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Randi Kreiss

There’s nation building, and then there’s nation buying


Personally, if I were buying a country, I’d go for Greece.

President Trump made a bid for Greenland two weeks ago, but the “nasty” prime minister of that country said Trump’s idea was absurd. Well, of course it’s absurd. Why spend money on Greenland and pass up Greece, which is probably a really terrific buy at this point in history?

Greece has been struggling with a poor economy for years, at one point balancing on the brink of bankruptcy. Where are Trump’s self-proclaimed killer instincts? He can make this deal.

There are reasons to bid on Greece other than taking advantage of its unfortunate economy. If you’re shopping for a country, you can do far worse. Kashmir, for example, would be so much trouble. If you buy India, you must invest in infrastructure. France is appealing, but just so difficult. Lichtenstein is manageable, size-wise, but no one really knows exactly where it is.

We could go for Namibia, which has the best night skies for stargazing, but we would totally have to build new roads. Or, a road. I do love Japan, and it would make a neat little package, but I couldn’t sleep at night, worrying about whether Kim Jong-un would wake up cranky. Chile is charming, but it’s just so long. Of course, Italy is worth it for the food alone, but ever since I read “My Beautiful Friend,” I realize that Naples is ruled by nasty old widows with black mustaches.

So, Greece it is.

If you’re looking for antiques, you can’t do better. The Parthenon alone is worth the purchase, not to mention the Acropolis and the temple at Delphi. The Hans Egede House in Nuuk, Greenland, built in 1728, is super-modern compared with the ancient structures in Greece.

Shall we talk about food? Suaasat, the national dish of Greenland, is made from seal, whale, seabirds or reindeer. I’ll pass on Rudolph, thank you, in favor of feta cheese, spanakopita, avgolemono soup and baklava.

Greece comes with dozens of storied islands, strewn with gorgeous rocks and adorned with necklaces of white sand. Santorini is the jewel in the crown. Rising out of the sea, the volcanic island is a geological phenomenon. The seascapes stay forever etched in the mind. Winding roads take visitors from sea level up to the summit, where pastel houses dot the landscape and whitewashed buildings house restaurants and boutiques.

Not to take anything away from Greenland, but it basically offers ice. Ice in winter and, in many places, ice in summer.

You go shopping in Greenland, you come home with bone jewelry and some nice herbs. You go shopping in Greece and you come home with 18-karat bracelets and earrings and leather goods and anything else you can imagine, all of which is for sale on the islands and in the famous Plaka market in Athens.

If Trump is looking to acquire Greenland for high-minded reasons like culture and erudition, which is so his style, the pickings are relatively slim. Wikipedia mentions six writers, all of whom I am sure are magnificent at their craft.

Greece also has six writers that come to mind: Homer, Plato, Sappho, Aristotle, Euripides and Sophocles. Of course, Greece has thousands of other writers, past and present. It isn’t hyperbole to say that Greece is the source of a unique body of literature that speaks to all humanity. Naturally, I assume that if we bought Greece, we would open a theme park near the Acropolis, which is being renovated anyway.

Greenland is a perfectly gorgeous territory, and I hope to visit sometime soon. But I do think that if we bought it, we would suffer buyer’s remorse. I know about this because I once bought a hat that I really hated the second I got home. It was a bitter winter’s day, and I went to a sale in the city and purchased a huge velvet bowler hat with a mink brim. I know, it’s not me, right?

I tried to return it, but the milliner said no. I don’t think Denmark takes returns, either. So, as I said, I’d go with Greece.

What? You say Greece isn’t for sale? But we want it. Isn’t everything the United States wants for sale? No? You mean the sovereignty of other nations really matters? Nah. Not as along as Donald Trump is in the Oval Office.

Copyright 2019 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at randik3@aol.com.