Longitude #02

March, 2011

Leaders

The food bubble

Paying through the nose for a mouthful
by Fabrizio Goria

Prices of agricultural commodities are soaring. What are the causes? Many are natural, others are contingent on market forces. International organizations are now scrambling to assess what, if anything, can be done.

The changing face of the Middle East

Roads less traveled
by Vittorio Emanuele Parsi

The Great Arab Revolt of 2011 offers a crucial lesson for the West: do not follow the usual routes, which are often as wrong as they are familiar.

A new pact for stability
by Franco Frattini

The new challenge posed by the dramatic changes in the Middle East is how to maintain stability. To do this we need to understand who our new interlocuters are. We hope those who have effected the trasformation will also prove to be viable counterparts.

The seeds of revolt
by Francesco Zannini

Libya is not Egypt. And yet the people of both countries have been enflamed by a desire to take their political destiny into their own hands. How each country differs depends largely on its historical relationship to the West and its own indigenous cultures.

A tale of two armies
by Roberto Santoro

The riots across the Arab world have been largely determined by the reaction of the military. So how do they compare?

A delicate balance
by Alessandro Merola
Watching and waiting
by Vincenzo Camporini

Things change quickly. If we don’t want to be caught out we must use our imagination to forecast possible outcomes and take the right steps.

NATO’s Middle East alliances put to the test
by Emiliano Stornelli

Most of the countries experiencing upheavals  are NATO partners in the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. So what happens when a hostile warship takes advantage of the turmoil to provoke the Alliance?

Economic prospects after the turmoil
by Franco Zallio

Ironically, much of the recent strife has been the fruit of past economic reforms. Whoever now gains power will have to build on them.

USA

More Band-Aid than tourniquet
by Giampaolo Lecce

There’s no dispute that something needs to be done about America’s runaway deficit. The spending of recent years will have to end. Now everyone is asking how much pain it will take to rein it in.

$till top of the charts
by Giancarlo Loquenzi

Some say US economic power is waning. But the fundamentals tell a very different story. No one comes even close.

Europe

Ruler of the roost
by Francesco Galietti

Germany is a prime mover, both in Europe and beyond. What are the key challenges and opportunities of Berlin’s primacy?

Premier ministre, avant tout
by Marina Valensise

France’s prime minister has long been seen as the president’s lightning rod. François Fillon is showing how this may no longer be the case.

Brazil

Dilma’s growing pains
by André Lahoz

As Lula hands off the baton to Dilma, his handpicked successor, everyone is wondering  if she can sustain Brazil’s remarkable growth in recent years without falling prey to Brazil’s traditional nemesis: inflation.

Africa

The trouble with Africa
by Robert Calderisi

Most observers agree that charity by itself might be the worst thing for Africa’s future. There needs to be reform. But given Africa’s many problems, finding a solution will require more political will than largesse.

A roadmap to development, more than just making aid work
by Elisabetta Belloni

China

China eyes Asia and well beyond
by Paolo Guerrieri

As Beijing asserts itself and shifts its own economy toward more sustainable growth, an increasingly integrated East Asia is poised to become the world’s third economic pillar.

From Globish to Globese
by Pasquale Ferrara
Good news for lopsided accounts
by Beniamino Quintieri

Everyone is on edge about US-China current account imbalances. Though some are busy blaming Beijing, market forces and government actions bode well for both economies.

Warming bloopers

Never mind the biofuels Here’s Al Gore
by Carlo Stagnaro

Subsidies for ethanol was an idea the former VP sold to Congress with a zealot’s fury. Now the green prophet is backtracking.