The Sad Story of How a Once Progressive Nation Became an Outpost of the American Empire
“We perceive it as natural that once again we are on the way to war, part of our every day,” explained Vibeke Schou Tjalve, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.
“People believe that if the USA says that it is wise, so it is wise for us to be with them … We have broken our hymen.”
Since the 1991 invasion of Iraq, Denmark has been fighting U.S. wars. It has sent troops into the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
Tjalve explained that, since at least October 2, 2014, practically every military researcher at universities and military think tanks agree that “Denmark is at war to please America.”
The above date was significant because Denmark announced then that it had sent four F-16 war jets and 300 mercenaries to the Baltic States and Poland in response to the U.S.-led coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected government. Sanctions against Russia followed. 
I had recently committed civil disobedience against Danish mercenaries who had returned from killing Afghans. The state created “Flag Day,” in 2009, to honor its modern Vikings fighting abroad. On that day, September 5, 2013, a parade-ceremony took place at the Queen’s Copenhagen castle (Rosenborg). As a colonel opened the ceremony, I stepped from the civilian onlookers onto the Queen’s grass, unfolded my “Stop the War” banner and shouted at the mercenaries, “Stop the Killing.”
A “patriotic” civilian leapt up and placed me in an iron grip. He and two soldiers dragged me off the holy grass to a police/military area where a leading police officer asked my birthplace and then instructed me: “You can return to America and demonstrate there, but not here.”
I refused to comply and landed in jail. The duty officer informed me, “There is democracy in Denmark, but you cannot disturb our ‘heroes’ ceremony. You can go to Syria and see what happens when you demonstrate.”
Having prevented me from more “provocation” by demonstrating for peace against the first woman prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, I sat in a tiny cell as this Social Democrat gleefully told her Danish war adherents, standing by the government-parliament Christiansborg castle, “Denmark is one of those countries that contributes most. We are at par with the Americans, and therewith we believe Denmark is a strong, active and most solidarity NATO nation.”
New Cold War against Russia
Denmark is not the only vassal state adhering to the U.S. Military Empire. All 27 members of the European Union (EU) and all thirty NATO members, follow suit.
Russia is now under sanctions by the EU (as are China, Iran, Venezuela and other “rogue states”), because 97% of Crimeans (1,274,096) voted to join Russia, while 2.5% (32,000) voted to remain with the neo-fascist-led coup government of Ukraine. Eighty-three percent of those eligible voted. A year later, the very capitalist Forbes magazine wrote:
The EU was intent on punishing Russia for asserting its rights. Member-states rallied behind the sanctions despite their traditional worship of “free market trading.”
Economists from Kiel and Hong Kong calculated in 2019 that $4 billion in trade each month would be lost due to anti-Russian sanctions. Of these export losses, $1.8 billion, or 45%, are borne by authorizing countries, 55% by Russia.
The EU originally introduced sanctions on July 31, 2014, for one year in response to Russia’s actions of “destabilizing the situation in Ukraine,” and extends the sanctions periodically.
A double standard is apparent in the fact that Russia is singled out when other countries that engage in far worse human rights violations are not sanctioned. Examples include Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Colombia, and Israel whose right-wing government routinely seizes Palestinian land and homes.
The United States itself has waged wars of aggression on numerous countries, backed a coup in Bolivia, encircled China’s waters, and established an unprecedented carceral state.
Denmark allows its banks to whitewash monies that come from drug and arms smuggling, and refuses to plug loopholes in taxes so that the very rich can claim refunds from taxes they have not paid. These matters have been news for years. Yet when a corporation sells jet fuel to Russia, which it uses to destroy IS terrorist enclaves in Syria, Denmark calls this criminal.
172,000 tons of jet fuel! That is what Dan-Bunkering in Denmark sold to Russia in the decisive years of 2015-17. According to Mikkel Storm Jensen, a military analyst for the Defense Academy, “Without Russian flying would Assad not have won the civil war?”
That would mean the preferred victors would have been the terrorists of IS, al-Qaeda and other “milder” U.S.-armed opposition groups. Another Libya.
In November 2020, Denmark’s government charged the company with violating EU sanction rules and is seeking not only a fine, which is the most the government ever seeks for corporate crimes, but also imprisonment of those responsible.
DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) wrote that it was U.S. documentation and “sources” (read: NSA/CIA) that showed its government in Denmark this “criminal” behavior on the part of Dan-Bunkering. The company purportedly earned about $3 billion from free market trading.
“Authoritarian” Russia was eliminating real terrorists who cut off heads for any “sinful” behavior or simply for being born in the wrong family. The “democratic” CIA and Pentagon back different terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government army while also fighting one another.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 27, 2016, that
The CIA operates inside Turkey where it directs aid “to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.”
