Top of the world.
By: Communist Party in Denmark, KPiD, Rikke G. F. Carlsson
When you spin your globe and watch it spinning, you'll notice an unchanging white area at its top. This is the Arctic.
Here you'll find Greenland, a formerly Danish colony, the world's largest island with about 50,000 inhabitants. You have all heard about the melting ice sheet and the approaching end of the world. However, this is not a climate summit. What follows is a description of an unequal class struggle against imperialism ‒ an imperialism which deaf and blind to all warnings against incalculable environmental catastrophes only has eye for unexploited possibilities and ignores the consequences with a single goal: to expand the markets for oil and war materials.
As the Arctic ice is melting, political, economic, and military interest in Greenland is growing.
Greenland is not a member of the European Union; this was decided by the Greenlandic population in a referendum. However, Greenland's foreign policy is still determined by Denmark and NATO. The USA established itself as an ally in Greenland in 1944, and in 1951 Denmark entered into a defense agreement with the USA which has been the basis of the American military installations in Greenland ever since. This has meant forceful relocation of part of the population and massive environmental effects from 50 tons of toxic waste, in addition to the nuclear waste from four hydrogen bombs in a B-52 bomber aircraft which crashed near Thule Airbase in 1968. The clean-up of this mess is left to Greenland after the USA and Denmark signed the 2002 Dundas agreement with Greenland on the sideline. Deaths and pollution-caused diseases are some of the consequences of the US bases. In the journal ”Geophysical Research Letters” an international group of scientists in 2016 pointed out that within the next 75 years the melting away of the ice sheet could expose radioactive waste from a nuclear reactor that provided energy for an American base under the ice cap during the cold war. Denmark and the USA play down the problem and deny their responsibility, and the Danish government declines to renegotiate the Dundas agreement.
The United States still maintains its Thule Airbase. A radar installation placed here is part of the Danish missile defense. The USA actively employs the base for stopovers and as a strategic base in the Arctic. As Greenland has become ever more accessible due to the melting ice sheet, NATO's interest has increased.
We have just witnessed Trident Juncture, the largest NATO exercise in the Nordic countries in recent times. 50,000 troops, 250 aircraft, 8 submarines, 65 other maritime vessels and 10,000 vehicles, American nuclear-powered aircraft carriers ... all this to gain knowledge about and experience of war under arctic conditions, and to show strength to Russia and China. Bases are being constructed in Denmark, primarily to serve as airbases for carrying nuclear arms from Germany and as transport links between Central Europe and the Baltic countries and Norway.
Greenland felt this tension in the question of a new airport. The Chinese offered to finance it, and the Danish government immediately took the matter out of the hands of Greenland's home rule government and financed part of the airport to keep Greenland absolutely loyal to the USA and its military air transports.
At the NATO summit in Poland in July 2016 the Danish government presented an analysis of the tasks it will give priority in the Arctic region: surveillance, communications and operational units should be strengthened.
Denmark has submitted a claim to the United Nations for a part of the North Polar Ocean 20 times the size of Denmark. Similar claims can be made by the USA, Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark/Greenland if the claimed area is ”a natural extension” of their recognized land territory. This is an appalling development which could have unthought-of global consequences, regardless of whether it is the quest for oil and/or for military advantage that drives it. Every adult person ought to know the consequences of war if one should break out.
This development shows how imperialism, employing several strategies, uses NATO when the EU cannot be used, and vice versa.
The Permanent Structured Cooperation PESCO is the framework for military buildup in the European Union. Until now, Denmark has had an Opt-Out from participating directly in EU military activities. In practice, though, we are deeply involved. Our weapons lobby can apply for some of the 100 billion placed in the EU Defence Fund ‒ a fund now focusing European universities with the purpose of making the armaments industry and the universities do research together ‒ of making young brains use their capacity to do research in death instead of general science.
The militarization of the EU goes on. The unpredictable US president Trump wishes to start a new arms race with medium range ballistic missiles. They are targeted at Russia and particularly at China. A cold war is at our doorstep, and a lethal hot war looms ahead. The communist parties in Denmark, Norway and Sweden cooperate closely, but they are small, and this fact is reflected in the size of our peace movements. As Nordic communists we take part in the Arctic Meetings where Russia and Finland also participate. We do what we can to raise a peace movement, both within the trade unions and among young people.
Recently we have campaigned against the 100 billion military research program of the EU, comparing it to a nationwide fundraising to benefit cancer research. In such ways we can expose the science priorities of our political parties. Peace research creates jobs as well as life!
In other contexts we have had the environment as a theme, focusing on war environments. ”You can't grow organic crops on land polluted by war.”
Fight imperialism ‒ it fights you!
Out of NATO ‒ out of the EU!