Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Threat of Transnational Crime

In 2001, Osama bin Laden filled the headlines of newspapers across the globe. His sin was being accused as the man behind the WTC tragedy in September 11, 2001 in New York. In late March 2008, Geert Wilders, a Dutch MP, received condemnation from Muslims across the globe for his irresponsible act of broadcasting a derogatory documentary film towards Islam on the internet. At the same time, three Malaysian nationals were arrested by the custom officials at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for trying to smuggle 9.3 kg of drug to Indonesia.

What is the similarity between the incidents above? It is globalization. Globalization has permitted the movement of people across borders without any hurdles and transnational movement is an undeniable phenomenon at this age.

The term transnationalism was introduced for the first time in the 20th century by Randolph Bourne to describe a new way of thinking on the relationships between cultures. It is a social movement that grows due to interconnectivity between men across the globe and due to the depleting borders among nations.

According to Thomas L Friedman, globalization as the main motor behind transnationalism is a new system in the 21st century which focuses on integration and the abolition of borders between states. Globalization also advocates openness in which it allows the development and the strengthening of civil society which is important in the deepening process of democratic principles. The current democratic process in Indonesia is the resultant of this phenomenon. At the same time, globalization eases the process of transfer of strategic technology to assist the development process in a country.

Apart from the implementation of free market policy, the demolition of Berlin wall that symbolized division of the world and the emergence of internet are key factors that influence the birth of globalization. Friedman says that globalization has three balancing platforms: (1) the traditional balance that defines the relations between nation states; (2) the balance between the global market and the states; (3) the balance between individuals and the nation states.

If the first platform focuses on the role of states, the second platform puts the market as the decision making institution on important happenings in the world. Super power and supermarket are the two dominating power at this period. Meanwhile, the third platform emerged when the borders between states have depleted and the world is fully interconnected by a single global network thus allowing individuals to come on to the world stage at will. The super-empowered individuals are the dominating force at this stage of globalization and their impacts might either be useful or harmful to the global community. And the phenomena described in the beginning of this article represent the capability of these super-empowered individuals.

By using the triple "T" revolution – telecommunication, transportation and technology – these super-empowered individuals are capable of conducting their actions at ease and the resultant of their actions can instantly be felt and known by the rest of the population in this globe. Globalization has given opportunities to these individuals to conduct transnational crimes as well and this phenomenon is undeniably increasing and unavoidable. Indonesia must be prepared to face this new threat.

Containing Transnational Crimes

For Indonesia, the threat of transnational crimes is very much real than ever before. As the biggest archipelagic country in the world, Indonesia needs to build a comprehensive national security system to contain the threats in its various forms, be it the illegal logging, illegal fishing, terrorism, human trafficking, smuggling of drugs as well as other forms of transnational crimes. International cooperation is importantly needed to fight this dreadful menace.

One of the strategies is by adopting the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime established in November 2000. The Convention allows the signatory countries to avail international support and cooperation in setting up a series of measures against transnational organized crime. These include the creation of domestic criminal offences to combat the problem, and the adoption of new, sweeping frameworks for mutual legal assistance, extradition, law-enforcement cooperation and technical assistance and training. Thus it allows the successful containment of the threats of transnational crimes.

Besides, the Indonesian government must meticulously studies the root cause of this threat in Indonesia. By providing facilities and the opening of job market in Indonesia, the government will, I believe, be successful in preventing the locals from being tempted to be irresponsible super-empowered individuals. Transnational crime is a threat brought by globalization and Indonesia must be prepared to fight it at all cost.

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