Fursan al Haq sometimes is with al-Qaeda’s group in Syria, Al-Nusra.
Russia backs governments in Syria, Iran, Crimea, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, which the U.S. and its vassal states consider illegitimate and criminal. On top of sanctions, more war weaponry is brought to Russia’s borders, and war exercises take place in anticipation of a “Russian attack.”
In 2018, NATO troops and 500 war vehicles crossed into Denmark from Germany on their way to Norway to conduct war maneuvers against a Russian invasion. Two hundred and fifty war aircraft, 65 warships and 50,000 troops participated from 29 NATO nations plus non-member partners Sweden and Finland.
Social Democrats Embrace the New Cold War with Relish
In the autumn of 2019, the new Social Democrat government leaders wet their skirts scrambling to convince the most narcissistic president in U.S. history (only 6% of Danes think well of Donald Trump, according to polls) that they are his most loyal of all lackeys. Great Britain move over. Mette Frederiksen heads the government.
She and her war minister, Trine Bramsen, felt the need to make up for not being able to sell its logistically strategic colony, Greenland, to Donald Trump’s government, something he felt was a condition for his scheduled September 2019 visit.
As such, Frederiksen pledged closer U.S. and Danish cooperation in efforts to control the Arctic, whose melting ice has increased competition for oil and minerals with Russia.
Frederiksen also made further offerings to assist the United States Military Empire, which included:
- September 2, the same day that Trump would have walked beside PM Frederiksen, she instructed her war minister, Trine Bramsen, to send four F-16s to Lithuania just in case Russia decided to invade there first.
- The same day, Frederiksen-Bramsen announced they were buying top-notch sonar so it could help search for Putin-run submarines.
- Offsetting Trump’s criticism that Denmark as a wealthy country should pay more for its military, Frederiksen-Bramsen pledged millions for NATO.
- Bramsen assured us that her elite corps (comparable to Navy Seals and Frogmen) will be used to protect us against Russia. She did not tell us what the threat was but emphasized that the elite corps would be “effective when there is need for it.”
- September 6, the PM, Secretary of State and War Minister stood together as they announced sending 500 more soldiers to various vulnerable parts of the globe. They will sail Denmark’s largest vessel, a frigate, to patrol the waters close to Russia and Iran alongside U.S. aircraft carriers. (A Danish frigate with helicopters and 155 sailors sailed in a France-led surveillance mission in Hormuz Strait beginning in December 2019, increasing tensions.)
- September 27, the largest military exercise on Danish soil in 15 years engaged in maneuvers against a hypothetical Russian invading force. Operation Brave Lion confronted the invisible Brown Bears with two thousand men and women (women now comprise 20% of the military).
Kristian Soeby Kristensen, senior researcher at the Institute for Military Studies, Copenhagen University, told DR, “Russia constitutes a potential military threat to Europe…so it is decisive that European countries also equip themselves and pose with more powerful forces.”
The “threat” from this huge country is frightening for those who refuse to see how ridiculous it is to claim that 145 million Russians will take on 900 million people in 30 NATO countries.
Denmark and the EU generally follow the U.S.’s lead in denying that the Soviet Union/Russia played an important role in winning WWII.
On Victory Day, May 4, 75 years after Germany surrendered in Denmark, Danish politicians gave no credit to the fact that the Soviet Union played a central role in liberating Europe from the Nazis. Twenty-seven million Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed (13% of its people), compared to 450,000 in the UK (1%), and 420,000 Americans (0.32%).
Denmark has also come up with reasons to sanction Russia’s ally, China.
Denmark’s largest telecommunications company (TDC) worked with Huawei and was satisfied. No one could find any spying capabilities with Huawei products. Trump, however, just as all U.S. presidents tied with Wall Street, must have enemies. They serve for weapon-industry profiteering and as diversions from internal problems. With sanctions against Huawei, TDC switched to Ericsson, a Swedish company.
The People’s Indifference
If any Danes read this piece, most will probably think that their system is democratic, just like “America is the greatest democracy.”
Russia and China are accused of being anti-democratic, authoritarian, even totalitarian states. Yet Anders Wivel and Rasmus Mariager’s 2019 book, Krigsudredningen (The War Investigation), shows how “Denmark’s military engagement [is] driven by Danish politicians’ decision-making will to accommodate American desire for military contribution.”
The decision about going to war is “not what one fights for, but with whom we fight.” “What is lacking is any systematic discussion of goals, means, expected affect, resources, risk, time plan…alternatives and consequence. Elections are not determined by foreign policy… Denmark’s alliances and world goals are decided by politicians,” wrote Information’s editor about the book. By implication, the people have no say.
