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Essay synopsis for ‘Terrorism and transnational crime are no longer significant security threats in the Asia-Pacific’.. Example

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2Terrorism and transnational crime—Essay Synopsis

Terrorism and transnational crime

Arguing that terrorism and transnational crime are no longer significant security threats in the Asia-Pacific is understatement. Terrorism and transnational crime is not a new challenge in Asia-Pacific. What we are currently having is in fact, a sophistication increase of serious threats to nation states and that require special handling. Transnational crime is nonmilitary threat that crosses Asia-Pacific borders and continues to threaten social and political integrity. With the introduction of technologies that enhance such threats, terrorism and transnational related crimes cannot be argued to be no longer significant security threats within such borders. This is the point of departure in this synopsis; I dispute the thesis statement with such supported by recent trends of terrorisms and transnational crime.

To contextualize this statement, terrorism and transnational crimes cannot be presented as less of a challenge when separatism and violent religious radicalism is still prominent in Southeast Asia. As Valencia (2005) posits, these regions have been having serious challenges with regard to religious radicalism that have threatened to disrupt economic and societal stability in the region. He adds that current perpetrators of these crimes are deeply embedded in communities across the region that the borders are expecting economic ‘destructions’ in a few years to come. To support such statement McFarlane (2008) reveals that up to 10 of Indonesians support Jihadist violence—a war that has been blamed on recent cases of terrorism in other Asia-Pacific borders such as Southeast Asia. Conversely, McFarlane (2008) also ranks narcotics, illegal migration, arms smuggling and terrorism as the highest key transnational challenges facing economic development in countries such as Philippines. This country has also highlighted what McFarlane (2008) argues to be narcotic trafficking with one popular drug known as methamphetamines(shabu in the Philippines) that further makes terrorism to be on the rise. To conceptualise what McFarlane is arguing about, I still differ sharply with the thesis statement with regard to the case of Philippines when terrorist attacks that were witnessed in Bali and southern Thailand are cases studies that cannot support the thesis statement.

Conversely, even in places where there have been low cases of extremist violence, cases of transnational crimes and acts of terrorism cannot be separated. For example, in southern China there has been a range of criminal organisations that have been ranging from traditional smugglers to smaller ad hoc operators (Gilson et al. 2003). Though research by Gilson et al. 2003 has concentrated in southern China, recent trends has shown complains from Indian government about its porous land border that makes it easy for Chinese infiltration, trafficking, and smuggling (Elliot 2010). As a matter of fact, such trend was blamed on the militant terrorism in the Kashmir, Punjab and North Eastern States. Therefore transnational organized crimes cannot be argued to be less of threat when statistics represented by Elliot (2010) shows that there is significant and growing economic threat to national and international security with serious implications for public health, public safety, economic stability and democratic institutions across the Asia-Pacific.

In such connectedness, Anwar (1998) adds that developing economies and countries with unstable rule of law within Asia-Pacific have been specifically susceptible to terrorism and penetration. The only point of agreement with regard to the thesis statement is that developed economies such as China have enhanced technologies for dealing with the crimes and terrorism related activities but still face challenges when one strikes. It is for this reason that Anwar (1998) adds that even developed countries have been weakened by cases of terrorism and transnational crimes.

Terrorism and Transnational crimes have also been a major threat to South Pacific. As a matter of fact, the trend is mirroring many of the problems that have been found in other parts of Asia. Nesadurai (2010) is specific with such cases and postulating that situations in Papua New Guinea and Marshall Island as far as human smuggling are concerned cannot be argued to be less of security concerns in these regions. In addition to this, Australian government is concerned with the entirety of spectrum of transnational crime that also touches on money laundering and white collar crimes. Still on Australia, Nesadurai (2010) also provides latest trends of terrorism related instances that threaten to destabilize its economy. In 2013, for instance, there was a report on Al-Qaeda group that was enticing Australians to join conflict in Syria.

In 2012, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) had a three day conference to deliberate on transnational crime and terrorism both from subject-matter perspective and regional perspectives (Alan 2012). In the conference, it was found that issues such as environmental degradation and small arms trafficking was serious challenges to the government and posed serious threat to regional cohesion. It is due to these concerns that affected countries within Asia-Pacific borders are calling for ratifications in the Kyoto Protocol so as to limit the emission of greenhouse gases.

With regard to Northeast Asia, Alan (2003) reported how countries such as Japan and Russia recognize terrorism and transnational crimes as serious threats to development. According to Alan Japanese government even admits that its Japan Self-Defense Force is involved in countering these threats since government is worried that such infiltration might compromise internal security environment. This point has connectedness with what has been described in the case of Sri Lanka where government has prioritized on transnational security concerns such as terrorism. A particular case is the northern-based Tamil Tigers (LTE) which has been described by government representatives as ‘cancerous movement’ (p. 37). In fact, the terrorist group has internationalized its crimes to include Scandinavia. The advent of synthetic drugs in forms of methamphetamines within these borders cannot make such crimes less of significant security threats either. Levy (2000) estimates that one-half of drugs take place in Asia with China taking 50% of the world production and Myanmar the largest producer (44%) of methamphetamines. This is not to mention Bangkok that has emerged as a leading global centre with regard to document forgery. In addition, Renwick (2004) brings two key issues. First, he explains that passport forgery of member countries of European Union that comes with fraudulent visa stamps that even attest to fictitious travel history has become a big worry to the government as it threaten tourism. Secondly, he is worried about the rate at which cyber related crimes are committed with the trend not threatening the already sensitive government and corporate computer networks thus undermining the confidence in its financial systems.


Alan Dupont, East Asia Imperilled: Transnational Challenges to Security, Cambridge,

Cambridge University Press, 2012

Alan Dupont, ‘Transnational crime, drugs and security in East Asia’, Asian Survey, vol.

39, no. 3, 2003, pp. 433-55.

Anwar, Dewi Fortuna, ‘Human security: an intractable problem in Asia’, in Alagappa,

M. (ed.), Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998 pp. 536-567.

Elliot, Lorraine, ‘ASEAN and environmental security cooperation: norms, interests and

identity’, The Pacific Review, vol. 16, no. 1, 2010, pp. 29-52.

Gilson, Julie. and Purvis, Philippa., ‘Japan’s pursuit of human security: humanitarian agenda or

political pragmatism?’ Japan Forum, vol. 15, no. 3, 2003, pp. 192-207.

Levy, M., ‘Is the environment a national security issue?’, International Security, vol. 20,

2000,pp. 35-62.

McFarlane, John. ‘Transnational Crime and Asia-Pacific Security’, in Sheldon W. Simon

(ed.)The Many Faces of Asian Security, New York, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers,

2008, pp. 197-230.

Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (ed.) Globalisation and Economic Security in East Asia: Governance and

Institutions, London, Routledge, 2010.

Renwick, Neil, Northeast Asian Critical Security: Exploring Democratic Freedoms

And Social Justice, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Valencia, Mark J., The Proliferation Security Initiative: Making Waves in Asia, London,

Routledge/IISS, 2005.