From what I understand, Greenland has been slowly moving towards complete independence, with Denmark willingly granting it home rule back in 2008. So it looks as if Denmark is perfectly willing to let Greenland go "for free". But then, wouldn't it make sense for them to try and sell it to the US, presuming Greenlandic citizens approve the deal? Why not make a profit if you consider the territory lost anyway?

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    Why would Greenland's citizens approve any such deal? The trend, as you mention, is towards independence. Becoming a protectorate of the US goes against that.
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 13:09
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    You say 'presuming Greenlandic citizens approve the deal', but is there any reason to believe they'd approve such a deal? If not, then your question is basically "If Denmark is willing to let Greenland be independent, then why isn't Denmark willing to let Greenland be not independent?"
    – Giter
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 14:10
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    @JonathanReez: Let me put it another way: unless the people living in Greenland are fine with be sold to/joining the US, "willing to let them be independent" and "willing to sell them to another country" are not the same thing. It would probably be better to first ask if a majority of people in Greenland would want to be part of the US instead of Denmark, and if the answer to that is 'yes' then ask why Denmark would want Greenland to become an independent nation instead of selling it to the US.
    – Giter
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 17:45
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    We do know however that they favour independence. Which isn't compatible with being sold to the US.
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 18:49
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    @JonathanReez: "We know at least some of them want X and we haven't checked at all if they want Y, so let's give them Y instead of X".
    – Giter
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


If Greenland first decides to become independent in a referendum accepted by Denmark, and then petitions to join the United States, that's the sovereign decision of Greenland's residents.

If Denmark sells Greenland to the US, without consulting the Greenland residents, that would be a gross violation of the civil rights of those residents.

Considering the history of Greenland-Denmark relations, it seems imperative that Denmark avoids any action which smacks of one colonial power trading lands with another.

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