The people do though acquiesce to the misallocation of national resources in their indifference (ligeglad” in Danish). This can be explained by the fact that the vast majority of Danes are well fed, benefit from low-cost consumer goods produced in the Global South, and feel secure that no one will attack them when they have the U.S. at their back.
Most Danes realize that Denmark further profited from its colonizing and do not, therefore, want to confront that past, which is clearly seen on many monuments/statues/street names around the country, just like in England, France and elsewhere.
Greenland Not For Sale, or What?
U.S. Homeland Security official Miles Taylor was with Donald Trump in Puerto Rico, in August 2018. After he resigned, Taylor recounted: “Not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico…Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland because, in his words, Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor?”
It was not necessary to ask Puerto Ricans or Greenlanders. He raised the matter with Denmark’s new PM Mette Frederiksen. But Denmark’s prime ministers do not have the authority to make such a deal.
When Frederiksen declined, she made the error of telling Danish media that the notion was “absurd.” This term injured Trump’s vanity so he cancelled his planned trip to Denmark on September 2, 2019. About 1,000 of us gathered to demonstrate against him and Denmark’s cozy relationship with Trump anyway.
But Donald Trump does not give up easily, as the 2020 election clearly shows. He tried buying “good will” so that Greenlanders will allow the United States to use their land for more war machinery. In April 2020, Trump sent $12 million “to enhance Greenland’s growth.”
Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, wrote, “Unlike Russia and the PRC [People’s Republic of China], America’s vision for the Arctic area is based on transparency, cooperation and democratic values.”
Sands also wrote that this money would screen Greenlanders from “malicious influence and extortion by Russia and China.”
She encouraged Denmark to spend more to protect Greenland, i.e., buy more F-35s. Twenty-seven are already contracted, which will increase its war aircraft fleet by 40% along with General Dynamics F-16s.
The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir V. Barbin, replied that the U.S. rejects dialogue and cooperation, preferring “confrontation politics” oriented “to achieve domination.”
Mette Frederiksen smiled and said the $12 million was a wonderful gift.
Unlimited consumerism is causing the melting of all the Arctic’s glaciers within a few years. The territories and countries around it (Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, China, Russia) should see the need to cooperate to help save its glaciers and not steal the oil and mineral wealth beneath them.
At least one Danish politician complained about the Danish government’s acquiescence to America’s growing influence in Greenland.
Member-of-Parliament for SF (People’s Socialists) Karsten Hoenge, observed that, since Trump has been unable to buy Greenland, he instead seeks “to massage Greenland’s public so that it will become natural at some point to choose it as its cooperation partner.”
Greenlanders remember what most others do not about how dangerous flying about with nuclear weapons can be. On January 21, 1968, a B-52 carrying four nuclear bombs caught on fire and crashed into ice nearby Thule Air Force Base.
Denmark has had a no-nuclear policy since 1957. Not only does Denmark not have its own nuclear weapons, it does not allow any such weaponry on its territory.
The U.S. had moved Greenlanders from Thule village during WWII to build the base. After the war, and possessing nuclear weaponry, the enemy was again the Soviet Union. Since then, the U.S. flies and sails with nuclear missiles regardless of any nation’s laws. Danish politicians cover up the fact that the U.S. has nuclear weaponry on its territory.
Following the crash, teams of Danes and Americans conducted as much clean-up of nuclear waste and plutonium as they said they could. The whole matter was hushed up, but a report revealed that only 90% of dangerous material was recovered; 10% was sunken below the seabed at North Star Bay, contaminating plants and fish.
Of the 1,500 Danish workers, 450 died from radiation cancer. In 1995, Danish survivors of the clean-up (“Operation Chrome Dome”) sued for compensation.
Survivors received the grand total of $6,000 each for their pain. Neither the American workers nor native Greenlanders in the area received anything. The Association of Former Thule Workers called it a “cover-up.”
Cover-up is what the Danish governments’ Defense Department does by illegally spying on its residents and European neighbors, a Danish weapons firm, Terma, even the Ministry of Finance, all to please NSA and Lockheed Martin.
Mette Swinging with Trump
Following the tense situation about who should control Greenland, Mette Frederiksen met with Donald Trump in London during the December 2019 NATO meeting.
She told the media, “I have a good and positive impression of the president.” “We can count on one another and we can trust one another.” “We swing well.”
To prove how well she swings with her big partner, Frederiksen increased Denmark’s military support over what she had offered just two months before. This support included:
- More military focus and money in Greenland’s Arctic area for “national security.”
- Double Denmark’s war aircraft for NATO disposal from four to eight in honor of its 70th birthday.
Key features of Denmark’s military might for 5.7 million inhabitants include:
- a $3 billion “Defense” budget, 3% of 2019 Financial Budget. 20% increase in military spending over a six-year period.
