This is interesting. An article at phys.org notes that China, under pressure from its largest trading partner, the European Union (that's right folks, it's not the USA), may modify its rare earths export policy:
I thought this was interesting not so much for what was being said, but for what's hovering in the background, namely, increasing tension between the USA and China over America's growing insolvency, and China's recent dumping of large amounts of US debt it holds. We have also to bear in mind the realignment taking place with the so-called BRICS nations (China, Russia, India, Brazil), fed up with the Anglo-American elite and growing American military adventurism.
Then, we add into the background Germany's initial refusal to become involved in the whole NATO-Libya venture, and then President B.O.'s announcement with Chancellorin Merkel that Germany would play a major role in post-Qaddafi Libya, a role I suspect was brokered, in part, by Chinese pressure, for China had large investments in Libya, and Germany, as the economic leader of the European Union and China's largest single European trading partner, would be a logical mediator between western and oriental interests in that country.
But let's not make too much of this story either. It's all part of the normal jockeying and maneuvering that takes place in the day-to-day of geopolitics. What intrigues me though is that the story makes it sound as it if was European, rather than American, pressure that tipped China's hand. How all this will play out is anybody's guess, but it does signal that one has yet another factor to watch closely now, and that is European-Chinese relationships and mutual economic policies. If we see significant convergence there, then it's another signal in the ongoing "game of princes" that will have to be analyzed very carefully.