Longitude # 58

March, 2016


by Maurizio Molinari

The Russian presence in Syria has not only changed the calculus on the ground, it has also upended the political power balance in the region. Now all hopes are contingent on how Putin decides to play his hand.

Now what?

How central bankers become easy villains
by Stefano Cingolani

These are extraordinary economic times, when old formulas have proven ineffective and politicians are loath to experiment with new approaches. In this context, central banks have become lightening rods 
for criticism.

Central banking figures
Map by Marie Joveneau

Redefining the EU

The EU crises: an ever closer disunion?
by Renzo Rosso

The European Union is facing several crises at once. In the face of what risks becoming a perfect storm, the EU is trying to regain lost momentum. In the processes more fissures keep coming to light.

The Schengen dilemma
by Stefano Bertozzi

Europe feels the need to become a fortress against an unmanageable wave of migration. However, imperiling the achievements resulting from a border-free Europe could be worse. A combination of vigilance and innovative technology might secure the compromise.

Millennial America

Millennials mind the gap
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

The generation of Americans coming of age today has become a political force to be reckoned with. Bernie Sanders, in particular, is riding the wave as he shines a spotlight on concerns over growing wealth inequality. But can he do anything about it?

The millennial elections
Map by Marie Joveneau
Whither America
by Stash Luczkiw

The prospect of either Trump or Sanders winning their parties’ nominations would signal an anti-establishment turn in US politics. What this means could generate the noise for an eerie soundtrack that risks drowning out the rhetoric of change.

The Orientalist

Russian supply meets political demand
by Ugo Tramballi

The vacuum left by American leadership is being filled by Putin, and all those weary of the stalemate in Syria are content. But the Middle East has historically been a spider web for foreign powers.

Middle East

Overlapping wars
by Maurizio Melani

Local, regional and external factors weave a very complex fabric in the ongoing strife throughout the Middle East. A comprehensive solution will require all actors to accept some form of accommodation. 

The Mediterranean’s beachhead of terror
by Alessandro Forlani

Libya is split in two, and the Islamic State has filled the gap between opposing governments. If no reconciliation is found in the near future, much of North Africa will be facing the risk of falling to jihadist forces.


The Chinese behind China's growth
by Fabrizio Franciosi

The world’s markets watch China through statistics of growth, production and consumption. And yet, underlying the economy is a very particular mindset that developed over thousands of years and has recently faced revolutionary change.

Global health threats

Better safe than sorry
by Anna Bono

Concerns about the Zika virus and the danger it poses to pregnant women has the international community geared for action. The quick reaction, before any link has been proven, is largely due to the criticism about the slow reaction to the recent Ebola outbreak.

Inside business

Germany's winning secret
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

Only about 1% of the world population is German. However, 48% of the mid-sized world market leaders come from Germany – as well as the term “hidden champions.”

Warming bloopers

Cheap oil and climate change
by Carlo Clini

The sudden drop in oil prices has significant implications for oil extraction and, consequently, on carbon emissions.