Longitude #04

May, 2011


State of the Union

Crossing the thin red line
by Federiga Bindi

When national interests conflict with European solidarity, every decision risks breaking the continent’s fragile political construction.

The three sides of the European disorder
by Stefano Cingolani

Europe is divided on its most fundamental issues. Is this due to members retracting into the shell of national interests, or does a globalized world preclude the initiative we expect from leaders?

Out into to the open sea
by Franco Frattini

The challenges presented by changes on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea may yet prove to be an opportunity for Europe. We have the duty to muster all our resources and intelligence, and to open up to our neighbors – shaping our own political destinies as we help them to shape theirs.

No Team Europe without Captain America
by Vittorio Emanuele Parsi

Faced with the reluctant leadership of the US, EU foreign policy seems to be cracking. The war in Libya highlights Europe’s limits and forces the individual states to redefine their purpose.

Obama’s problem with Europe
by Christopher Caldwell

For a man anchored in the Pacific region, it might seem odd that the US President is so appreciated across the Atlantic. An overview of some of his approaches toward Europe and its leaders gives a picture of nonchalance, which may betray a lack of empathy.

Harnessing the tide
by Stefano Bertozzi

Like it or not, more migrants will be crossing the Mediterranean. To deal with this crisis, an unprecedented level of cooperation among EU member states is essential.

What right through yonder elections breaks
by Giancarlo Loquenzi

There is a populist movement afoot in Europe. Rather than dismissing it as a return to nationalism, one would do better to see it as a legitimate expression of frustration at the lack of democracy.

Moving in at the net
by Marina Valensise

Sarkozy has big shoes to fill. But living up to his own ambitions and self-image is proving to be his most daunting task. As a result, he has tended to shoot first and ask questions later.

Arab uprising

First contact with the rebels
by Pasquale Terracciano

The Italian diplomat tells the inside story of how he and a secret delegation landed in Benghazi to meet with the nascent National Transitional Council.

The end of certainty
by Barry Rubin

For decades Israel’s foreign policy has hinged on peace with Egypt. Now that Egypt can no longer be taken for granted and other neighbors deal with their own storms, Israel is forced to reassess its geopolitical strategy.

Israel: hope for the best, prepare for the worst
by Ely Karmon

Not often does Israel finds itself a passive bystander amid Middle East turmoil. But as history shows, whether or not the Jewish state is a protagonist, it always winds up in someone’s sights. So until the dust settles, there’s not much to do but plan for contingecies.

Behold Leviathan, then starve the beast
by Pasquale Ferrara

There has never been a shortage of things to contest in the Middle East. Recently one more point of contention has been discovered: gas off the Israeli coast.

The phony war
by Alessandro Merola

So far, the Libyan adventure is following the trajectory of what has become known as a humanitarian war. Unfortunately, such wars always risk turning into a comedy of errors.

Rising powers

The building blocks of a new world order: fact and fiction
by Antonio Armellini

What started as a convenient acronym to talk about rising economic powers is developing into a force with political weight – at least potentially – to be thrown around.

Paying the price for energy

Nukes on hold
by Carlo Stagnaro

Now might not be the most appropriate time for politicians to be campaigning enthusiastically for nuclear power. But it is nevertheless an essential part of the energy mix in developed countries, and each of the alternatives – gas, coal,
and renewables – pose a set of problems.

Europe steps on the gas
by Leonardo Bellodi

With a nuclear accident stoking public fear and a major oil and gas source in the midst of a civil war, the issue of energy security is on the front burner again.

How much radiation?
by Sandro Sandri

The invisible nature of radiation sows panic. So if we want to make use of nuclear energy, it is important that we measure and communicate the levels of danger, while implementing the lessons learned from past accidents.

West Africa

Ivory Coast: taking the elections by force
by Anna Bono

Does the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast mean the end of hostilities, or just a new phase in the country’s on-again off-again troubles?

Who’s next in West Africa
by Anna Bono

A domino effect is possible in West Africa, too. Protests in Burkina Faso have got President Blaise Compaoré rushing to remedy the situation.


I’ll have ’alf. But who’s buying?
by Leonardo Maisano

The last time Britain experienced such structural changes, it saw the demise of manufacturing and unions, the birth of punk, and the arrival of Thatcher. What can be expected now that Cameron has begun to trim the government fat?


What’s sprouting in the Black Forest
by Roberto­­­ Giardina

When Germany’s Green Party won an important recent election, many wondered if this motley crew of tree-hugging idealists could govern. But look closer: the Party has produced a new crop of realists.

Warming bloopers

Less nuclear means more CO2
by Jacopo Giliberto

As the nuclear industry reacts to concerns about safety, the energy mix will have to adapt to the shortfall by increasing power generation that produces carbon emissions. The alternative is higher prices.