Is Free Trade a National Security Threat?

We are about to find out – officially.

China’s embargo of rare-earth minerals last year looks to have been a major wake-up call for the USA. After all, it just won’t do to have our high-tech weaponry depend upon the kindness of strangers – Chinese strangers.

Or our low-tech weaponry. It seems that we are down to one plant in Pennsylvania that can make military-grade steel – and it is owned by a foreign company (ArcelorMittal). That was a bottleneck during the 2007 “surge” in Iraq.

The Director for National Intelligence has begun work on a “National Intelligence Estimate” to determine whether or not exporting our manufacturing base is bad for national defense. And that’s a big deal. Richard McCormack broke the story here.

This could eventually lead to trade barriers aimed at keeping out state-subsidized products from China, such as steel. So, domestic industrial companies could be expected to benefit, but high-tech companies too. McCormack recently published a story about Chinese networking companies, and wrote: “…many global telecom high rollers argue, in effect, that resistance is futile.”