Longitude #11

December, 2011

Leaders

Maastricht

Maastricht in tatters
by Stefano Cingolani

Twenty years after the drafting of the Treaty, the sovereign debt crisis shows that Europe is a fundamentally incomplete construction. Faced with the specter of disintegration, the EU will have no choice but to reconfigure the framework
out of which it has grown together thus far.

Beyond Maastricht
by Pasquale Terracciano

The European crisis has brought to light the fundamental problems of trying to achieve monetary and political union. But there is no turning back, and we need to forge ahead in a spirit of solidarity.

The importance of being European
by Andrea Loquenzi Holzer

Every dreamer knows the sensation of “how did I get here?” Now with the dream of European unity experiencing unprecedented turbulence, a reassessment of the path that has brought the continent from ruin to union is in order.

Turning theory into action
by Pasquale Ferrara

The absence of efficient  political governance has left the EU incapable of a strong and speedy reaction to attacks on its currency.

Watching Europe sink
by Christopher Caldwell

From the other side of the Atlantic, Europe’s travails hark back to Americans’ own loss of state identification. But the sheer weight of the Old Continent’s history risks taking the world under with it.

A road map for the euro
by Giuseppe Scognamiglio

For years the euro’s structural defects remained hidden. Now that they’ve been laid bare, it’s time to implement a plan that anchors the medium- and long-term financial markets’ expectations.

The New German Question
by Carlo Pelanda

As the eurozone’s leading economy, Germany has the power to accomplish what it was unable to do in two wars during the 20th century – dominate Europe. But Germany’s ambition has been ambiguous if not outright contradictory, to the detriment of the world economy.

The new Arab order Islam women money

Bringing the mountain to Muhammad
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

To what extent is Islam compatible with democracy? The new political parties emerging in North Africa show a wide range that promises to fuel the debate about political Islam.

The genie is out of the lamp
by Sandro De Bernardin

Many in the West are expecting magic from the nascent democratic movements in North Africa. But it seems as if the genie has her own agenda.

Stabilizing North Africa
by Carlo Jean

Bringing security and stability to the region in the wake of so many regime changes will require consolidating the forces of order and ensuring that they serve the nation rather than the leader.

What Arab women want
by Valeria Biagiotti

No one in North Africa has more at stake in the outcome of elections than women. While the recently deposed leaders had poor human rights records, they often granted women more freedom than tradition would normally allow. 

Getting the economy back on track
by Franco Zallio

The upheavals in North Africa have severely curtailed economic productivity. As the nations edge more toward Islamic order, with its emphasis on social justice and sharia compliance in economic activity, their material wellbeing may hang in the balance.

Lynchpin of stability
by Richard Greco

Over the years, Italy has proven itself to be a crucial partner in crisis management all over the world. Its track record in international flash points, has made it a point of reference in any institution-building endeavor, especially now with strife across the Mediterranean.

France

Second act
by Marina Valensise

The elections in France will pit a hyperactively inconclusive incumbent against a party stalwart with scant experience. Whoever wins will need to take harsh measures. No wonder the French are more blasé than usual.

François Hollande: an ordinary man
by Emmanuel Gout

Upon closer inspection, the unassuming French presidential candidate seems to have assumed the qualities of the paragon of Socialist presidents.

USA

The Cain and the glory
by Giancarlo Loquenzi

Forget the gaffes and sexual harassment, Herman Cain is made of Teflon. His candidacy has already spiced up a bland Republican line-up. But will his mojo still be working when the primaries start in earnest?

Running on flat tax
by Alberto Mucci

Two of the top Republican candidates have proposed a flat tax to jump-start the US economy. It’s simple and makes for catchy slogans. But as the campaign heats up, they will have to convince skeptics that it won’t simply widen the wealth gap.

Thailand

Thailand’s power plays
by Maurizio Stefanini

Apart from the recent devastating floods, Thai politics have experienced a flood of governments, alliances and factions sporting colored T-shirts. The main players, however, have all had to deal with the ever-increasing power of the Shinawatra family – especially now that Yingluck Shinawatra is prime minister.

Warming bloopers

Saving money saves lives
by Carlo Stagnaro

No one knows exactly what causes climate change. But whenever a natural disaster occurs, it seems the easiest way to soothe people’s consciences is to blame industry, progress, whatever. Energy would be better spent trying to make these inevitable disasters less lethal.