The United States has important interests in the Arctic and Greenland plays into that, but President Donald Trump's comments about Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's calling his wish to purchase the nation "absurd" endangers the United States' relations overseas, retired Gen. Wesley Clark warned Thursday.
"This is not the way to conduct diplomacy," Clark told CNN's "New Day" about Trump's decision to call off his trip to Denmark over Frederiksen's response. "The United States should have worked quietly behind the scenes with Greenland, as we've done in the past, to buffer American opportunities there, to be sure the Russians and the Chinese aren't encroaching, which they are elsewhere in the Arctic."
Further, the United States should be concerned with the strength of its relationships with its European allies, said Clark, who served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997-2000.
"When we talk about threatening Germany with tariffs on automobile production, which is one of the biggest factors in the German economy. and when we disparage the prime minister of Denmark, we're weakening NATO," said Clark. "We're playing into (Russia President Vladimir) Putin's hands."
Clark said his friends in Europe are no longer surprised by Trump's actions, and that they are saying they can make it through the rest of the current administration, but they are not sure what will happen if Trump is re-elected.
The retired general also criticized other efforts Trump has made, including in North Korea.
"If he used the professional diplomatic channels, we might have achieved a definition of what denuclearization was and be making progress," said Clark. "Instead, what's happening is there's enormous pressure on the government of South Korea to make accommodations with the north. The North is continuing its militarization programs and South Korea and Japan are drifting apart."
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