The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

10 OCTOBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL TALKING POINTS WIKIMEDIACOMMONS/NORMANEINSTEIN Greenland: What’s the Deal? T he Trump administration is planning to open a U.S. consulate in Green- land for the first time in decades, the Associated Press reported Aug. 23. In a letter to the Senate Foreign Rela- tions Committee, AP reported, the State Department said a consulate would be “a critical component of our efforts to increase U.S. pres- ence in the Arctic and would serve as an effective plat- form to advance U.S. interests in Green- land.” The State Depart- ment already has a Greenlandic affairs officer, who works out of U.S. Embassy Copenhagen, according to AP, and expects to open the consulate, with a staff of seven, in the territory’s capital, Nuuk, in 2020. The news came on the heels of a diplomatic row over President Donald Trump’s expressed interest in the United States purchasing Greenland fromDenmark, which has dominion over the territory and its 55,000 residents. “Strategically, for the United States, it would be very nice,” the presi- dent told reporters Aug. 18. “Essentially, it’s a large real-estate deal.” “Greenland is not for sale,” Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters the next day. “Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other coun- tries and populations is over.” After learning of the prime minister’s remarks, Mr. Trump announced on Twit- ter that he was canceling an upcoming visit to Denmark because Ms. Frederiksen had “no interest in discussing the pur- chase of Greenland.” The incident left some members of the Foreign Service community aghast. “Sometimes it is hard to believe that what Trump is saying and doing on the world stage is actually happening,” Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and now with the Harvard Kennedy School, told Vanity Fair . “This is one of those days.” Commenting on the abrupt cancella- tion on The Atlantic website o n Aug. 29, former Prime Minister of Denmark and General Secretary of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen said simply, “What a pity.” The trip would have provided, he said, “an opportunity to discuss our shared opposition to routing a Russian natural- gas pipeline through Danish waters, our cooperation in the global fight against terrorism, our attitude toward Russia and China—and our common security and environmental challenges in the Arctic region.” Rasmussen added: “I consider Trump’s interest in Greenland as a sign that his administration is taking a serious interest in the Arctic and its future.” FAO Suspended for White Nationalist Views T he State Department placed Foreign Affairs Officer Matthew Gebert on administrative leave in August after the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, revealed his involve- ment with a white nationalist group. SPLC’s Hatewatch, which monitors white nationalist movements, released an extensive report Aug. 7 alleging that Gebert “oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online.” White people should establish “a country of our own, and we will retake this thing lickety split,” Gebert (using the pseudonym “Coach Finstock”) said in a May 2018 episode of a white nationalist podcast, according to Hatewatch. “We need a country founded for white people with a nuclear deterrent. And you watch how the world trembles.” Gebert, 38, works for the State Depart- ment’s Bureau of Energy Resources. “It is inconceivable he got security clearance twice,” Amos Hochstein, who served as special envoy and coordinator for the State Department’s international energy affairs office from 2014 to 2017 and was Gebert’s boss, told Politico . “If Gebert was Muslim or a person of color,