Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen

President Trump’s “offer” to purchase Greenland has placed the country at the heart of world affairs and great power rivalry in the Arctic. Greenland is currently enjoying considerable interest from both the U.S. and China while Russia is increasing its military capabilities in the region. Traditionally, Greenlandic politicians have not been interested in defense and military spending without civilian purpose. And as security policy is constitutionally outside the self-government’s authority the issue has not been high on the agenda. However, as Greenland is actively seeking independence from Denmark, the future of Greenlandic defense has become crucial to understanding its independence aspirations. This article examines how the Greenlandic self-government and the political parties envision the future of Greenland’s security framework through close readings of government coalition agreements, political statements and media texts. Based on The Copenhagen School of Securitization Studies, the main argument is that Greenlandic defense and foreign policy is characterized by desecuritization. That is, a tendency towards downplaying the security and defense aspects of independence while instead highlighting i.e. economic aspects. The article analyzes this logic in Greenland’s recent foreign policy aspirations and in debates on defense. Analytically,desecuritization is linked to two underlying narratives which Greenlandic politicians use to rhetorically downplay security aspects of defense and foreign policy by referring to either economic self-sufficiency or identity politics of the Inuit.

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