Longitude #07

August, 2011

Leaders

Deep water

Fighting for a drink
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

Alarmists have been predicting cataclysmic conflicts over scarce water supplies. But water has rarely, if ever, been the prime cause of any war. In fact, it seems that the element’s very nature lends itself to conflict resolution and cooperation, something governments and diplomats would do well to bear in mind.

The right way to water rights
by Carlo Stagnaro

That everyone should have access to safe and clean water is a given. But the debate about the best methods to use – whether private or public – in achieving this aim, risks bogging up the works.

Coins shining through the ripples
by Stefano Cingolani

As the importance of water management grows, governments need to recognize the economic opportunities and provide the necessary incentives for private investment in the sector, backed by the political will to solve the attendant problems.

by Stash Luczkiw

As water becomes an increasingly precious commodity, even charitable organizations have joined to invest in water’s future.

The sun sets on the West’s defense

As the West lets down its guard
by Emanuele Ottolenghi

The United States is now following Europe’s precedent of cutting military spending in the name of shoring up its economy. While in the short run this may seem wise, the price to pay in the future could be incalculable.

Farewell to arms
by Andrea Nativi

As governments in NATO countries cut defense spending, they must seek to mitigate the inevitable loss of influence that military power enables by rethinking force distribution and cooperation with allies as well as seeking innovative technological solutions.

Charting a new way with an old model
by Vincenzo Camporini

Strategic changes in the world are occurring faster than any institution can possibly deal with them. The OSCE is a model that could and should be tuned to work better than it does.

The global map of conflicts
by

Pakistan

Failed state, rogue state, friend and foe
by Richard Greco

Pakistan is many things at once, and pigeonholing the place is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Yet despite its recent embarrassment with Osama bin Laden, the country is still as important to the Central Asian power balance as ever.

Just as everyone’s running for cover
by Daniele Raineri

Pakistan has no doubt been getting a bad rap, and it would be hard to argue that it isn’t deserved. But there are investors who despite the deluge of difficulties see huge potential for recovery in a “paradise waiting to happen.”

Iraq

The side effects of leaving Iraq
by Giovanni Marizza

US combat troops will be leaving an Iraq that is in many respects a satellite of Iran. The complicated geostrategic situation confirms the view that the Iraq War is merely tapering off and morphing into another kind of conflict.

Let the oil flow
by Franco Zallio

After years of turmoil that led to the collapse of its infrastructure, Iraq is finally beginning to live up to its oil-producing potential. The boon should also ease ethnic tensions with the Kurds.

Libya

Recognizing Libya
by Leonardo Bellodi

For the time being, Libya is divided in two. This leaves the international community with a dilemma. Which Libya must it recognize and, more importantly, how is that recognition to be formulated in legal terms?

Europe

The Greek tragedy
by Antonio Ferrari

Greece’s slide toward default has been a long time in the making. Unsound institutions have been aided and abetted by Europe’s overoptimistic projections and a blind eye to endemic corruption.

Because the can we kick will explode
by Giovanni Tria

The cost of bailing Greece out through the creation of new European debt instruments is minimal compared to the catastrophe that will ensue after markets lose confidence in the eurozone – or the US. But lack of political will may spell doom regardless.

Russia

by Stash Luczkiw

Twenty years since the coup that terminated the USSR, Russia’s dynamic duo is gearing up for elections, and everyone is waiting to see if it will be Putin or Medvedev to run for president. Ultimately the situation on the ground will determine what suits Putin best.

Cuba

Cuba’s new Rum Socialism
by Maurizio Stefanini

As Fidel Castro lingers over the reforms his brother and successor Raúl implements, a new generation of leaders is positioning itself to take over the reins of an economic system that has been in shambles since the fall of the Soviet Union.

America’s friendly neighborhood pariah
by Christopher Caldwell

The US embargo on Cuba is still in effect, and few who count are clamoring for it to be lifted. Either it will wither away gradually, or the discovery of oil will expedite matters.

Warming bloopers

Living on thin ice
by Carlo Clini

What does fear of darkness have to do with melting ice caps? For penguins, the combination may lead to extinction.