- Mercenaries in Afghanistan (160) plus police; $50 million for what is admittedly Afghanistan’s corrupt police corps; aircraft and war vehicles come and go.
- Mercenaries in Iraq (150). Denmark is sending another 50 as it takes charge of the remaining NATO countries’ 500 “advisers.” This is Denmark’s third mission in Iraq. Its first 2003-7 was aimed at crushing Saddam Hussein’s government and resistance forces. Denmark also has 14 operators at a United Arab Emirates airbase as part of its mission in Iraq.
- Mercenaries in the Baltic (200-300). The Danes are there officially to keep “Putin’s troops away.” The three Baltic countries are in NATO and the EU, making it ludicrous to believe the Russians would invade.
- Mercenaries in Bosnia (400) and Kosovo (three dozen).
Danish Foreign Policy History
Denmark accepted Nazi Germany’s occupation immediately as its tanks rolled in, April 9, 1940. Its government, usually led by Social Democrats, turned over Danish resistance fighters to the Nazis. It allowed fascist Danes to fight with German Nazis.
The last two years of the war, Danish underground resistance became quite effective and that convinced the allies to accept Denmark as an ally after the war.
When British troops marched into Denmark on liberation day May 5, 1945, Danish politicians eagerly embraced them, and decided to follow the lead of the United States. The economy was rebuilt with Marshall Plan funding. Much of that was repaid in Danish currency once the economy grew.
Denmark had had no conflicts with the Soviet Union after it left the Danish island of Bornholm a few months after ousting Nazi occupiers at the end of the war. Nevertheless, Denmark swore alliance to the UK-USA Cold War started by Winston Churchill and Harry Truman.
Denmark was one of the first dozen nations to form NATO in 1949 and established a clandestine Gladio army in case of a Communist invasion.
However, Denmark did not participate in U.S. wars and coups, and most Danes were adamantly against the war in Southeast Asia. Many Danish youth and left-wing parties were peace activists.
Social Democrat PM Anker Joergensen led the Danish government most of the time between 1972 and 1982. Having been a union activist and warehouse worker, he argued that Denmark should be neutral in the Cold War and that NATO warships should be barred from carrying nuclear arms in Danish waters.
Joergensen also opposed the Vietnam War. When Vietnam retook its land from the invaders, PM Joergensen expressed support for its liberation, adding that the U.S.’s foreign policy has a “false ideological foundation.”
Editors of two of the three major newspapers (Jyllands Posten and Berlingske Tidende) were outraged. They wrote that he is rude to the United States and does not speak for Denmark. That was the opinion of the traditional bourgeois parties.
Peace organizations and left-wing parties, including Social Democrats at that time, opposed NATO’s fascination with escalating the Cold War with more nuclear missiles. A majority of parliament adopted a “footnote” policy that prohibited Denmark supporting Pershing and Cruise middle-range missiles not only on its territory but throughout Europe.
As the U.S. installed their new deadly ware, millions of Europeans resisted, especially in Germany. In September 1981, tens of thousands demonstrated in Berlin against visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig. They were indignant that Haig had said during his confirmation hearings earlier in 1981, “There are more important things than peace, things which we Americans must be willing to fight for.”
Many Europeans did not believe that the United States Military Empire had the right to force them to fight for their wars rather than for peace. Thousands of demonstrations occurred during the 1980s. During a week of actions in April 1983, a key peace leader and theologian, Helmut Gollwitzer, accused Chancellor Helmut Kohl of “selling out West Germany to the United States President.”
In October 1983, I was with Danes demonstrating with two million Germans and other Europeans in several German cities where the U.S. had placed nuclear missiles. During ten days in October, hundreds of thousands more protested in London, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, and Rome.
In Bonn, half-a-million people heard Social Democrat Party Chairman, former Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Willy Brandt speak. Although he did not mention Ronald Reagan by name, he asked rhetorically why Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer to destroy some intermediate nuclear missiles (SS20) to begin de-escalation was not reciprocated.
In Stockholm, tens of thousands linked arms in front of the U.S., Soviet, British and French embassies. Prime Minister Olof Palme participated.
The largest hand-linking demonstration, more than 100 kilometers long, stretched from Ulm to Stuttgart where I stood amongst 200,000 people. Organizers had hoped for half that number, which would have connected in one line the two cities and a U.S. military base where Pershing missiles were to be deployed. We were so many that we had to make a snaking formation. At precisely noon, all traffic stopped. Not a word was spoken. Our hands were literally electrified in a brotherly sensation as we melted into one spirit.
“The remarkable lack of violent disturbance was traced by police authorities to superb cooperation with leaders of the peace movement,” William Drozdiak wrote.
