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Challenges that limit State power and/or sovereignty.

Challenges that limit State power and/or sovereignty.

The challenges of globalization, transnational movements, ethnonational movements, transnational crime, and failed states have been argued to limit state power and/or sovereignty. Choose two of these potential challenges and explain how they are changing the international system and the notion of sovereignty. 

Offense-Terror-Insurgency Nexus. Terrorists and insurgents increasingly are turning to TOC to gener­ate funding and acquire logistical support to carry out their violent acts. The Department of Justice reports that 29 of the 63 organizations on its FY 2010 Consolidated Priority Organization Targets list, which includes the most significant international drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) threatening the United States, were associated with terrorist groups. Involvement in the drug trade by the Taliban and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is critical to the ability of these groups to fund terrorist activity. We are concerned about Hizballah’s drug and criminal activities, as well as indications of links between al-Qa`ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb and the drug trade. Further, the terrorist organization al-Shabaab has engaged in criminal activities such as kidnapping for ransom and extortion, and may derive limited fees from extortion or protection of pirates to generate funding for its operations. While the crime-terror nexus is still mostly opportunistic, this nexus is critical nonetheless, especially if it were to involve the successful criminal transfer of WMD material to terrorists or their penetration of human smuggling networks as a means for terrorists to enter the United States.

Increase of Medicine Trafficking. Despite demonstrable counterdrug successes in recent years, particu­larly against the cocaine trade, illicit drugs remain a serious threat to the health, safety, security, and financial well-being of Americans. The demand for illicit drugs, both in the United States and abroad, fuels the power, impunity, and violence of criminal organizations around the globe. Mexican DTOs are escalating their violence to consolidate their market share within the Western Hemisphere, protect their operations in Mexico, and expand their reach into the United States. In West Africa, Latin American cartels are exploiting local criminal organizations to move cocaine to Western Europe and the Middle East. There have also been instances of Afghan DTOs operating with those in West Africa to smuggle heroin to Europe and the United States. Many of the well-established organized criminal groups that had not been involved in drug trafficking—including those in Russia, China, Italy, and the Balkans—are now establishing ties to drug producers to develop their own distribution networks and markets. The expansion of drug trafficking is often accompanied by dramatic increases in local crime and corruption, as the United Nations has detected in regions such as West Africa and Central America.

Human Smuggling. Human smuggling is the facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation, or illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border, in violation of one or more coun­tries’ laws, either clandestinely or through deception, whether with the use of fraudulent documents or through the evasion of legitimate border controls. It is a criminal commercial transaction between willing parties who go their separate ways once they have procured illegal entry into a country. The vast majority of people who are assisted in illegally entering the United States and other countries are smuggled, rather than trafficked. International human smuggling networks are linked to other trans­national crimes including drug trafficking and the corruption of government officials. They can move criminals, fugitives, terrorists, and trafficking victims, as well as economic migrants. They undermine the sovereignty of nations and often endanger the lives of those being smuggled. In its 2010 report The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that the smuggling of persons from Latin America to the United States generated approximately $6.6 billion annually in illicit proceeds for human smuggling networks.

Trafficking in Folks. Trafficking in Persons (TIP), or human trafficking, refers to activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service, such as involuntary servitude, slavery, debt bondage, and forced labor. TIP specifically targets the trafficked person as an object of criminal exploitation—often for labor exploitation or sexual exploitation purposes—and trafficking victims are frequently physically and emotionally abused. Although TIP is generally thought of as an international crime that involves the crossing of borders, TIP victims can also be trafficked within their own countries. Traffickers can move victims between locations within the same country and often sell them to other trafficking organizations.

Weaponry Trafficking. Criminal networks and illicit arms dealers also play important roles in the black markets from which terrorists and drug traffickers procure some of their weapons. As detailed in the 2010 UNODC report The Globalization of Crime, “The value of the documented global authorized trade in firearms has been estimated at approximately $1.58 billion in 2006, with unrecorded but licit transac­tions making up another $100 million or so. The most commonly cited estimate for the size of the illicit market is 10% – 20% of the licit market.” According to the head of UNODC, these “illicit arms fuel the violence that undermines security, development and justice” worldwide. U.S. Federal law enforcement agencies have intercepted large numbers of weapons or related items being smuggled to China, Russia, Mexico, the Philippines, Somalia, Turkmenistan, and Yemen in the last year alone.

Cerebral Home Thievery. TOC networks are engaged in the theft of critical U.S. intellectual property, including through intrusions into corporate and proprietary computer networks. Theft of intellectual property ranges from movies, music, and video games to imitations of popular and trusted brand names, to proprietary designs of high-tech devices and manufacturing processes. This intellectual property theft causes significant business losses, erodes U.S. competitiveness in the world marketplace, and in many cases threatens public health and safety. Between FY 2003 and FY 2010, the yearly domestic value of customs seizures at U.S. port and mail facilities related to intellectual property right (IPR) violations leaped from $94 million to $188 million. Products originating in China accounted for 66% of these IPR seizures in FY 2010.

Cybercrime. TOC networks are increasingly linked to cybercrime, which fees consumers millions of money each year, threatens vulnerable corporate and federal government personal computer sites, and under­mines globally self confidence inside the global financial program. Through cybercrime, transnational criminal organizations pose a significant threat to financial and trust systems—banking, stock markets, e-currency, and value and credit card services—on which the world economy depends. For example, some estimates indicate that online frauds perpetrated by Central European cybercrime networks have defrauded U.S. citizens or entities of approximately $1 billion in a single year. According to the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates cybercrimes through its 31 Electronic Crimes Task Forces, financial crimes facilitated by anonymous online criminal fora result in billions of dollars in losses to the Nation’s financial infrastructure. The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), functions as a domestic focal point for 18 federal departments or agencies to coordinate, integrate, and share information related to cyber threat investigations, as well as make the Internet safer by pursuing terrorists, spies, and criminals who seek to exploit U.S. systems. Pervasive criminal activity in cyberspace not only directly affects its victims, but can imperil citizens’ and businesses’ faith in these digital systems, which are critical to our society and economy. Computers and the Internet play a role in most transnational crimes today, either as the target or the weapon used in the crime. The use of the Internet, personal computers, and mobile devices all create a trail of digital evidence. Often the proper investigation of this evidence trail requires highly trained personnel. Crimes can occur more quickly, but investigations proceed more slowly due to the critical shortage of investigators with the knowledge and expertise to analyze ever increasing amounts of potential digital evidence.