The world laughed and grimaced at reports last week that President Trump has floated the idea of buying Greenland — something that is “no joke,” an NPR headline read. “It's just something we've talked about," Trump said on Sunday. “Strategically, it's interesting. And, we'd be interested. We'll talk to them a little bit. It's not No. 1 on the burner, I can tell you that."
“Essentially it’s a large real estate deal,” Trump said. A very large one.
Greenland, while a Danish territory, has its own autonomous government, and it didn’t take long for the trial balloon to be shot down emphatically by some Danish darts.
"It must be an April Fools' Day joke … but totally out of season! [sic]” a former Denmark Prime Minister wrote on Twitter.
But let’s play along.
If Greenland doesn’t pan out, where else could Trump bring his “large real estate deal” expertise? First, let’s consider why he wants to buy Greenland — as absurd as the idea may be.
Part of it is ego.
If Trump works out the acquisition of Greenland — a land mass a quarter of the size of the US — he’d have an indelible and positive impact on America’s history.
It’s also a security consideration. “To Trump’s advisers, the planned multi-billion-dollar takeover challenges China’s dominance of the world’s industrial metals and helps to block Russia’s renewed military ambitions,” Phillip Inman of The Guardian wrote. Greenland possesses many rare-earth metals used to make phones, laptops and electric cars, among other things, a market that has been largely cornered by China.
Knowing these facts, here’s the five other regions of the world that Trump could buy.
Hear me out. If the Trump administration will go through the trouble of buying Greenland, why just jump over Canada? Not only is it the second-largest country in the world — larger than the US and sure to satisfy Trump’s supersized land craving — it possesses more natural resources than one could ever imagine. When the irreversible effects of global warming is felt, Canada has tons of room for Americans to move north.
If we’re looking for large countries with enormous amounts of natural resources, Brazil fits the bill. While Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country, its reserves of rare earth metals ranks second. China possesses 44 million metric tons (MT) of rare earth metals, while Brazil sits with 22 million MT. Additionally, a deposit of rare earth metals worth over $8 billion was discovered in 2012.
Don’t forget about the multitude of other natural resources Brazil lays claim to — including the Amazon. If the US bought Brazil, it could help speed up the deregulation and deforestation of the rainforest. Just an added bonus, I guess.
Greenland might hold national security importance against Russia, but what about Panama? The Panama Canal, one of the most strategic waterways in the world, was operated solely by the United States until 1979, when control slowly shifted to the Panama government. If the US bought Panama, it would reclaim this massively important waterway — and, with it, gain leverage over companies and countries all around the world.
Why go through the pain of buying an island far away with little habitable territory when you can buy an island that’s practically next door? It would solve the immigration problem, and it’d probably be a pretty good business move, considering tourism — with 4.7 million yearly visitors — makes up a large part of its economy.
The US and Vietnam have a history, but Vietnam ranks second in the world — tied with Brazil — for its rare earth metals reserves. And as far as national security goes, it borders China. Of course, that may be a little too close for comfort and could push US-China relations to a place no one wants them to go. Worth it for some fancy rocks? Probably.
Don’t worry, Trump; if Greenland doesn’t work out, there are so many alternatives!
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