Home/Daniel Larison/Trump’s Risible Greenland Fixation Strikes Again

Trump’s Risible Greenland Fixation Strikes Again

As Rod Dreher has already noted, Trump’s ridiculous fixation on Greenland has led him to cancel a meeting with an allied government:

The President of the United States appears to have cancelled a meeting with a nation’s leader because she wouldn’t talk to him about selling part of her country to the US.

Some of this is Trump’s usual pettiness towards any foreign leader that doesn’t flatter and praise him, but it is also an example of how the president intensifies his support for obviously stupid things when he is challenged. The Danish prime minister dismissed Trump’s Greenland fantasy as “absurd,” and so he thinks she has to be punished. Trump’s behavior towards one of our best European allies is the usual childish petulance that we have come to expect, but it is remarkable all the same because there is absolutely no cause for a quarrel with Denmark. There is no serious underlying policy disagreement or clash of economic interests at stake. There is no excuse at all. Trump is simply showing contempt for an allied country because their government refused to bow and scrape in response to his offensive suggestion that the U.S. buy up part of their kingdom.

The entire episode has been an embarrassment for the U.S., but it has been instructive in showing that Trump’s conduct of foreign policy is typified by a complete lack of respect for the rights and interests of others, whether they are allies or not. He sees other countries as little more than means to an end, and that end is usually his own self-aggrandizement. Advancing U.S. interests doesn’t matter to him, and improving relations with other governments certainly doesn’t matter to him. What he wants is using other governments to enhance his own reputation and status. Wanting to purchase Greenland to give him a presidential legacy is a good example of this. It will never happen, and he will actually harm U.S. relations with Denmark by harping on it, but because he sees it as a way to make himself seem more important he will keep pursuing it. He does not realize that in doing so he will make himself seem very small and silly, and the people that he thinks he is overawing with the power of his office will never stop laughing at him.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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