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The world was all abuzz last week when news reports revealed that President Donald Trump was interested in purchasing Greenland, the world’s largest island, from Denmark.
That fact came as a bit of a shock to the Danes and Greenlanders, who are a self-governing and semi-autonomous country under the Danish constitution. Their reaction to The Donald’s real estate impulse ranged from “No” to “Hell, no” to “He has gone crazy.” It’s safe to say that Greenland is not going to become part of the United States anytime soon.
The idea wasn’t totally crazy, though it came close. The United States previously tried to buy Greenland in 1867 under Andrew Johnson and in 1946 under Harry Truman, but Denmark refused to sell. The U.S. interest in Greenland is both strategic and economic. The closest route to Europe goes through Greenland and the island has significant reserves of natural minerals and rare earths that are increasingly important to modern technology.
But as with other Trump impulses, the downsides of such a purchase are significant, not including the fact that the people of Greenland have no desire to trade their lifestyle and values for Trump’s version of colonialism. The giant island has a population of only 56,000 people who are scattered across the largely ice-frozen island, which is melting rapidly due to climate change. The U.S. already has an important military base in Thule through a previous treaty, making a purchase for military reasons unnecessary, and Greenland is quite willing to sell its mineral resources without needing to sell its soul, too.
Nearest I can tell, the biggest reason Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland is vanity, trying to make history by adding another chunk of land to the United States similar to the Louisiana Purchase or the purchase of Alaska from Russia in the 19th century. The man who repeatedly screwed up real estate deals in New York City, turning bankruptcy into a way of life, just wants to make another deal that will make him look good to his “base.”
I have an idea for a deal, though, that has way more upsides than Greenland. In tribute to Jonathan Swift, I would like to make a modest proposal for the Trump administration’s consideration.
Yes, acquire Mexico and eliminate most of the immigration problem overnight. Mexicans won’t have to invade the United States because they’ll now be part of the United States and can stay home to work. And all those millions of Mexicans living in the U.S. now will automatically become citizens, eliminating the nightmare for the Dreamers and allowing ICE and the border patrol to find other uses for their cages and detention centers.
There are so many other advantages to my idea. Consider:
At an exchange rate of 17 pesos to one dollar, the U.S. could save a lot of dollars buying Mexico with pesos. A million pesos, after all, is only $58,823 and each billion pesos is only $58.8 million, a real steal. Since Mexico is a sovereign country, it can haggle directly over the price without needing another country’s permission.
With a population of 126 million and an educational level comparable to many current states, the state of Mexico will contribute dramatically to the U.S. tax base and Social Security program, its workers helping to make up the shortfall caused by aging Baby Boomers and declining U.S. birth rates. The increased tax revenues will also help offset the trillion-dollar tax cut the Republicans carved out of federal revenues to benefit the rich and corporations.
American farms will have plenty of workers without having to import any and Americans will finally fill the jobs that other Americans did not want.
Industries that fled to Mexico will once again be able to proclaim, “Made in the USA.”
Instead of an almost empty island covered by ice, Mexico has multiple tourist areas, such as Cancun and Tijuana, where Americans can then go to play without leaving their own country or needing a passport.
With all the criminals Trump says are in Mexico, including the dangerous drug cartels, the U.S. military or police could enjoy plenty of targets to round up for arrest during live exercises. They could even earn a bonus for every family they break up.
With all the poverty in the rural areas, the Trump family will have plenty of slums they can buy and convert to Trump-owned condos for the people there, making a killing in real estate. Trump will also have plenty of new Americans to hire for his own construction crews without worrying about pesky green cards.
Republicans will have a fresh opportunity to suppress new voters in the state of Mexico. Democrats will have a fresh opportunity to practice their Spanish.
The Mexican politicians will fit right in with Congress because they are already familiar with corruption and inefficiency.
Shifting the southern border from the American southwest to the southern border of Mexico will save the American taxpayer billions of dollars for Trump’s wall because the 1,900-mile current border will shrink to only about 700 miles total in Central America.
And, finally, President Trump already has experience dealing with a Spanish-speaking population. He will be able to ignore Mexico’s problems just as easily as he now does Puerto Rico. For him, that will be a piece of cake.
No, make that a taco. Olè.
Ken Ripley, a resident of Spring Hope, is The Enterprise’s editor and publisher emeritus.