Take a few minutes to read Congressman Mike Coffman’s piece today in the Washington Times. The Colorado Congressman, co-chair of the House Rare Earths Caucus and lead sponsor of the RESTART rare earths bill, notes that the popular Call of Duty video game’s newest version – Black Ops II – incorporates a geo-political tug of war over rare earths metals into its storyline.
“Anyone familiar with the game knows that it models itself more on SEAL Team 6 and less on the Defense Logistics Agency. This year’s offering, however, offers a plot focused on rare earth materials and a “cold war” developing between the United States and China over access to these critical materials. Though the kinetic pace of the action is pure Hollywood, the competition between the countries for these critical materials is anything but fiction.”
This isn’t the first instance of Art imitating Life in the geo-politics of rare metals. Black Ops’ rare earths plot line follows Eric Van Lustbader’s Bourne Dominion, in which Jason Bourne – Spoiler Alert! – foils a terrorist plot to destroy the U.S.’s only active rare earths mine, which – now that I think of it – thereby preserves the ability of our tech-obsessed millions to play Black Ops II on their hand-held devices and PCs, and ensures that our real Black-Operators will have the rare-earths-enabled weapons they need to defeat our enemies.
In any case, Coffman’s take is a ripping read on a critical resource issue that seems to have captivated authors and video-gamers, and — eventually, one hopes – a critical mass of policymakers who will recognize that ensuring U.S. access to rare earths isn’t a game.