Rebecca Keller focuses on areas where geopolitics intersects with science and technology. Her areas of interest include biotechnology, water scarcity, energy storage and renewable energy technologies, agricultural trends and epidemiology, among other things. Dr. Keller holds a doctorate in organic chemistry from Colorado State University and a bachelor's in biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis. Before joining Stratfor, she conducted a year of postdoctoral research in chemical biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Political debate has been woven into the very fabric of U.S. governance since the nation's inception. But for the first time in decades, the widening tears within the society of the world's only superpower threaten to have global consequences.
Throughout recent history, nations have grappled with the costs and benefits of developing their health care sectors. But reform is complicated, and the inertia of history hard to overcome.
Inland rivers, railways and highways have all played their role in increasing the efficiency of transporting goods and people, taking advantage of existing geographic features. But even seemingly small technological advancements can revolutionize long-standing modes of transport and infrastructure.
When examining outbreaks and epidemics from a geopolitical perspective, we often look at how the disease in question might disrupt economic activities, such as workforce productivity or the movement of people and goods. From there, we determine whether the impact of the disease will be notable enough to influence political, economic or social decisions. But in the case of polio, perhaps the more relevant question is how those decisions have aided -- or prevented -- the virus's eradication.
Just as technology spurred globalization, so, too, will it revolutionize how countries do business with one another once again. Automation, advanced robotics and software-driven technologies are ushering in a new era that will leave fewer opportunities for the developing world.
Gene-editing techniques like CRISPR and other technologies, including cloning, would make a significant mark on Chinese agricultural and livestock production. For Beijing, such technological advances are the key to its own security and to winning its competition with the West.
Advancements in maritime engineering have overcome the limits of geography, opening the world to faster trade and increased volumes of traffic. The evolution of the global supply chain illustrates the effects of continuous technological development on the world.
The threat of a terrorist attack using biological weapons is very low. And while it is impossible to predict viral outbreaks, it is important to be able to recognize a new strain of virus that could result in an epidemic or even a pandemic, enabling countries to respond more effectively.