Margaret Kosal - The Geopolitics of the Rare and Not-So-Rare Elements
From Kathryn Gentilello on November 20th, 2019
Chemical elements have played important roles in the geopolitics of modern times and will continue to do so.
From Einstein’s 1939 letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt highlighting the need to secure uranium ores, to an insurgency fought over phosphorus, to a Chinese embargo of rare-earth elements in retaliation for a maritime incident in the East China Sea, to “blood batteries” for electric vehicles dependent on cobalt mined by child laborers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to calls for new international agreements on asteroid mining, the role of elements in geopolitics is vast and significant.
What does this mean for the U.S., for the rest of the world, and for the future of technology?