The US’ plan to leverage economic aid to Greenland for strategic ends is exactly the same thing that it accuses China of doing in Africa, suggesting that its infowar against Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative is driven more by jealousy than anything else since Washington is now emulating its rival’s strategically effective policy.
Grants For Greenland
Greenland returned to the news late last week after an American official disclosed that his country will grant the world’s largest island $12.1 million in economic aid following reports last summer that the US was interested in purchasing this strategically positioned and energy-rich territory from Denmark. The author wrote about that at the time in his piece about how “Greenland Is Trump’s For The Taking If He Really Wants It“, which explained how the US could simply seize it from Denmark without suffering any serious consequences apart from the negative press coverage that it would inevitably provoke across the world. Instead of undertaking that dramatic course of action, however, Trump is almost somewhat uncharacteristically opting for a much more subtle approach aimed at gradually swaying the island’s inhabitants and their local authorities to his country’s side through what can best be described as “economic diplomacy”.
Just like China is accused of doing in Africa, so too does the US seemingly intend to leverage economic aid for strategic ends, which in this case relates to its military and resource (energy and mineral) interests in Greenland. There’s nothing wrong with that either, and it can actually be argued that economic competition between states is less destabilizing than its other forms. China has been wildly successful practicing “economic diplomacy” across the Global South through its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) of New Silk Road connectivity which relies on a combination of grants and loans in order to construct large-scale infrastructure projects that deliver jobs and development to its partners. The US has long been jealous of China’s achievements because it was unable to compete with its rival in this respect, hence why it launched an ongoing infowar campaign against those practices in order to fearmonger about Beijing’s alleged long-term intentions.
Ironically, the US is now emulating its rival’s strategically effective policy, and in the territory of one of its NATO allies, no less, showing that it was never really all that sincere about the speculative risks of this approach whenever China practiced it since they were evidently just waiting for the right opportunity to do the exact same thing. This “politically inconvenient” observation, therefore, debunks the fearmongering narratives that have been propagated about China’s international development policies, and in fact can actually be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of them. Nevertheless, it’s not expected that the US’ infowar will abate anytime soon since its underlying narrative feeds off of speculation about China’s intentions, the same as can be said about the US’ own vis-a-vis Greenland and wherever else it eventually practices this policy. Just like one can speculate about the US’ motives, so too can they speculate about China’s, and vice-versa.
The New Norm
What’s for certain, though, is that “economic diplomacy” is fast becoming the norm for Great Powers in the New Cold War after the world’s two most powerful ones are now actively practicing it. Other players have been doing something similar for a while now too, such as Russia in the former Soviet space and the EU in the formerly communist countries of the continent for example, but it was the US-provoked infowar controversy over China’s comparatively grander and more visibly successful practice of this form of diplomacy that brought it into the global mainstream. This narrative is politically appealing because it’s rife with speculation, which can rarely be proven or debunked given the nature of strategic forecasting, thus making it easier for dramatic claims to propagate through the global information space such as those about China supposedly wanting to convert deepwater commercial ports into naval bases sometime in the future.
Alt-Media = Mainstream Media
Once again, the same can also be said of the US’ own intentions, and the Alt-Media Community routinely performs the same speculative analyses about America as the Mainstream Media does about China. This isn’t to condemn such practices in and of themselves since strategic forecasting is arguably an integral component of any quality analysis, though the resultant information product might be motivated by a desire to manipulate the target audience, as is frequently the case whenever the Mainstream Media reports on China’s alleged long-term intentions with BRI. Instead of considering the much more likely scenario that China simply wants to enhance its partners’ economic capabilities so that can all maximize their mutual benefits from one another, they’re more prone to imagine that the country’s military wants to expand across the world simply for the sake of it despite there being no evidence that it could even maintain such a speculative reach.
The US, however, certainly has the military capability to do so and has proven as much over the decades, meaning that it’s much more likely that America will leverage its “economic diplomacy” with Greenland and other prospective partners to such ends instead of China doing the same in Africa or wherever else. As such, strategic forecasts about the US’ interconnected military and economic interests in the New Cold War are much more realistic than those being written about China’s, making them comparatively less speculative and therefore by default more probable. With this understanding in mind, the US is interestingly doing exactly what it accuses China of, not just in form, but in substance as well. This realization makes one wonder whether its infowar against BRI is “reverse psychology” intended to proactively shape the narrative so that the targeted global audience is less likely to accuse it of what it’s long planned to do, solely blaming China instead.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Insider Paper.