Longitude #18

July, 2012


Committed to a cleaner planet
by Corrado Clini

Having just attended the Rio+20 summit, Italy’s representative reaffirms in both spirit and actions its longstanding commitment to sustainable development.

Women in diplomacy: the case for a better orchestra
by Marta Dassù

Whether in the private sector or in government, the talents of women are still an untapped resource in most countries. The US is leading the way toward a solution that should be embraced by European countries.

The Constitution: a safeguard and spoke in the wheel
by Christopher Caldwell

No politician wants to be accused of undermining the US Constitution. But much of the wheeling and dealing needed to let corporations grow often comes at the cost of running counter to its spirit.

Arab disillusion

The Arab disillusion
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

When tyrants fall, hopes rise along with uncertainty. But with hope waning in the Arab Spring’s hangover, the symptoms of a deeply rooted malaise have appeared in the squares that promised
an overdue renaissance, as emblematically expressed in the graffiti of Cairo’s streets.

by Valeria Biagiotti

Notwithstanding the turmoil surrounding the presidential elections in Egypt, it is safe to say that Egyptians have never experienced such an array of choices – if not possibilities.

Of seasons and ages
by Cesare Merlini

Although prognoses emerging from the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa are darker now than when it began, there is little doubt that the change is irreversible. Now the West needs to assess its options in this crucial region.

The Syrian conundrum
by Emanuele Ottolenghi

To intervene or stand by: it’s a classic no-win situation. The uncertainty surrounding the Syrian uprising breeds fears of a regional conflict in the event that outside forces get involved. And yet, inaction could be worse.

The perennial battlefield
by Daniele Federico Rosa

Syria’s­ long history shows how its geographic position atop the fault lines between civilizations has forced it to bear the assaults of numerous civilizations over the millennia.

Corporations steering the planet

A brave new transnational world
by Roberto Crapelli

Governments are no longer the only players in the geopolitical game. Many corporations have consolidated enough power to make them political entities in their own right.

Too big to ignore
by Moreno Zani

When a corporation as rich as a medium sized country steps into the global lobby, it’s hard not to notice. How can their influence over developing states be regulated?

The risks of a power vacuum
by Edoardo Ferrazzani

Hegemony these days seems to be spilling through the fingers of great powers like sand. As geopolitical complexity increases, so will instability – to the point where many will grow nostalgic for the golden age of a unipolar world.

Bracing for the perfect storm
by Gianluca Comin

There is no shortage of doomsayers. And yet, such pessimism seems to inspire the ingenuity that is key to averting disaster, while spurring the technology, better governance, and the bottom-up shift in awareness necessary for a better future.

To boldly go and seek out new opportunities
by Enrico Verga

Transnational corporations are feeling their way into the future. Whether expanding into greener pastures or consolidating their hold over traditional markets, metaphors of East and West no longer mean what they used to.

America’s startup hubs
by Alberto Mucci

In order for the new economy to grow, it needs new companies fed by new ideas. Several cities in the United States are now giving Silicon Valley a run for its money. And money, in the form of venture capital, is as key an ingredient as brain power.

Top transnational companies’ earnings compared to the GDP of countries

Euro crisis

Euro fallout across the globe
by Stefano Cingolani

The threat to the euro is also a threat to international stability. Leaders seem to be ignoring the fact that economic policy is inseparable from security policy. If European fiscal and political integration is to be viable, there will need to be a security pact as well.

Isolation and stalemate
by Domenico Lombardi

Europe and the US, once the driving forces of the world economy, are now upsetting the balance. Europe is now hostage to the position of its strongest member, whose isolation has contributed to America’s decreased engagement.


Fighting over Eastern Mediterranean gas
by Franco Zallio

Newly discovered gas fields spanning countries that have long been in conflict with each other risk reigniting tensions. But a smart policy could leverage the gas into cooperation as well as energy security.

Warming bloopers

African Pirates and the North Pole­­­
by Carlo Clini

The surge of piracy around the Horn of Africa has sent shippers scrambling for alternative sea routes. Ironically, the effects of global warming could offer up new passages in the Arctic.