Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Pentagon’s Office of Industrial Policy is preparing to release the results of a year-long study that concluded that China’s monopoly on rare earth minerals does not pose a threat to U.S. national security. China produces 97 percent of the world’s rare earths, a group of 17 metals used in the production of military equipment such as radar, night-vision goggles, and precision-guided bombs. However, worldwide uncertainty about China’s intention to reduce exports of the materials has prompted several countries to move toward ending their dependence on Chinese production. Japan is planning to mine rare earth minerals in Vietnam, and India is accelerating geological surveys and mapping of its own possible reserves. The Pentagon study reportedly suggests that loans and incentives might be offered to U.S. providers of rare earth minerals to bolster domestic supply.
Monday, November 1, 2010
By Martin Edwin Andersen
Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2010
296 pp. $70.00
DR. PATRICIA OLNEY
Peoples of the Earth is probably the most honest and comprehensive examination and analysis available of the dozens of indigenous social movements that have erupted in the Western Hemisphere since the end of the Cold War. In this volume, Andersen establishes both the threat and the opportunities that indigenous mobilizations represent. He argues that accommodating their demands for sovereignty over their territories and lives, and their pleas for a more just distribution of resources, is not only imperative from a moral and democratic perspective, but is also demanded from a strategic one. His arguments may be seen as sympathetic toward indigenous peoples, but he shows how their interests and those of the countries in the region are mostly complementary and represent a positive sum game. Meanwhile, the costs of not accommodating their demands could include the spread of anti-American populist regimes, alliances between indigenous and radical leftist and/or Islamic groups, and the eruption of violence. Andersen suggests that left unheeded, indigenous movements could represent an existential threat to individual states and to the region at large. He therefore recommends making them strategic allies and bringing indigenous peoples into the democratic fold, making each country’s democracy more inclusive.