Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland has conducted a public opinion poll amongst the Greenlandic population on foreign- and security policy issues during November-December 2020. This has been done in cooperation with HS Analyse in Nuuk, Greenland and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Stockholm, Sweden.
Foreign and security policy has become a topical issue in an Arctic context during recent decades, and especially in the last couple of years. The attention paid to the Arctic and Greenland is manifold and relates to issues, such as, climate change, natural resources, new shipping routes, indigenous affairs, geopolitics, and postcolonial contexts. In academia, we see an enhanced literature on the various topics related to Greenland’s international role. However, the preferences and attitudes amongst the population are less known. The opinion poll is a first study where a representative sample of Greenlanders have been participating and answering questions about foreign- and security policy. Thus, this poll gives a first indication of what the population actually thinks about international relations and cooperation, as well as challenges in international and Arctic affairs.
Some tentative results show that Greenlanders are not immensely concerned about the geopolitical games that the larger powers are playing in the Arctic (i.e., USA, Russia, and China). This is not seen as a challenge for Greenland by the vast majority. In a comparative perspective, the new geopolitical order in the Arctic has been addressed by other Nordic countries as a major concern. NATO as a security partner is seen as a natural shelter for Greenland. This is related to the fact that the USA still has Pituffik/Thule Air Base at its disposal, even though, this is not a NATO base. Another issue, which is somewhat surprising, is that China is not seen as a major threat. This finding is surprising in a comparative perspective and because China has been debated through negative statements in various Western media outlets. This finding is not totally uniform in a Greenlandic context, however, since some other answers indicate that China is valued lower as a partner in international cooperation than other countries. Foreign- and security policy is generally not a theme that has much attention in the Greenlandic public debates. Results show that Greenlanders tend to be more worried about internal matters, such as, unemployment, the economic situation, and increasing living costs. This is in line with the political debates that are taken place in the parliament, Inatsisartut.
Here are Youtube-links to to a related seminar: