Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 403

403 Arctic Yearbook 2014   foreign powers and how should it balance its Arctic engagement against other foreign policy goals? Denmark’s relationship to the other Arctic nations is analyzed in the next section. Second, the strategies and the academic texts do not debate how Copenhagen can retain Greenland within the Commonwealth of Denmark. Instead, they either assume that Greenland is a natural part of Denmark or they bracket the discussion as a choice to be made by the Greenlandic government and people. However, one can argue that Denmark has an interest in keeping Greenland within the Commonwealth. Given that Denmark actually benefits from the current arrangement – as, arguably, does Greenland – it would seem natural to discuss how this arrangement can be preserved. How can policymakers curb Greenlandic nationalism? How can it be avoided that foreign powers interfere in Greenlandic politics? This debate is rarely taken in public and it is notably absent from the Danish Arctic Strategy. To be sure, these omissions are not irrational mistakes. Instead, they reflect a highly developed political sensitivity to the contentious issues that characterize the relationship between Denmark and Greenland and the Arctic region at large. Discussing such issues out in the open would not only be bad form, especially when one takes the contentious relationship between Copenhagen and Nuuk into consideration, it would also reveal Denmark’s preferences and thus be a poor bargaining strategy. One cannot conclude that these considerations are not being made behind closed doors. Denmark’s strategic thinking about the Arctic has thus matured over the past ten years. It has gone from tacit and informal debate within the halls of government to formal, written strategies. The strategies focus on regional cooperation and handling the commercial opportunities that follow from climate change, while omitting certain politically sensitive issues and debates. Relationship to Other Nations Denmark’s approach to the other nations in the High North is shaped by a general wish to further Arctic cooperation, mixed with a need to stand for the preservation of what is considered the natural claims and the sovereignty of the C