population of a little over 50,000 people. It's not a joke, it was published in the Wall Street Journal. With a reference to an informed source in the White House, the paper says the Trump has repeatedly asked his employees what they think about purchasing the world's largest island and has repeatedly mentioned this subject and idea in conversations. The government of Greenland has made a statement today, saying, "Greenland is not for sale." That's obvious, right? However, the government left some wiggle room and said that it's ready to negotiate with the US. Now America has to persuade Denmark. Meanwhile, I would just like to remind you that Denmark is defending the interests of the US by essentially being the last country opposing the Nord Stream 2 project, what a sinister backstab. On the other hand, if the deal goes down, which is unlikely, then again, anything's possible these days, Trump will go down in American and world history as Donald J. Trump of Greenland. Let's hear it.
The Wall Street Journal: “President Trump wants to buy the largest island in the world. The idea of the US purchasing Greenland has captured the former real-estate developer's imagination, according to people familiar with the discussion. They said Mr. Trump has repeatedly and with varying degrees of seriousness expressed interest in buying the autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. In meetings, at dinners, and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the US can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they were discussing its abundant resources and geopolitical importance and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea. At a dinner with associates, Trump recalled that Denmark was having financial issues over its assistance to Greenland, and suggested that he should consider buying the island. "What do you guys think about that?" he asked the room. "Do you think it would work?" According to one of the associates, the president was interested in the idea because of the island’s natural resources and because it would give him a legacy akin to President Eisenhower's purchase of Alaska.”
- That's that. Mr. Korotchenko, I realize it's Friday. It's Saturday tomorrow. But I'd like to point out that it's not some Saturday comic magazine. It's the Wall Street Journal. What's going on?
Igor Korotchenko, military correspondent:
-First of all, I don't find the plans of the US President Donald Trump funny. If Greenland gets handed over to the US, the US will have an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Arctic. It's not even about the fact that the shelf is rich with hydrocarbons and the waters are rich with fish, but assess this northern island from a strategic point of view. I'd like to remind you that, right now, the United States has a military base in Greenland — Thule Air Base. There's also a key facility of the US strategic missile defense system — a radar that tracks and monitors the launches of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile tests. That's why, in terms of national interests, the US is definitely interested in purchasing Greenland. At the same time, it's an obvious reaction of the American…
- And how exactly do they watch us from Thule? What could this mean?
-The phased antenna array of the radar is turned towards Russia and covers part of Russian territory, including the Plesetsk range and other areas of Russia where the Strategic Missiles Forces are stationed. I repeat, that's a vital facility in the American global system of... He's got a base, a radar site, and an airbase there.
-What else does he need? Why does he want to buy it?
-Perhaps it's about expanding the format of the US military presence. Today, based on the environmental and general approach of the residents of Greenland, it's unlikely they'll welcome an expanded US military presence there, including the deployment of the components of US strike systems, especially after the US withdrew from the INF Treaty. I'd like to stress it one more time that those plans must be treated seriously. Denmark is a small country, though independent within the NATO structure, and, as we know, its government is receptive to the position of the US, namely in the situation surrounding Nord Stream 2. Denmark is basically the only country that's trying to throw up roadblocks. There's another thing I'd like to point out. It seems that the US has just realized that we've seriously reinforced our positions in the Arctic. We were forced to do that because even though the US doesn't own Greenland, the constant presence...
-Our map clearly shows how many outposts we have in the Arctic.
-For us, it's strategically important to ensure the safety of Nord Stream 2. Our Arctic icebreaker fleet is capable of ensuring year-round navigation. It's obvious that since we're implementing our plans, the Americans began fussing. There's another thing I'd like to briefly address. Defense Minister of Russia Sergey Shoigu is taking measures, coordinated by the Defense Ministry Board, aimed to strengthen our military presence in the Arctic. It's not militarization against our opponents, as you may call it.
-I didn't say anything!
-Others are preparing to, judging by the serious and focused look on their faces. Once again, our goal is to ensure Russian sovereignty over the Russian archipelagos in the Arctic. Let's not forget that we have a range on Novaya Zemlya. We don't test anything there but we still need it. Recently, we've been intensively reinforcing our AA-defense system. The Arctic modification of the newest Russian Tor-M2DT AA-system is being adopted by the North Fleet units en masse. The Arctic is safely protected from any kinds of aerial threats.
-I was thinking, if it's all so serious, could we maybe split Greenland with the US?
Grigory Dobromelov, political analyst:
-Look, let's get rid of a couple of myths first. First, our icebreaker fleet is currently unable to ensure year-round navigation. This objective is to be achieved by 2024. There are...
- Let's put it like this, we've got more icebreakers than other countries. Our icebreakers are the most powerful in the world. We're the only country that has an operational icebreaker fleet.
-First of all, that's true. Rosatom has been instructed to establish cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route by 2024. Your map isn't completely accurate. The Northern Sea Route is a small section, the whole route is called the Northern Transport Corridor. OK... What Trump's trying to do right now... I can even show you.
- Please do. I'll turn it on for you.
-Ok, this is the Northern Transport Corridor.
- You can draw on it.
- There's a small section... There's a small section called the Northern Sea Route.
-Wait a bit. Go on now.
-This small section is called the Northern Sea Route. It has the most complicated ice situation. Only the new Russian icebreakers can ensure year-round navigation. And when we're able to ensure year-round navigation, we'd be clearly able to service the entire corridor and ensure cargo transportation. The plan for 2024 is eighty million tons. That's the Yamal LNG project and several other projects.
-What does Greenland have to do with all this?
-Greenland is part of the route. Denmark is considered one of the Arctic countries. If it sells Greenland, it won't be considered an Arctic country anymore.
-I was thinking we'd joke about Greenland for a bit. But here we have Mr. Korotchenko and you talking about how we should be preparing for tough ice times.
-Trump wants to use Greenland to keep up with the Arctic agenda. Unlike Obama, Trump hasn't appointed a special representative for the Arctic. Over the past few years, the US has fallen behind compared to Russia, which has been growing in power.
-Let's listen to US military officials discussing their wonderful, fast, and the most powerful, as they believe, icebreaker fleet.
Senator: “Let me ask you a couple of questions. Russia has an entire icebreaker fleet in the Arctic, 40 ships, and it's building 14 more, including nuclear icebreakers with weapons on board. We intend to oppose it in this field. Last year, we allocated money for the construction of six icebreakers. Can we oppose Russia and China in the Arctic, and if yes, what capabilities do we need?”
Terrence O'Shaughnessy, Commander of NORAD: "Senator, you've started with icebreakers, we've got four on paper but in fact, only one is seaworthy."
-So it's like they say, "We have two but one's broken?"
-Yes, two support ships are broken and one icebreaker is being repaired.
-The one that was launched in the early 70s?
-Yes, it's 43 years old. I've seen it.
-It's a disgrace for the American men and women serving on it.Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!
-Yes, sir. This year, when the ship headed for the Antarctic, there were several serious accidents. Rotors were breaking, the shaft seal was leaking and water got into the hold. At the same time, the heating module caught on fire. There was fire and a water leak on the same ship.
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