Longitude #64

October, 2016


by Pialuisa Bianco

The world is not self-organizing. The invisible hand, which helped guide the markets since the era of Adam Smith, can’t work in geopolitics. For the past 75 years the visible hand of the United States, more than any other factor, has created and maintained conditions of stability. 

Cover story

by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

Democracy can’t close the inevitable gap between its dual existence as an ideal and as a reality, between what it promises and what it delivers. Although it always fails, it never fails completely, and over time it has demonstrated remarkable adaptability. The question is, will it be able to overcome its present crisis?

Sex, lies and political posturing
by Stefano Cingolani

American politics is becoming increasingly determined by feelings rather than facts. No matter who wins the upcoming presidential elections, the political landscape will be marked by the ability of candidates to stir emotions.

by Stash Luczkiw

Just when the United States appeared to have transcended its legacy of racial discrimination, the race issue is rearing its head in the presidential election. What does this mean for the future of American politics?

The Orientalist

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
by Ugo Tramballi

Moscow has elbowed in on Washington’s monopoly of influence in the Middle East. But the truth is that neither can achieve what it was able to in the past. Now the local governments are the protagonists.

Featured briefing

Changing gears on congestion
by Corrado Clini, Arvea Marieni

What has always seemed like an impractical utopian vision will not become a reality any time soon. But the kinds of cars we drive and how we use them have already changed drastically.

Transport in China’s smart cities
by Fabrizio Franciosi

The Chinese government seems to be committed to lowering greenhouse gases. Its “smart city” policy hopes to incorporate technological advances that will not only keep the environment clean, but also give their industries an edge.


Blockchain ransoms and mercenary hackers
by Enrico Verga

The new frontier in crime is located in cyberspace. As the IT revolution gets into full swing, those inclined to deviant means for making money will no doubt try to make the most what software can do.

World economy

Globalization’s new look
by Danilo Zatta

While some are ringing the death knell for globalization, others are preparing for a new kind of integration, one that takes into account significant changes that have occurred recently in the world economy. 

Latin America

The end of the Pink Wave
by Maurizio Stefanini

A series of scandals and crises have caused Latin Americans to spurn many of their leftist governments. But the new leaders tend to be in power thanks to the faults of others rather than because of their own merits.

Not an easy fix
by Massimo Labartino

The war on drugs has been a failure. The United States and Latin America are now shifting their approach to combating the trafficking of illegal drugs and how they deal with those who abuse the drugs. 


A vicious circle
by Anna Bono

The African continent is rife with problems. Unfortunately, corruption is more than a problem, it is the rotten foundation upon which most of the governments and businesses rest. Only a few countries have managed to do something about it.


The tweeter might be mightier than the wonk
by Gianluca Comin

The recent nuclear deal with Iran has demonstrated, among other things, that communication is fundamental in international relations.

Warming bloopers

The death of Lake Poopò
by Carlo Clini

The evaporation of a lake in the Bolivian Andes is indicative of the key issue surrounding climate change negotiations: how to reconcile emissions reduction without affecting the economic growth of developing countries.