Greenland and Arctic matter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 20, 2019

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Submitted: August 20, 2019

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Trump wants to buy Greenland. Awesome. That’s… that would be funny but he’s serious so it isn’t. Greenland’s prime minister Kim Kielsen told the press that the island is not for sale today in Reykjavik, where the Nordic PMs are meeting this week. Denmark’s prime minister Mette Fredriksen has also commented on this proposal. She also said that the island that belongs to Denmark, is not for sale.

For those who don’t know anything about Greenland, it’s the largest island on earth. It belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark, but it has vide autonomy, and they have their own prime minister. It’s not a very populated island, as most of the land is covered by ice all year around. Greenland holds large amounts of natural gas, oil, mineral and fish. That’s one of the reasons why the United States could be interested in the region.

In theory, the US buying Greenland wouldn’t be the end of the world. It bought Alaska from Russia. Countries buy land from other countries. There’s nothing unusual about that. However, buying an area would require both countries to make a deal. Someone mentioned somewhere that the US could just invade the place. That’s also true, but just in theory. Thankfully Trump can’t declare war alone, and I’m sure that in the process of the Congress voting about it, someone will tell everyone that they can’t just attack Greenland. Greenland doesn’t have defence forces. The Danish military provides that, and hey, Denmark is a NATO country. If the US attacked Greenland, they would be in a war against themselves, actually. If not, they would be in war against not only Denmark but Canada, the UK, France, the Baltics, Germany, Italy, Norway, Iceland, and all other NATO countries. So unless Trump wants a green on blue war, that’s not thankfully happening.

It’s actually funny that this piece of news came out, because just last week I was thinking about the geopolitical importance of the Arctic. If you don’t know what the Arctic is, it’s technically the area from the Arctic Circle to the North Pole. There are eight arctic countries: Canada, Russia, USA, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark (due to Greenland and Faroe Islands) and Iceland. I m starting to feel like if the Third World War doesn’t start in the Middle East, it will start in the Arctic. Russia is the largest military power there. Sure, the United States would be, but they aren’t. The reason is simply that most of the United States is not in the Arctic. The country has never fought in the Arctic. Russia has, and Russia is prepared to do so. Canada has never had to fight in the Arctic either, but they have the area to hold training in their country. The United States has realized this, and not only do they have troops train in Canada, they have them in the Nordic countries too. Which are most in NATO.

So, there are many countries or alliances that want to hold the region. The United States and Canada have their own interests. Those two are allies. So are they with Europe. Norway, Denmark and Iceland are in NATO. Denmark, Sweden and Finland are in the EU. Overall, all five Nordic countries are closely knit together in economy, defence and just in general, culturally. The fact that the Nordic PMs are meeting together says that. All are allies with the US and EU as well, but things like who controls the international waters and their resources in the Arctic are tough questions. Then there is Russia. Russia obviously works with all those other countries. Russia does trade with Europe and the US and Canada. Russia sends gas to all over Europe through a pipe at the bottom of a sea. Russia is in no way against the other countries. However, Russia is not militarily connected to these countries. Russia is not a NATO country, nor is it an ally of NATO like Sweden and Finland are. Russia is the Arctic superpower. Canada is second. Maybe then, the US.

Arctic is important because of the natural resources it holds. Not only due to natural resources humans can use, like minerals and energy, but it’s culturally important. Many indigenous people live in the area. Northern Russia is home to dozens of different indigenous peoples that hold different cultures, languages and ways of life. I wish I knew enough of any of those to tell about them, but we only study those in school a little, and mostly it’s the Komi or Mari people, and that’s only because they belong in the same language family as Finnish. Sami people live in Lapland of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russian territories bordering Finland and Norway. Alaska and Canada along with Greenland are home to several Inuit peoples. I hate that I barely know anything about the Sami people of Finland, which is kind of embarrassing, because I know more about the indigenous people of America than the indigenous people of my own country. In my opinion, we non-indigenous people are in charge of making sure that those people get to keep their culture and live in peace. Especially if we want to do something with their land, we should hold their stand on the issue first and foremost.

I don’t personally live in the Arctic region. I live just an hour drive from the southern coast of Finland, so I don’t get to live the horrible freezing cold that would have me kill myself each winter. Which is nice, because I don’t want to. Still, I do want the area’s wildlife to be protected. No, we do not have polar bears in Finland, but we have other arctic species that require protection. The arctic fox, for example, because it’s adorable, and the regular fox from the south is being a shitbag and claiming its territory in Lapland. The Arctic is an extraordinary ecosystem and climate change is already fucking it up. We don’t need Trump and his oil drilling companies making it worse.

When talking about the Arctic, we can’t ignore climate change. It’s the reason why the geopolitical aspect of the region has grown. You don’t necessarily need icebreakers anymore to get through the passageway during the summer. A few decades ago, that wasn’t happening. As ice melts, new resources show up underneath it. Now it’s a race of who gets there first and who gets to use what routes to ship your eBay order from China and who gets to have ballistic missiles there (it’s Russia, they already do).

If I personally had political impact on this, I would demilitarize the whole area. Kind of like Antarctica is solely there for scientific research purposes. That’s amazing. If I could have a say in this, no one touched the natural gas and oil in the region. All mining, fishing, hunting, whatever, would be done so that the nature or indigenous peoples weren’t hurt. It’s a farfetched idea, I know. Demilitarizing an are is controversial. Someone mentioned this in the whole Greenland conversation too. What if, instead of Greenland, Trump decided to occupy Aland? Good idea. You could build a military base there. Only that, it’s not for sale. Okay, but it would take the US military maybe two hours to invade that small island. There are no troops there. Hell, people in Aland don’t even have to serve in the military. They speak Swedish, so they are overly nice, and if you were to invade them, they would most likely just give you some apples, potato chips and ask you that when you get tired, return us to Sweden, we never wanted to be a part of Finland anyway. I’m using this an example, because if you demilitarize an area, then what? Someone decides that it was a stupid idea and invades that area. Not much you can do about it then, right? (I wish I could say I’m sorry if I insulted any people from Aland in Swedish, but it’s late and I can barely manage English. Förlåt mig.)

 


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