Longitude #21

November, 2012


Ambassadors building confidence
by Michele Valensise

As the European economy gets back on track, diplomats can and must play an important role. The key in the long run is to gain the confidence that fuels a broad-based growth which goes beyond economics.

Swimming upstream

by Stash Luczkiw

Recent protests are seen in the West to reflect Russia’s longing for more freedom. But Russians have long been wondering whether too much freedom, especially the Western variety, might not do more harm than good.

Heading the opposition
by Giovanni Masotti

Russia’s opposition may not be unified or anywhere near toppling the Putin government, but the very fact that it exists is an anomaly in the context of Russian history. It remains to be seen if they will meet the fate of dissidents from the past.

Russia’s resources
Made in Russia
by Stefano Cingolani

Russia’s economy is dominated by its natural resources industries. Yet Russia is still struggling to create a significant manufacturing base that can compete globally. A complete overhaul of the country’s approach to its economy may be in order.

The night the Western lights went out in Georgia
by Christopher Caldwell

With the defeat of Mikheil Saakashvili – the hero of the Rose Revolution – Georgia has turned away from the West and accepted the need for better relations with Russia.

Iran’s paper bomb

Moving goalposts and missed opportunities
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

As Iran moves closer to getting a nuclear bomb, those who want to prevent it from happening must assess their options. Neither continued sanctions nor military intervention seem capable of preventing the inevitable. So what next?

Where to draw the line on the bomb
by Piero Benetti

When the Israeli prime minister stood before the UN and drew a red line at 90%, he was talking about nine-tenths of the work needed to build a bomb. And we’re almost there.

The past and future of nuclear deterrence
by Leopoldo Nuti

Does the power to annihilate another civilization – and in turn be annihilated – decrease the likelihood of war? Or does the possession of nuclear weapons only make nations more nervous and trigger happy? Both sides of the debate have their points to consider.


The contemporary cosmopolis
by Enrico Verga

What will happen in the future if cities grow in harmony with the surrounding environment? If urban dwellers evolve to feel like living entities within a larger living entity – the polis – we might see the birth of permacities.


Security à la carte
by Pasquale Ferrara

Turkey is rapidly becoming a major force in the world’s most volatile region. As a result, the relationship between its security needs and its capacities has grown much more complex in light of the turbulence in its neighborhood.


The secrets of Germany’s success
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

In recent decades industrial manufacturing has been shifting to Asia. Yet Germany remains an exporting powerhouse. A number of factors contribute to its preeminence in various industries, and as these factors are not easy to duplicate Germany should continue to prosper.

The dangerous innovation gulf
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

The number of patents issued to a given country is a good indication of that country’s innovativeness. A quick look at the discrepancies spells danger for the future of the European economy.

by Domenico Lombardi

Europe never wanted too much IMF involvement in its economic affairs. Now the ECB sees how IMF engagement in its OMTs can serve as a safeguard for its own independence. But in what capacity will the IMF get engaged? And what happens when countries falter?


Africa’s broken heart
by Anna Bono

The deadliest war in the past quarter century has not only been the most ignored, it has also been exacerbated by international aid. Now ethnic animosity between Hutus and Tutsis are complicating the Congo’s long festering conflict.

Rwanda: a thousand hills, a thousand challenges
by Irene Boreggi

Known mostly for the 1994 genocide, Rwanda is stable and the economy continues to grow. However, ethnic conflicts in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo might be drawing President Paul Kagame back into the vicious cycle of violence.

Warming bloopers

Chinese sunstroke
by Carlo Clini

In just a few years, thanks to government subsidies, the Chinese have almost cornered the solar panel market. After the US hit Chinese imports with tariffs, the EU is now considering  antidumping action against China, raising the tension level on all sides.