Longitude #60

May, 2016


Cover story

by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

As economies undergo rapid transformation, those who get left behind often blame the trend toward globalization. But the process is much too complex to demonize in its entirety. For sure, globalization is neither a panacea nor the culprit of all middle-class woes.

map by Marie Joveneau
McWorld vs. Jihad
by Stefano Cingolani

The most recent wave of globalization – and its no-global backlash – is rather different from previous ones. Transnational integration has often resulted in disintegration at home, in which a clash of civilizations is beginning to brew. How can this be prevented?

Special Report

The gray zone
by Stash Luczkiw

The not-quite-frozen conflict in Ukraine has left the country in limbo. Fighting continues in the east two years after it began, but the country is now focused on the war within, between reform and corruption as usual.


How an art heist hurt the EU
by Yuri Roskol

When stolen Dutch paintings turned up in Ukraine more than a decade later, a series of discoveries helped sour the Dutch public to the idea of an association agreement with Ukraine, thereby putting the EU at risk.

Middle East

Russia's road to Damascus
by Massimo Boffa

Moscow’s actions in Syria have solidified its place as an indispensible player in any effort to achieve peace there. One of the greatest benefits of its involvement is a constructive cooperation with the United States.

Caught in the middle
by Filippo Di Robilant

Tiny Bahrain now finds itself in the midst of a regional power struggle. Its Shiite majority is ruled by Sunnis, and pervasive tension between neighbors Iran and Saudi Arabia inevitably spill over.

The Orientalist

Catching the world off-balance
by Ugo Tramballi

Russian moves in Syria have displayed a quickness that has everyone involved wondering what’s behind them and what the end game might be. 

Islamic terrorism

Trimming terror's tentacles
by Ranieri Razzante

In order to combat terrorism, we must first understand how the phenomenon continues to survive despite efforts to eradicate it. Following the money is perhaps the most important task.

Featured briefing

O gigante on the ropes
map by Marie Joveneau
Vale tudo in Brazil
by Maurizio Stefanini

The no holds barred tradition of fighting that was born in Brazil seems to be extending into politics. Everyone is under investigation and the entire political elite is at risk.


Openings and closings in China
by Fabrizio Franciosi

The current Chinese president is progressively consolidating power. A backlash within the Communist Party is inevitable, and observers are still debating what this means for the future of Chinese society.

Foreign investment

Djibouti, where China meets the West
by Enrico Verga

The Chinese have been investing heavily in the tiny East African nation, as well as throughout the Horn of Africa. Sooner or later they will be rubbing elbows with Western interests long established there.


The problem with doing business in Italy
by Lucio Ghia

A slow judiciary and cumbersome bureaucracy have placed Italy at the bottom of international rankings on the ease of doing business. What can be done to improve the situation?


Social media: instruments of democracy or terror weapons?
by Gianluca Comin

From the Twitter Revolution to the Telegram Mobilization. The Iran case is an example of our tendency to fall in love with the democratizing power of the social media. The same tools used by IS to spread terror.