Scotland's eastern coast.[Agencies]
The view from above on this wild and exposed stretch of Scotland's eastern coast looks nothing like a transatlantic battlefield.
The tranquil sea reflects a pale, mid-afternoon sun and the only sound comes from seabirds as a breeze ripples the sand on the dunes that stretch south towards Balmedie village.
But this idyllic area has become the unlikely site of a fascinating clash.
It is where American tycoon Donald Trump plans to build a billion-pound luxury golf resort, complete with five-star hotel, 950 time-share apartments and 500 houses.
It is also where a determined farmer called Michael Forbes, backed by well-wishers from around the world, has taken a stand against the money invasion by telling Trump to "shove it."
Local opinion is sharply divided ahead of a key meeting today when councillors are due to make an initial ruling on the plans.
In the past month, objections to the scheme have grown four-fold to reach 1,542. Letters of support have climbed just 24 percent to 1,850.
The golf resort would be Trump's sixth, but the only one on this side of the Atlantic.
It would, he says, be a product of his links with Scotland: his mother grew up on a croft in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.
"Because my mother is Mary MacLeod from Stornoway - she lived in Stornoway for many years, I guess about 20 years before she came to the United States - I really had a preference for Scotland, and it's also the home of golf," says Trump in an interview posted on a website created by his company to promote the development (www.trumpgolfscotland.com).
"We saw a piece of land in Scotland that was really beautiful. And it's our ambition to ... build the best course anywhere in Europe ... and I think we have the piece of land to do it."
The development, at the Menie Estate near Balmedie beach, which lies 13 miles north of Aberdeen, provides a "unique opportunity to conserve and enhance the environment", according to Trump International.
Trump himself is quoted in the Guardian newspaper as saying he is "saving" the dunes: "It's a piece of land which is disappearing."
But environmental groups, including government conservation agency Scottish Natural Heritage and pressure group Sustainable Aberdeenshire, have criticized the plans to stabilize a rare, 4,000-year-old dynamic sand dune system - one of the top five dune habitats in Britain.
SNH says the development would effectively destroy a site of special scientific interest that covers about a third of the resort and is an important habitat for flora and fauna.
Mickey Foote, spokesman for Sustainable Aberdeenshire said: "It's all a marketing device to sell high value properties: it's exploitation of our resource and it's a particularly sensitive and beautiful resource that we don't want to give up."
（英语点津 Celene 编辑）