Missiles meant to “protect” the West against the East also kill themselves. On January 12, 1985, a solid-fuel motor of an unarmed Pershing II missile located at Waldheide base caught fire, killing three U.S. soldiers and injuring seven others.
Our persistent actions connecting hands and hearts across the continents of North America and Europe, West and East, laid the foundation for the largest international peace conference since February 1972 when 1,200 delegates from 84 nations met at Versailles to plan actions against the U.S. war in Southeast Asia. In October 1986, twice that many delegates—2,200 from 2,468 organizations in 136 countries—met in Copenhagen at the World Peace Congress.
As a peace activist-journalist, I reported in print and radio from Stuttgart, from the Versailles conference, and from Copenhagen’s conference as co-chair of the journalist workshop. We were 254 journalists covering from inside. We pledged to uphold the Helsinki Accords of August 1975 regarding the use of information in the context of “strengthening peace and understanding among peoples; to cooperate irrespective of their economic and social conditions.”
The conferees’ main goal was to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to dismantle those that existed. UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, India PM Rajiv Gandhi, and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy sent greetings.
Copenhagen mayor Egon Weidekamp, a Social Democrat, opened the conference, stating. “We can be of many convictions, but the desire for peace unites us.”
Despite our numbers, our breadth and peaceful vision, the entire Danish media, with the exception of the then Communist Party media, vilified us, even the progressive daily Information, which had been an underground resistance newspaper during Nazi occupation. Why?
The World Peace Council, the Soviet Union’s peace organization, was present, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had declared the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Unlike U.S. leaders, Gorbachev did not think economic and political systems led by elites were more important than peace. So, in the minds of the owners and editors of mass media, if Russians wanted peace there must be something fishy about it.
Despite the mass media’s reluctance to support world peace efforts, our resistance coupled with de-escalation efforts by Gorbachev, led to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
In January 1986, Gorbachev had publicly proposed a three-stage program for abolishing all nuclear weapons. He convinced Reagan to meet in Reykjavik to discuss de-escalating as we met in Copenhagen.
Reagan refused to go as far as Gorbachev but within months Gorbachev’s actions de-escalating nuclear weaponry could not be dismissed. The Soviet Union reduced its long-range nuclear missiles by half. On December 8, 1987, the INF treaty was signed; passed by the U.S. Senate on May 27, 1988; and ratified by both world leaders on June 1.
The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers, and 1,000–5,500 km. By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the INF treaty in October 2018.
Despite the headway decreasing atomic weaponry, Denmark’s right-wing parties, and a majority of voters, would not risk confronting the U.S.’s laissez-faire attitude about where its atomic weapons should be.
U.S. warships docking in Denmark were known to contain nuclear missiles.
When a U.S. nuclear missile-carrying war vessel docked in Copenhagen harbor, in the spring of 1988, SD leader Sven Auken demanded that Conservative Party PM Poul Schlüter deliver a letter to the captain explaining Denmark’s policy prohibiting the presence of any nuclear weapons on/over Danish territory.
President Reagan made it clear that no such letter would be accepted. For the only time in Danish history, a government called for an early election based upon foreign policy. The right wing had won the regular election nine months before and, on May 10, 1988, a majority of voters returned the right-wing government to power.
This led to replacing the “footnote” foreign policy with an “active” one.
Denmark’s subservience to U.S./NATO had a higher priority than the threat of nuclear war.
Henceforth and to this day, either all or nearly all of Denmark’s political parties, including Social Democrats under bourgeois leadership, are at war wherever the U.S. dictates. The vast majority of the population have accepted domination by the United States.
The first war Denmark participated in was Bush I’s invasion of Iraq in 1991.
Denmark’s War Reality: The Toll
Thirty thousand troops and mercenaries sent out 67,371 times to war between 1990 and 2017, and running, as an aggressor in half-a-dozen countries, either as part of NATO or part of the “coalition of the willing.” Danish troops have also been in two dozen countries as part of UN peacekeeping forces.
Modern Danish Viking warriors got their feet wet during the Gulf War (August 1990-February 1991) by invading Iraq over a dispute with Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production conflicts.
On August 2, 1990, Denmark sent its Olfert Fischer corvette to blockade Iraq and relieve U.S. and UK warships.
The world’s largest ship owner, A.P. Moeller-Maersk (APMM), was disappointed that the Danish government had offered so little to help the U.S.-led war that he demanded and received direct contact with the U.S. military.
APMM sent dozens of ships to transport a half-million U.S. troops and armaments free of charge. This bought him future war contracts worth billions of dollars.
One of Maersk’s shipping lines, Maersk Line Limited, is based in Norfolk, Virginia. His 56 ships there fly the U.S. stars and stripes. Twenty-two of them are used directly by the U.S. for military operations.
