Longitude #38

May, 2014


Avoiding the dark

Keeping the lights on in Europe
by Stefano Cingolani

The prospect of a gas war with Russia has Europe maneuvering to shore up its energy security. With so many factors and contingencies in play, we are now witnessing the negotiation of a new international balance of power.

Where it comes from
Map by Marie Joveneau
The Mediterranean is back
by Pasquale Salzano

Between calls for diversification of natural gas sources and new basins being developed in the Mediterranean and North Africa, a geopolitical axis shift is occurring.

Global flows
Map by Marie Joveneau
Loosening America’s tight oil
by Roberto Galli

As Europe scrambles to diversify its gas sources, the US is well placed to satisfy that demand – eventually. Technical and political obstacles, however, will keep much of Europe bound to Russia in the short term.

by Stash Luczkiw

With Europe dependent on Russian gas, what happens in Ukraine will have a lasting effect on both their economies. Channeling ideological disputes through the conduit of gas issues might serve to divert a disastrous war.

Poor Russia
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

Russia has exhibited a newfound political strength in the past year, and it has been more than willing to use it. But that strength does not seem to jibe with Russia’s many glaring economic problems.

Palladium: the makings of a perfect storm
by Maurizio Stefanini

With so much attention on gas and Russia, it is easy to overlook a crisis brewing in the world of palladium, a little-known metal that is crucial for petroleum cracking and also promises many more uses in the future.

Responding to Russia
by Marta Dassù

Like it or not, Russia will always be a crucial interlocutor for Europe. In the face of the current crisis, Europe and the US will need to reinforce their traditional transatlantic ties.

Europe’s power agenda
by Luigi Mattiolo

Given the recent revolutions, both in neighboring countries and in extraction technology, Europe must reassess its energy strategy so that industry can benefit and pull the continent out of a prolonged period of stagnation.

­­­The battle for Europe

­­­The battle for Europe
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

What’s at stake in the upcoming European Parliament elections, where the euroskeptic parties are expected to surge, is not the survival of the Union but whether political and economic integration has to be boosted or scaled down – and to what extent.

Euroskeptics who’s who
Map by Marie Joveneau
On the move in the Old Continent
by Stefano Bertozzi

Does Europe have a migration strategy? One might say that it has numerous, often conflicting strategies. But until some cohesive, EU-wide policy is put into place, there will be no way of taking advantage of migration’s benefits.

Not out of the woods yet
by Domenico Lombardi, Samantha St. Amand

The latest IMF ministerial meeting drew attention to various pitfalls in the current recovery. One of the more worrisome was persistently low inflation in developed economies and a slowdown in growth in the emerging countries. 

Development banks and the European crisis
by Giuseppe Pennisi

One of Europe’s best tools for exiting the crisis are its development banks and finance corporations, which can increase the continent’s growth rate and provide support to investment in innovative initiatives.

Obama’s grand theory
by Christopher Caldwell

Ignoring the complicated reality of history in favor of vague ideas is a dangerous approach to foreign policy. The US president seems to be undermining America’s status in Europe and the rest of the world.


Afghanistan afterthought: Was it worth it?
by Stefano Stefanini

Now that NATO forces are preparing to pull out of Afghanistan, everyone is reckoning whether the country is better or worse off than before Western forces arrived. Whatever the case, the elected government might not be equipped to survive.

Middle East

Gulf crowns butt heads
by Enrico Verga

Tension is rising between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Today the main point of contention, which stirs historical grievances, is Doha’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

World economy

Foreign policy for sustainability
by Luigi Marras

In recent years governments have tried to adopt corporate social responsibility, environmental protection and respect for human rights into their foreign policy decisions. Toward this end various concrete measures have been taken.

Intellectual property rights in the global economy
by Luca Ferrari

In a rapidly changing world, intellectual property rights play an increasingly important role in the global economy, contributing to competitiveness and fostering growth and employment.

The Garbage Patch State
by Maria Cristina Finucci

A new nation has been born out of the flotsam drifting in our oceans. Inhabited not by humans, but by plastic refuse, a floating island of junk has been the inspiration for a radical new approach to our relationship with garbage.

The Orientalist

Are two states better than one?
by Maurizio Molinari

With negotiations based on a Two State Solution hitting a wall, many on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian question are beginning to wonder if some alternative solution might not be more appropriate.

Warming bloopers

Waiting for the Big One
by Carlo Clini

Southern California had been enjoying a respite in seismic activity until an earthquake hit this year. Now the fear of a long overdue giant quake has got the population on edge.