Longitude #37

April, 2014


Fiscal Compact: not as bad as it seems
by Lorenzo Bini Smaghi

Misunderstandings have led to skewed perceptions regarding the EU’s Fiscal Compact. A deeper knowledge of how it works shows that it is not the straightjacket many contend.

Full throttle Putin

Putin’s true colors
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

Putin’s annexation of Crimea is not the end of Ukraine’s crisis. And it’s not even the beginning of the end of the geopolitical mess it provoked. As surely as it buries the post-Cold War order, it heralds the beginning of a new Russian assertiveness. With two main objectives: to be considered an equal partner by the EU and to stop the West’s assimilation of ex-Soviet states.

The watershed
by Stefano Stefanini

What may seem like a bold and brilliant tactical move on Putin’s part, will likely come back to haunt him. In an interdependent world, isolation is tantamount to self-abnegation.

by Stash Luczkiw

After the exaltation of bringing down a corrupt government, Ukraine’s new leaders face existential threats on all fronts: military, economic, and social. To make things even harder, their country’s fate may be determined by outside powers.

Clash of civilizations in a split nation
by Gianluca Sadun Bordoni

The idea that in a post-Cold War world, political forces will arrange themselves along lines more closely associated with culture and identity is now being put to the test in Ukraine’s crisis.

Post-Cold War fault lines
Map by Marie Joveneau
Sanctions and the butterfly effect
by Stefano Cingolani

As the EU and US scramble to punish Russia for annexing Crimea, they are realizing that there is no easy painless way to make their point. If they want to stand by their convictions, they must be willing to accept the sacrifices.

The Facebook foreign policy
by Christopher Caldwell

It is easy to “like” the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine. But such a preference cannot substitute a coherent American foreign policy based on clear objectives and, most importantly, an understanding of others’ fears and goals.

The twisting roads of Arab transition

Going full circle
by Lorenzo Vidino, Andrea Plebani, Stefano M. Torelli

Egypt and Tunisia were the first to infect the rest of the Arab world with their contagious rebellions. While Tunisia seems to be moving toward a true transition, Egypt had returned firmly to military rule.

The unstable lynchpin
by Marcello Brissori

The post-Gaddafi situation in Libya has been precarious and dramatic. It is imperative that the international community get together with the various actors inside the country to hammer out an all-inclusive agreement.

Dancers in the dark
by Alessandro Merola

The West keeps winning wars and losing peace. This no doubt stems from a severe lack of strategy as it ad libs the numerous brushfires flaring up around the world.

Towards transition
Map by Marie Joveneau
Dialogue in Yemen fails
by Laura Silvia Battaglia

The transition process in Yemeni politics seemed to be proceeding positively, with attention being paid to national reconciliation. But recently, tribal and religious differences have exploded into violence jeopardizing the progress made.


Resetting his own irrelevance
by Giancarlo Loquenzi

Barack Obama started his presidency with very noble foreign policy aspirations that are proving increasingly naïve by the day. The result is a drop in approval at home.

Runners, get to your marks!
by Stefano Lucchini, Raffaello Matarazzo

The 2016 presidential race is gearing up. Already the political action committees known as Super PACs are raising the astronomical sums of money needed to get their pick into the White House.


Turkey’s burning bridges
by Valeria Giannotta

Clean breaks with the past have often allowed Istanbul to adapt to changing times. The current government has tried to break with the Republic’s secular legacy. Though still popular, the Erdogan government continues to face resistance.


Africa in Rwanda’s wake
by Anna Bono

A decade after the genocide in Rwanda, the African continent has continued to roil with ethnic and communal tensions. A recap of the tragic events serves to highlight many of the mistakes made and traps to avoid in the future.

The Orientalist

Winds of counterrevolution
by Maurizio Molinari

After the brief reign of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a backlash has brought together a host of forces united by their antagonism to the political movement viewed as crypto-jihadist.

Warming bloopers

Climate change as security threat
by Carlo Clini

The US government’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review explores the implications of climate change on defense strategy. Can it also extrapolate the security benefits of reducing carbon emissions?