When Lockheed Martin received a contract for building 1,763 F-35 super jets following the September 11, 2001, attacks, A.P. Moeller-Maersk was right there.
The company offered his ships and expertise, and this brought the Danish government into the picture. APMM ships were contracted to sail parts from around the world to Lockheed Martin’s factory in Fort Worth, Texas.
During the 1990s, Denmark had assisted in breaking up Yugoslavia, which succeeded by dividing the socialist-led state into five separate capitalist states in the 1990s.
On November 8, 1992, Denmark sent 170 soldiers and observers to Bosnia. Denmark was under UN “peace-keeping” missions and later under NATO fighting missions until March 1995.
In October 1998, the first 875 of many thousands of Danish mercenaries were sent to fight beside the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Nine F-16s accompanied them. The KLA was a drug-smuggling band and was on a U.S. and European terrorist list in 1998. When the KLA attacked socialist-led Serbian forces, it became an ally. Denmark still occupies Bosnia and Kosovo. Hashim Thaçi resigned the presidency on November 5, 2020, after being indicted in June 2020 on ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In December 2001, Denmark joined the U.S. and NATO in its invasion of Afghanistan.
It started with over 100 Danish mercenaries to kill Afghanis, because the government would not deliver what the U.S. said were al-Qaeda forces hiding in Afghanistan.
The U.S. refused to offer the Taliban government, which it had helped to gain power, any proof that those Saudi al-Qaeda forces were responsible for the terrorist actions on September 11th.
Denmark has flown more than 1,000 F-16 missions, used helicopters, transport aircraft, tanks, and thousands of machine guns. It has spent more money there than any other invader other than the U.S.—three billion dollars between 2002-2015, and still counting.
Queen Margrethe II is not supposed to speak politically, as the “royal family” has been so limited by the current constitution. In 2001, however, during her annual end of the year speech, she could not resist, commenting on the need for war against Afghanistan:
On March 21, 2003, Denmark became the only government to actually declare war on Iraq. PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s public posture was that Iraq possessed weapons of massive destruction (WMD), as if that were an international crime warranting “regime change.”
No one seems to ask why Denmark does not invade other countries possessing WMD. The truth, of course, was Iraq did not have WMD. Rasmussen’s own Defense Intelligence Service knew that and so informed him. Whistleblower Major Frank Grevil was sent to prison; Rasmussen became NATO’s Secretary-General.
Denmark first sent a submarine and a warship, and then contracted the U.S. mercenary private firm Blackwater to “protect” 400 Danish soldiers initially dispatched. Later, it sent seven F-16s.
Peace activism has been tepid for most of the years since 9/11 and the beginning of the “war on terror.”
A notable exception occurred on February 15-16, 2003, when millions rallied in 600 cities in 60 countries, the largest protest in human history.
The purpose was to prevent the myopic Bush regime from invading Iraq following the takeover of Afghanistan.
I was among some 40,000 people in Copenhagen rallying before the seat of power. We were a total of 50,000 in five major Danish cities, the largest day of demonstrations since the Vietnam War. Some of the largest actions took place in Europe. Three million in Rome was the largest in history, so listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
According to BBC News between six and eleven million people took part in protests. Other estimates range from eight million to thirty million.
George Bush turned a deaf ear. He only cared about oil for the U.S. and war-industry profits.
On March 18, 2011, the Danish parliament voted unanimously to go to war against Libya. They sent six F-16s and a transport aircraft to stop Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi from “crushing civilian opposition” armed in Benghazi, something that groups associated with al-Qaeda claimed would soon happen.
Among the parties voting for the invasion was the Red/Green party—Enhedslisten which was formed right after the fall of the Soviet Union by the pro-Moscow Communist Party, Trotsykist communists, and Left Socialists. By 2008, it had become a social democratic party backing the official Social Democrats and ceased anti-war activities.
Denmark dropped one thousand bombs. The “brave pilots,” as the media called them, had no risk as Libya’s air force was crushed. Not one Danish invader was killed but hundreds of Libyan civilians were.
Denmark spent more than $100 million helping destroy schools, hospitals, homes, and soldiers protecting their sovereign nation. Western “humanitarian” forces watched as its “rebel opposition” captured President Gaddafi and tortured him to a painful death.
“WE CAME, WE SAW, HE DIED” chortled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CBS news.
In April 2014, Danish ships transported 1,300 tons of chemical weaponry from Syria’s government to the U.S., the country with the most chemical and biological weaponry. Denmark also sent F-16s on a few missions inside Syria against all laws of sovereignty.
