China’s secret Trump card: Could Beijing deprive our military of critical defense components? – by John Moody (Fox News – February 3, 2017)

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John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News.

Candidate Donald Trump promised to bring jobs back to America, rebuild our military, and on trade get tough with China, which he said was “raping” our economy. President Trump may find his administration the victim of exactly the job-exporting policies he railed against and face the very real possibility that China could cut off U.S. access to 17 rare materials vital to our advanced aircraft and guided missile systems.

Among major U.S. military projects imperiled by a potential China squeeze play is a $340 billion Navy program to create new, Columbia-class nuclear submarines, and a new electro-magnetic aircraft launch (EMAL) system, which the Navy hopes to use for catapults that launch planes from aircraft carriers.

The 17 materials, known as rare earth elements (REE), are essential to the production of the high-performance permanent magnets used in both those systems, as well as in motors and missiles, GPS systems, satellite imaging, night vision goggles, and consumer products like smartphones and flat television screens.

And for precisely the reasons Candidate Trump cited for the decline of American manufacturing and the loss of U.S. jobs, China is now in a position to cut off our supply of processed rare earth elements if it feels Trump is pushing too hard on trade and economic issues—or anything else.

“Absolutely, China could cut off the supply,” said Jeff Green, a defense industry analyst in Washington, D.C. “Processing rare earths is the end of the hose. China controls the spigot the hose is attached to.”

For the rest of this opinion column, click here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/03/chinas-secret-trump-card-could-beijing-deprive-our-military-critical-defense-components.html

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