Longitude #76

November, 2017


The Orientalist

Lebanon: order out of chaos
by Ugo Tramballi

Some would consider Lebanon a sectarian nightmare, but it has managed well in recent years, despite all odds. Now with Hezbollah fresh off a victory in Syria, the balance of power is set to change in their favor.

Cover story

The long way to Tipperary
by Stefano Cingolani

In a world buffeted by centrifugal political forces and seemingly incessant globalization, the idea of nationalism is being continually reassessed. New rules of engagement are needed, along with a leadership that can steer the ineluctable process of change.

Catalonia's runaway train
by Ugo Tramballi

What for years has been a political game of chicken may now have gotten out of hand. In the name of some imaginary oppression, the Catalans have bluffed themselves into a cul-de-sac. And Madrid’s reaction could spell disaster.

Separatism's effects
map by Marie Joveneau
What remains of the Leavers
by Gabriele Carrer

Now that the UK is negotiating its divorce with the EU, Britons are undergoing an examination of conscience. The society is still divided about the issue, but if nothing else, there seems to be a clearer understanding of who stands where.

Macron's European mirage
by Michele Marchi

From a Europe driven by the German dynamo to one guided by French ideals and the élan vital of France’s new president. It is an obvious vector for an EU in dire need of renewal, but it remains to be seen whether Macron’s vision can be implemented.

Things fall apart, but the centre still holds
by Renzo Rosso

The Franco-German political landscapes have seen some heavy turbulence in the their most recent elections. And despite the rise of fringe right-wing parties, it is the centrists who have received a mandate to set Europe on a steady course.

21st-century Trabants
by Stash Luczkiw

The manner in which Eastern Europe has melded with the West since the demise of communism has been remarkable. Now the differences in their visions of Europe are shining through the veneer of prosperity 
to raise the prospect of conflict.


The Westralian fancy
by Marco Mona

Why would a roaring economy want to rock the boat by seceding? Seeking independence since its inauguration, Western Australia has had just one bizarrely successful attempt at separating from Australia.

Featured briefing

The business and life of rice
by Maurizio Stefanini

In the most populous part of the planet, rice is equated with life. So attempts to use the commodity as geopolitical or economic leverage are fraught with danger for any government that feels duty-bound to feed its people and nurture their well being. 

The rise of rice
map by Marie Joveneau
Demons amid the paddies
by Enrico Verga

Rice production is coming under threat from an array of directions – climate change being among the top causes. Now technology is scrambling to save crops at risk of drowning. 


Where money is not the answer
by Anna Bono

That Africa is beset by an array of problems is a truism. But the knee-jerk reaction of pouring money into the problem is coming to be seen as not just inadequate, but even counterproductive, often exacerbating the endemic corruption and conflict.


Loose cannons on the campaign trail
by Gianluca Comin

Social media is so easy to use that it has become indispensable for any political campaign. The downside is that one slip-up by a single consultant can become amplified beyond control, 
as happened in Austria.

Warming bloopers

Storm warnings for Europe
by Carlo Clini

One of the results of global warming has been an increase of the area in which hurricanes can form in the Atlantic Ocean. This means more severe weather for Western Europe.