In January 2017, Denmark sent 60 Special Forces to Syria. Jets and special troops crossed back and forth between Syria and Iraq. Denmark has focused on “donating” tax money to “opposition” “humanitarian” groups, such as “White Helmets” embedded in IS-held territory, and “friendly” militia fighters against the government.
The same month that Denmark began aiding terrorism in Syria, it flew four F-16s to aid Estonia from being invaded by Russia. This intrepid action was linked to support the neo-fascist Ukrainian government. Denmark continues its “peace-keeping mission” in the Baltics.
The Tally 1990-2017 (and running) war-making results: Danes killed, 64; wounded, approximately 300; 47 suicides in 300 attempts 1992-2013 (and running); no figures are known or kept of how many human beings Denmark has murdered!
1. Balkans=33,691 Danish troops; 12 Danes killed; 35 wounded. 1992-today.
2. Afghanistan=20,000 Danish mercenaries; 43 Danes killed; 214 wounded. 2002-today
3. Iraq=9,605 troops; 8 Danes killed; 19 wounded. 2003-today
4. Libya=629 pilots+, none killed or wounded. 2011
5. Lebanon=1,551; one killed; no wounded.
6. Gulf of Aden=3,149 sailors/military; none killed or wounded.
7. Syria=738 air force and special forces; none killed or wounded
Conclusion: Why are Danes so obedient to the United States Military Empire?
A CAM reader and one of its editors ask me why I contend that Danes are so willing to bow to United States wishes. As with most peoples and governments in the capitalist world, profiteering from the weapons industry and wars is always one answer, usually the main answer. Nevertheless, with the exception of a handful of capitalists (A.P. Moeller Maersk, Terma) income from weapons and war is negligible in Denmark. Only 3% of the annual budget goes to “Defense.”
It would take a whole essay or book to properly answer the question—a question which would go something like this: Why are so many people immoral, lack solidarity, ignore the sufferings of others? Why are institutional Christians, for example, so anti-Christ, if Jesus was the peacemaker the bible contends he was.
Can Danes really believe that the Russians would invade them if the U.S. wasn’t behind them militarily? Would the U.S. drop its support of Denmark if its governments refused to fight the Yankees’ wars? No, I strongly doubt that it would. Not all 30 NATO countries and the 27 in the EU are so obedient as are the Danes. Danes want to be first in line, side by side with the United States. In fact, “shoulder to shoulder” was how yet another social democrat prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, expressed Danes support for U.S. wars following the convenient terror attack on September 11, 2001—an attack which allowed U.S. governments to wet their pants over invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and later more lands. (SD did vote down warring against Iraq but since have voted for weaponry and troops to be sent there.)
In summary, this is what Danes have told me over the decades.
- We had to do what the U.S. wanted of us so we would come in out of the cold, and get Marshall Plan benefits.
- Danes profited from colonialism/slavery. Much of Denmark’s wealth down to the present comes from being oppressors. Danes, being passive while enjoying the comforts, don’t want to confront that past, which is clearly seen on many monuments/statues/street names around the country, and abjectly so in its Greenland colony.
- Denmark is now just a little land and needs “security” from a big land.
- Danish culture for a long time has been passive, authoritarian faithful, conflict-adverse and indifferent. The word for indifference/I don’t care in Danish is ligeglad. In 1984, I wrote a commentary for the daily newspaper Information which started as an underground resistance medium during WWII. Upon victory, Information took over the building previously occupied by the Nazi newspaper “Fatherland.” My article was entitled, “Indifference is the most typical Danish word.” Today, that is still the case, even more so. One example is Information’s move to the right.
Ron Ridenour is a U.S.-born author and journalist, anti-war and civil rights activist since 1961. After eight years in Cuba (1988-96) working for national media, he now lives in Denmark. CAM co-founder Phil Agee wrote commentaries to two of his dozen books: “Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans Living and Working in the New Nicaragua” and “Backfire: CIA’s Biggest Burn.” His most recent books are “The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert” and “Winding Brook Stories,” are available at Amazon and Lulu. His other work can be found at ronridenour.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Denmark does not even have a large profiteering weapons industry, at least not yet. Most of its profits from war come not from fabricating finished weaponry but from supplying advanced radar and communication apparatuses for satellites, for war jets, such as Lockheed Martin’s F-35s, measurements of heat, dust, sounds, and drones. Before Denmark began its warring era, there were less than a handful of such firms. Since 1996, its Defense and Aerospace industry (FAD) has grown to 73 members (2014). Its exports in 2008 (latest figures provided) were some $3 billion. It has recently reorganized its production from delivery of components to entire systems for such warring giants as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, as well as NASA. It also sells to the Balkans since Yugoslavia was crushed, and to the Baltic States, pressing Russia on its western borders.
