In his latest column for Real Clear World, American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty zeros in on China’s dominance of the Rare Earths market. Invoking lopsided production numbers – in spite of international efforts to develop Rare Earths outside of China, China’s supply monopoly still hovers at 95 percent – McGroarty likens China’s REE control to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) powerful position in the oil market.
As for the national security implications of the United States’ (unnecessary) reliance on foreign – and in many cases Chinese – mineral imports, McGroarty points out that according to the Congressional Research Service, REEs are “critical to five functional areas that collectively encompass every major war-fighting capability used to project power via ground, sea, air and space,” adding that they are just “one example of several dozen rare metals U.S. weapons designers use to create the “killer apps” of the modern military.”
“In a different century and a different conflict, Lenin quipped that capitalists would sell his Bolsheviks ‘the rope to hang them with.’ Is it our strategy in the 21st Century to expect the world’s rising power to sell us the resources we may confront them with on the battlefields of tomorrow?”
In the post-fiscal cliff world, this would be a good question for U.S. policymakers to ponder.