Standard Deviations: Buying Greenland? How sweet would that be?
If you’re anything like me, you’re still pretty bummed about that whole Greenland thing.
And, like me, it’s probably going to take you a whole lot of Capri Sun drink pouches and FatBoy Ice Cream Sandwiches to get over it.
Apparently, President Donald Trump recently offered to buy Greenland (and, we suppose, its 50,000-plus inhabitants) from Denmark, which currently owns the gigantic landmass. Silly me, I just assumed 100% of the countries and territories on the planet were already spoken for. But clearly, our Very Stable Genius in the White House had some sort of insider-trading information, because he very publicly offered to take Greenland off Denmark’s hands.
To which Denmark, equally very publicly — yet unequivocally — replied: “Wait. What?”
I confess: Prior to this, I had no idea that Denmark even owned Greenland. I mean, I’ve Googled it since, and I still don’t quite understand the dysfunctional relationship between the two places. Indeed, Nationsonline.org describes Greenland as “a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark.”
Which makes it sound a little like a Disney acquisition.
Had the Greenland deal actually gone down, it would have been one massive real-estate transaction. After all, the place is a whopping 836,300 square miles. Not since the Louisiana Purchase (roughly 827,000 square miles) has the United States seen that kind of potential boost to its physical footprint.
Or for a modern-day comparison, think of it this way: Greenland is roughly the combined sizes of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida.
Saaaay, you don’t suppose Denmark would consider a swap betwe–
Meh, never mind.
But seriously. It’s Greenland, people. I mean, how cool would THAT have been? They got polar bears there. And, like, narwhal blubber smoothies and stuff. And although 80% of the landmass is covered in ice, the good news is our current War on the Environment should be able to take care of that minor detail.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that my mother’s maiden name just happens to be Syndergaard. Her people were among the early Danish immigrants who came with the other Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley in the 1800s, eventually settling in Sanpete County.
So this U.S.-Denmark dispute is deeply personal for me.
After politicians from both Denmark and Greenland called the idea “insulting” and “absurd” — choosing those specific terms, I imagine, because there’s not a word in Danish for “bat-dootie crazy” — Trump immediately canceled a planned trip to Denmark and proceeded to lecture the Danish prime minister about how to graciously disagree with someone.
“I looked forward to going but I thought the prime minister’s statement that it was ‘absurd,’ that it was an absurd idea, was nasty,” Trump told reporters, saying the prime minister spoke “in a very sarcastic, nasty way.”
“I thought it was an inappropriate statement,” he continued. “All she had to do was say, ‘No, we’re not interested.'”
Indeed. Let’s chew on that one for a moment, folks: The king of the inappropriate statement — the man for whom sarcasm and nastiness is his native tongue — is complaining about someone calling his idea for one country to buy part of another country “absurd.”
And he’s right, you know. “Absurd” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
The most frightening part of this whole story is that there are politicians out there who believe countries — or large parts of them — ought to be up for sale. Trump supporters long made a big deal out of the idea that Obama was basically trying to sell the United States to the Muslim world. Which, it should be noted, he never did or even suggested he would.
And yet, we now have a president who has, quite literally, shown that the buying and selling of countries seems a perfectly normal transaction in 2019.
Meaning, if the price is right, we could all wake up one morning to find we’re now a self-governing overseas administrative division of the People’s Republic of China.