Longitude #77

December, 2017


Cover story

Living the Xi era
by Stefano Cingolani

China needs a great leader to steer it through the next set of challenges. Xi is a powerful and charming ruler but he is also an autocratic leader. By using his power to reform the Chinese system from within he will achieve great success. But what if he fails?

Reshaping a winning model
map by Marie Joveneau
The next hop forward
by Stefania Tucci

Despite China’s reticence on discussing internal issues in an open forum, the Party’s top bureaucrats are examining with unusual candidness how to maintain stability and manage the risks and tasks of the unstoppable modernization of the country.

Hate & love diplomacy
by Fabrizio Franciosi

Despite some important shared viewpoints in world affairs between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, there seems to be a dramatic distance from the proactive dynamic state capitalism embraced by Xi and the 20th century old economy endorsed by Trump.


Playing the trump card in the Forbidden City
by Umberto Vattani

The US President’s Asian visit to consolidate traditional alliances and foster new ones, has had controversial results and exposed discrepancies between US foreign policy and trade interests. Yet despite this, Trump seems to have successfully wooed China.

China's odd colonial power
by Anna Bono

The rising superpower has filled the spaces left by the West and built up huge holdings in resource-rich African countries. But its local business partners despite preferring the Chinese model, don’t always live up to their share of the win-win bargain. 

European separatism

Singing the same old song
by Maurizio Stefanini

Catalonia’s separatist history is traced in the notes of an ancient song. Though efforts to form an independent Catalonia have been unsuccessful throughout the centuries, the desire to reaffirm it hasn’t dwindled. The latest attempt has divided the separatists, who are now preparing to go it alone at the upcoming elections.

Featured briefing

The prince of chaos
by Ugo Tramballi

Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is changing the power structure of Saudi Arabia, one of the most conservative countries in the world. His disruptive force  could backfire but perhaps it is the only way to reengineer a country famously avert to change.

Change is in the heir
map by Marie Joveneau
A risky power play
by Eugenio D'Auria

Mohamed bin Salman seems to be deliberately dismantling the traditional paternalistic governance system in Saudi Arabia. Part wealthy tycoon and part populist insurgent he wants to modernize and restructure his country. Can he achieve this and still maintain cohesion within the royal family?

The Orientalist

Monsieur Le Rais
by Ugo Tramballi

With a mix of soft power and diplomatic savoir-faire Macron has outclassed important players in the Middle East. Eroding the roles of Russia and the US he has managed to place France in the pilot seat for future negotiations. 

Latin America

The mighty fall of Bolivarian Socialism
by Giorgio Malfatti di Monte Tretto

Venezuela was the last outpost of the Socialist model in Latin America. A utopic dream carried on by Hugo Chavez at the cost of the future of his country, now gripped in a dangerous escalation of violence, poverty and crime that risks tearing the country apart, transforming it into a Latin American Somalia.

Crying for Latin America
by Enrico Verga

Ancient setbacks coupled with lack of development, poor planning and corruption have taken their toll on Latin America. Resource rich countries have plundered their wealth, wasted foreign investment and left their people helpless and disillusioned. 


Too much hot air
by Corrado Clini

Despite efforts to curb climatic change over the last 20 years the principal outcome seems to have been establishing an ineffective and costly bureaucratic machine.

The right to a clean world
by Federica Porcellana

The protection of nature is not simply an obligation of the State. If everyone has a right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment, then there should also be a personal duty to observe regarding its use. This is the only way to guarantee its integrity to future generations.


The risks of untrained decision-makers
by Gianluca Comin

Communication has become all important. New technologies have an essential impact on developing popularity for politicians yet what is lacking is an approach to effectively train the new elite  for their authoritative role as leaders.

Warming bloopers

Starved by climate adversity
by Carlo Clini

The rise of climatic turbolence coupled with extreme weather events and droughts is deepening the problems that traditional agriculture has to solve. Exacerbating a food crisis which threatens security in vast areas of the world and particularly in Africa.