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Transnational Crime is a National Security Threat

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¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Most law enforcement agencies and academic institutions use the term ‚Äútransnational crime‚ÄĚ to refer to offenses conducted crossing borders of one country to another. Further, it also covers not only international crimes but any illegal activity which requires by its very nature the passage of cross-country borders. On the other hand, national security is defined as a state or condition where our most cherished values and beliefs, our democratic way of life, our institutions of governance and our unity, welfare and well-being as a nation and people are permanently protected and continuously enhanced (De La Salle University, para. 1). Based on the meaning of the terms, transnational crime and national security, transnational crime possesses the qualifications of becoming a national security threat. Therefore, transnational crime is a national security threat.

Transnational organized crime involves the planning and execution of illicit business ventures by groups or networks of individuals working in more than one country (qtd. in National Institute of Justice para. 1). Human trafficking, smuggling of people, money laundering, cyber crime, white slavery, trafficking of material goods as drugs, endangered species, body parts, nuclear materials and weapons and some forms of non-domestic terrorism among others are some examples of transnational crimes committed around the world in today‚Äôs times. In fact, a number of transnational crimes are executed by organized crime syndicates. Along this line, in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the United Nations defined ‚ÄúOrganized criminal group‚ÄĚ as a structured¬†group of three or more persons, existing for a period of time and acting in concert with the aim of committing one or more serious crimes or offences established in accordance with this Convention, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit (para. 1).

            National security depends greatly on public administration but ultimately, it can be subdivided into two categories: internal and external national security respectively. Internal national security generally covers protection of a nation’s legal codes and making it sure that such enactments are not violated in any form. On the other hand, external national security includes safety measures taken by democratic nations. Their impositions make sure that territorial and environmental protection is tackled. Both classifications of national security are bound to provide defense and resistance against parasitical motives coming from the outside while maintaining sovereignty as well.

To further discuss national security, it is composed of seven (7) fundamental elements which any nation must possess namely socio-political stability, territorial integrity, economic solidarity and strength, ecological balance, cultural cohesiveness, moral-spiritual consensus and external peace. Socio-political stability refers to the permanence of a country’s peace and development undertakings with people who are united as one regardless of race, socio-economic status and political affiliation. Territorial integrity implies that a nation’s government has the power to control its jurisdiction from other countries which desire to exploit its natural and man-made resources. The potency of the people to pursue their economic interests to maintain livelihood and survival can be summed up as economic solidarity and strength. Ecological balance means maintaining and preserving the environment in the midst of technological advancement and population expansion. Cultural cohesiveness determines the people’s oneness in terms of their beliefs, practices and traditions in appreciation of their time-old heritage. Moral-spiritual consensus means the unanimity of the people towards achieving national goals relative to their developmental mission and vision. Finally, external peace indicates that a nation has collaborative and cooperative relations with other states in which it can freely exercise its independence from colonial control.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† National security has changed its course since the tumbling of America‚Äôs civil liberty during the 9/11 attacks under the Bush administration. Since then, much has been imposed regarding concerns on defending against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as depicted in the ‚ÄúWar on Iraq‚ÄĚ battlecry. Afghanistan suffered from America‚Äôs rage and now, Iran is facing the same challenge. The United States‚Äô foreign policies took a stricter image while implementing its programs against countries which are thought to possess and proliferate WMD including chemical and biological means for waging war in the 21st century. This was highlighted during the anthrax scare of 2001 in the United States where public health was among the societal issues newly considered aside from the stereotypical military contention of national security. With the election of Barack Obama, it is expected that new and altered strategies be conducted where national security is concerned encompassing diplomacy, international cooperation, and productive commitment to economic agreements, clandestine action, physical security improvement, and military power.

