Longitude #55

December, 2015


Europe’s dark hour

What to do with the Islamic State
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

In a tactical shift the Islamic State is now exporting its terror into Europe. The West must deal with the growing threat on many fronts, but ultimately the solutions are limited. What lies ahead will be a long war of attrition.

Terror and Islam in Europe
Map by Marie Joveneau
by Stash Luczkiw

The Islamic State has claimed another terrorist attack to back up its declaration of war against the infidel West. Meanwhile, Western countries continue to debate whether IS should really be called a state and who exactly the terrorists in Syria are.

Syrian battleground
Map by Marie Joveneau
Learning from history
by Shahram Bahadori

Some suggest that a divide and rule strategy in the Middle East would suit the West. But a closer look at the historical conditions that enabled such a strategy to be successful might discourage such an approach.

Angela’s blues
by Stefano Cingolani

As Europe reels under the threat of continued terrorist attacks, Berlin has been remarkably quiet. It would seem that Angela Merkel’s appeal is fading as she deals with possible repercussions from her own policies with respect to refugees.

Will the ballots fix Spanish politics?

Spain always game for another party
by Maurizio Stefanini

Day by day Spain is moving away from a classic two-party system. New political movements, shifting alliances and independence movements risk bringing the country to a constitutional crisis.

The stakes in Spain
Map by Marie Joveneau
Catalonia’s political bullfight
by Renzo Rosso

The Catalonians, in their desire for more autonomy from Madrid, might have gotten ahead of themselves. With momentum behind them they appear to be pushing Spain toward a real break-up.


Turkey’s twists and turns
by Pasquale Ferrara, Alessandra Dorato

In the course of all the revolutions, counterrevolutions and wars in the Islamic world since the Arab Springs, Turkey has gone from being a role model bent on regional hegemony to a country focused on internal security.

The world is wary after Erdogan’s big win
by Carlo Jean, Alessandro Merola

Turkey’s most recent election saw the population rally behind the ruling Islamist party. Safe at home, for the time being, Erdogan must now continue his ongoing balancing act between the Muslim world and Europe.


Reading Beijing’s moves in the South China Sea
by Fabrizio Franciosi

China and its neighbors have been at odds over the sovereignty of many islands in the South China Sea. In reality the issue reflects China’s attempt to assert itself
in the face of American hegemony in the Pacific. 


Life in a time of cholera
by Anna Bono

Africa and parts of the Middle East seem like cauldrons for epidemics. Now cholera has struck. Nevertheless, global cooperation has facilitated major achievements with other diseases that have plagued the continent.

The Orientalist

Islamic State’s pivot to the west
by Maurizio Molinari

As they struggle to consolidate territory, IS has called on its foreign fighters to focus on the West, thus opening a new front in their jihad.

Inside business

Germany does not export
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

Manufacturing has long been one of Germany’s strong suits. A little semantic shift is enough to get a fresh perspective on what separates it from other economies.

Warming bloopers

Prelude to a climate deal
by Carlo Clini

As we gear up for the Paris climate conference, there are signs to encourage the optimists: the bilateral agreement between the US and China, and an understanding that fixing policy is more effective than reducing gases.