Faced with Donald Trump’s insistence on buying Greenland, the sane world has only one possible response: unity. We must put aside our differences, come together as partners — and make a counter-offer.
Consider the situation. The US president wants to buy Greenland, and he wants to buy it badly. My fellow Europeans, we have a wealthy sucker on our hands. Let’s squeeze him for all he’s worth. Publicly, as a matter of principle, we stand in solidarity with the Danish prime minister. It is offensive to even think about selling territories with sizeable human populations. But it would be unwise to fall out with the world’s only superpower over a frozen wilderness.
So privately let’s begin negotiations. Mr Trump, we are happy to discuss selling Greenland. We only have one condition: we want some of America in return. Don’t worry — not the real America. You can keep Wyoming, Alabama and all the places where six-week old foetuses have the right to buy assault rifles.
But Mr Trump, you have described parts of Baltimore as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”. Let us take it off your hands. We named Maryland, we’ll fix it. You have also said Puerto Rico is “a mess” where “nothing works”. We agree. It’s debt-ridden, poorly governed, yet still pleasant to visit. We think there may be real synergies with Italy.
These are the low-hanging fruit. But to quote Mr Trump’s own The Art of the Deal, “if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big”. Let us think big. What has Oregon ever done for you, Mr President? Or more to the point, California?
Assuming negotiations are swift — and depending on regulatory clearance — the land swap could be completed by the middle of next year. Mr Trump, your path to an electoral college majority has never looked easier! As for Greenlanders, they like hunting and fishing and their biggest city is called Nuuk; they definitely sound like Trump voters.
In 2021, in the New America, there will be no more tough votes in the Senate, and no more Nancy Pelosi in the House. The Republican majority will be so clear that you could even afford to take the profits on Alaska. Make America 46 States Again!
Mr Trump, this land swap will be good for the US economy. You want to increase exports — now everything you sell to California will count. No, there won't be delays and borders checks; it will all just work itself out. Incredible, you say? That is what we thought, but you trust our mutual friend Boris Johnson, don’t you?
Caution — we expect the White House may push back at this point, worrying that, under the Danes, the former US states will become havens for immigrants. At this point, we will simply ask whether Mr Trump follows the Danish election results.
He may also wonder whether he really wants to swap prime parts of the west coast for a frozen island 1,750 miles from Manhattan. We will again refer him to The Art of the Deal. “Perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location,” Mr Trump’s ghostwriter wrote. “First of all, you don’t necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal.”
Mr Trump, this is the best deal — California and Oregon are about 260,000 square miles, Greenland is 836,000. It’s the most unequal equation since you compared your inauguration crowd with Barack Obama’s. You’d be a fool not to sign.
As a fallback, we could accept a Trump Organization-style licensing arrangement. Mr Trump would yield control of the underlying asset but retain naming rights. California, Oregon, Alaska, Maryland and Puerto Rico would keep the American brand, but their management and ownership would pass overseas. Greenland, meanwhile, would soon be as American as gerrymandering and falling life expectancy.
The more I think about the “Arctic of the Deal”, the more I like it. The European Central Bank would surely finance the transaction; Deutsche Bank and Barclays could finally crack the US deal market. The whole thing will probably spawn a sequel to the musical Hamilton.
There is only one potential hitch: one banker I consulted thought Mr Trump might already have offered the right of first refusal to Russia.
Get alerts on US politics & policy when a new story is published