How Have the U.S. Interests in Greenland Changed?: Reconstructing the Perceived Value of Thule Air Base After the Cold War

  • Kousuke SaitouEmail author
Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


The purpose of this chapter is to examine how the U.S. interests regarding Thule Air Base have changed in the post-Cold War period. Initially, various U.S. bases in Greenland were established or strengthened to counter the Soviet threat in the early stages of the Cold War. Therefore, when that threat receded, it was expected that their strategic importance would diminish dramatically. However, by the end of the 1990s, the U.S. recognized the increased missile capabilities of “rogue states,” accelerating the deployment of the missile defense system. Thus, the value of Thule Air Base increased as a key part of the system, affecting the trilateral negotiations between Washington, Copenhagen, and Nuuk. The U.S. military bases in Greenland also serve as hubs for scientific research concerning the Arctic region, although this feature affects base politics less directly than do military factors, due to third-party influences, such as civilian infrastructure and international cooperation.


Anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty Arctic Research Commission Ballistic missile early warning radar (BMEWS) Missile defense National Science Foundation (NSF) Rumsfeld Commission Report Scientific research Sondrestrom Air Base Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Thule Air Base 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Initiatives and Promotion OrganizationYokohama National UniversityKanagawaJapan

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