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Greenland as a self-governing sub-national territory in international relations: past, current and future perspectives

  • Maria Ackrén (a1) and Uffe Jakobsen (a2)
Abstract

Greenland was used by the US as a platform and as an extended arm within its security and foreign policy during the World War II and the cold war. After this things changed, although Greenland remained important in Danish-US relations under the umbrella of NATO. Nowadays, the geostrategic position of Greenland between North America and Europe is gaining fresh prominence in the race for natural resources in the Arctic. Many issues arise from the prospective opening of the Arctic, all of which may have fateful impacts on future development in the region. Climate change, claims related to the extension of the continental shelf, exploitation and exploration of natural resources, together with the protection of indigenous peoples are all current issues that must be taken into consideration in the context of security and foreign policy formation in Greenland. The future of the Thule Air Base is also relevant. This article reviews developments from the World War II to the present regarding international relations from a Greenlandic perspective. As a self-governing sub-national territory within the realm of Denmark, Greenland does not have the ultimate decision-making power within foreign and security policy. The new Self-Government Act of 2009, however, gives Greenland some room for manoeuvre in this respect.

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