Transnational crimes are basically evil in nature and they must be prevented or stopped. The organized crime organizations work their way out to succeed using illegal means. These criminal groups use systematic violence and corruption to achieve their goals (qtd. in National Institute of Justice para. 1). The strategies of inflicting violence, bribery and terror pose major threats to the peace and order stabilities especially among underdeveloped countries which are struggling to cope with global competition. Further, these series of¬†criminal acts result in deteriorating economies, unstable financial institutions and democratic failure for the selfish end of incurring huge profits from these transactions. With the recent trends in technological advancement in the presence of the Internet, cellular phones and other electronic gadgets and devices, conducting unlawful transactions and information transfer and dissemination through global networks can be easily accomplished without actually travelling from one place to another. ‚ÄúTransnational criminal rings are becoming more and more powerful and universal, and their mobility is growing. The means and resources of any state are not enough to seriously harm them‚ÄĚ (qtd. in National Institute of Justice para. 3). Indeed, the existence of these transnational criminals poses imminent danger among states worldwide since they are willing to meet their objectives by any means, desperate or not, as long as they will benefit.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Taking on the assertion whether or not transnational crime is a national security threat. Merriam-Webster defines threat as ‚Äúan expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage.‚ÄĚ Based on the connotations on transnational crime explained earlier, transnational crime indeed poses a threat to national security since the crimes described under its coverage manifest an evil nature, with the high probability of causing injury in the process of its execution and may cause material and non-material damage to national security of a country. Like any other concerns for protecting one‚Äôs nation, the impending danger that transnational crimes may result in call for strict implementation of laws, rules and regulations while at the same time conserving territorial jurisdiction and influence which are the major interests on the issue of national security measures. Nevertheless, transnational crimes can be considered ‚Äúterrorism‚ÄĚ in a certain manner since the former also entails coercion and the use of violent and manipulative means to meet an end produce which is selfish, only serving the interests of the organized criminal group at the expense of others.

            Transnational crimes are threats to national security. As enumerated earlier, transnational crimes include human trafficking, smuggling of people, money laundering, cyber crime, white slavery, trafficking of material goods as drugs, endangered species, body parts, nuclear materials and weapons and some forms of non-domestic terrorism among others. With the proliferation of these kinds of offenses, national security is jeopardized because they weaken the socio-economic status and territorial integrity of a nation. Financial institutions will be deprived of furthering their monetary transactions since illegal dealings interfere with the normal flow of income of one country and another. The point here is national security is not merely military security but also covers the social and economic security of its constituents. If people are maltreated through sex slavery and drug abuse, this will render a nation defenseless because the strength of a state also depends on the stability of its citizens.

Moreover, even if progress is facilitated through technological advancement, such innovation will defeat its purpose if the cyber-world will be used as access for unlawful behavior as cyber sex and the like for monetary gains. Further, development will not be sustainable if amidst industrial and manufacturing growth, the natural environment — both flora and fauna — is destroyed along the course of action. And finally, proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons can increase the probability of destruction rather than enhancing power. All these endeavors have been proven as threats to national security and the immediate society.

In conclusion, transnational crimes being more discrete than international terrorism presents a dangerous threat to national security since they are conducted through networking by organized criminal organizations worldwide. Like any other crime, the transgressors must face the same intensity of penalty because they affect the society in destructive way.

Works Cited

De La Salle University. n.d. ‚ÄúThreat to National Security.‚ÄĚ 28 December 2008 <http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/offices/sps/rotc/pdf/ms1/threat-NatlSecurity.pdf>

McAlary, David. 18 September 2003. ‚ÄúBioterrorism Poses New Threat to US National Security.‚ÄĚ 28 December 2008 <http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/Bioter/bioterrorismnewthreat.html>

National Institute of Justice. 15 November 2007. ‚ÄúTransnational Organized Crime.‚ÄĚ 28 December 2008 < http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/transnational-organized-crime/welcome.htm>

Perl, Raphael. 21 December 2004. ‚ÄúTerrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends.‚ÄĚ 28 December 2008 < http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/IB10119.pdf>

“threat.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Merriam-Webster Online. 28 December 2008 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/threat>

United Nations. 2000. “United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. 28 December 2008 <http://www.uncjin.org/Documents/Conventions/dcatoc/final_documents_2/convention_eng.pdf>

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