Den Danske Forsvarsindustri – Forsvarsindustri; see also Outposts of the U.S. Surveillance Empire: Denmark and Beyond, CovertAction Magazine for information on Denmark’s largest weapons firm, Terma, and the Defense Intelligence Service (FE).
 Mercenary because, if Denmark has not declared war or is not under attack, no soldier is forced to take on foreign war missions without volunteering and do so with greater pay. Denmark’s war in Iraq began in March 2003 as George W. Bush invaded the cradle of civilization, murdering hundreds of thousands of human beings while destroying and stealing much of its ancient and modern works. Tjalve pointed out that the so-called “red” social democratic government was then even more willing to continue warring in Iraq—this time against IS instead of the defeated forces of Saddam Hussein—than was the majority in the U.S. The 2014 mission was not war, officially, but part of the “anti-terror” mission against IS (ISIS).
 One must bear in mind that the combined military forces of U.S./NATO/EU/Israel are ten-fold what Russia has. The U.S. has about 800 military bases outside and 4,154 on its soil; NATO has 30; Russia has a dozen, and China one. See William Blum’s books, especially Rogue State and Killing Hope. William Blum. Blum has documented that, since WWII, the U.S. has attempted to overthrow 50 governments, most of them democratically elected, and been successful about half the time. See also my book, The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, chapter 18. Amazon.com: The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert eBook: Ridenour, Ron: Kindle Store
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About the Author
About the Author
Ron Ridenour is a U.S.-born author and journalist, anti-war and civil rights activist since 1961. After joining the U.S. Air Force at 17, he saw the inner workings of U.S. imperialism first hand and resigned. In the 1980s and 1990’s he worked with the Nicaraguan government and on Cuban national media.
He now lives in Denmark and, in addition to writing a dozen books, has served as a special correspondent and freelance investigative journalist for many publications in the U.S. and several Latin American and European countries—among them: The Morning Star, New Statesman, The Guardian (U.S. and England), Playboy, Liberation News Service, Pacific News Service, Coast Magazine, Qui, Skeptic, Seven Days, and Pacifica Radio.
CAM co-founder Philip Agee wrote commentaries to two of his dozen books: Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans Living and Working in the New Nicaragua, and Backfire: CIA’s Biggest Burn. See also: The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert and Winding Brook Stories at Amazon and Lulu. Other work can be found at ronridenour.com.
Ron can be reached at email@example.com.
Good eye, but I must admit that myu subtle irony was lost on you. Immediately following this comes the military invasion including a top Danish capitalist profiteering from murdering Iraqis. Irony in Denmark can be too deep.
Lubna, your point is well taken. The actual declared war against Iraq took place in 2003 and the troops sent were removed in 2007. I must not have made it clear that the soldiers who went to war against Iraq after 2003-7 were voluntary and all the other soldiers who went to other countries to murder went voluntarily. Sorry, if I was unclear.
Glad so many have read this mammoth piece so quickly and left comments.
This is one day to be glad, at least, as it looks like our mate/hero/voice of truth will breathe fresh air soon. No victory for journalism or anti-imperialism but, at least, for the life of one brave man and his family, friends, comrades (myself included).
With tears of joy,
And when the day comes that the US no longer has any used for Denmark…it’ll drop it like a hot potato. What will it take to make people realize that the US only has interests in itself and no one else.
I share your disappointment with Denmark, but your use of the term “mercenary” confused me. Perhaps your your explanation in the second endnote should have been placed in the body of your text: “Mercenary because, if Denmark has not declared war or is not under attack, no soldier is forced to take on foreign war missions without volunteering and do so with greater pay.” Since Denmark had declared war on Iraq, were Danish troops who participated in the conflict really mercenaries? That said, I liked your article very much.
Why, I wonder, does Denmark, a prosperous country with a “happy” people – as often described – need to follow the US as a competitor in servitude to Britain? Does its prosperity depend on its relationship the the US MIC? Is Denmark’s prosperity tied to US multinationals and the US Empire? Examples?
On the other hand, he could have better illustrated the hypocrisy of the U.S. sanctioning of Russia over its annexation of Crimea by pointing out that on 25 March 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump proclaimed that “the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel”. Not only was this every bit as much a naked annexation of the territory of another sovereign country but, needless to say, no plebiscite was taken of the Golanis, and no one serious believes anyone there but (illegal) Israeli settlers welcomed annexation. There may well have been legitimate national security reasons for Israel to occupy the Heights pending a peace agreement with Syria, but none for annexation.
The author undermines his credibility when he refers to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as “a dispute with Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production conflicts.” One could by the same logic refer to the United States intervention in Vietnam as “a dispute with certain Vietnamese arising from ideological conflicts”.