It would be much simpler for Beijing to use its $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves — a large chunk of it invested in U.S. Treasury debt — to vacuum up Alaska’s resources and to resettle some people from China’s overcrowded and heavily polluted cities. As the Arctic ice melts with climate change, Alaska could also serve as a valuable shipping route, saving time, fuel and money for cargo ships traveling from China to Europe.
The transaction could be done by simply canceling the Treasury debt, thus avoiding the financial upheaval that would result if China sold those securities on the open market.
How about an individual buyer? Donald Trump comes to mind. He could advertise on Mount McKinley — or just rebrand it Mount Trump, the highest peak in Trumpistan. He could even issue his own birth certificates to avoid any confusion about the national origin of public officials there. Of course, this 570,640.95-square-mile bauble would be a tad expensive for him, and he’d have to make it a very leveraged buyout, but he’s gambled big before.