Though I doubt the Obama administration has the brains to do so.
Silver at PJ Media:
"Our political leaders tell us the way out of our current financial crisis is through American innovation. But what if we are unable to participate in the next great American discovery simply because this time we don’t control the necessary raw materials? The millions of jobs flowing from these inventions would blossom where the materials are available. Today that place is China.
"Even more threatening in the short term, China can at any moment easily challenge our military might by simply refusing to ship rare earths to America. U.S. high tech manufacturing would grind to a halt within months. This includes production of bulletproof vests (yttrium), night vision goggles (gadolinium), and the guidance systems on rockets, drones, and tanks (erbium, neodymium).
"Would China actually use the threat of discontinuing U.S. rare earth shipments as a political weapon? It already has.
"China did so to Japan 13 months ago. In October 2010, Japan arrested a fishing boat captain who wandered near islands in the East China Sea that both nations claim sovereignty over. In response, China instructed its customs offices to stop shipping rare earths to Japan. Within hours Japan released the captain. Japan knew it was out of business without rare earths."
Holy frickin cow! I must admit this wasn't on my radar. And Silver warns the econuts:
"The U.S. environmental movement supports restrictions on mining. They need to realize this is a Catch-22 that threatens the very future of our country — as they themselves envision it! They cannot both demand a green technology future and simultaneously stand in the way of mining the raw materials essential to manufacture these products. Simply not blocking approvals will not be enough; they must actively demand a fresh approach to critical mineral mining."