Transnational Organized Crime and International Security


November 1, 1997


Dr. Allan Castle





Transnational Organized Crime and International Security

In this essay, the author examines the strength of the claim that transnational organized crime is a security threat, in a meaningful sense of the term. The author reviews the claims that have been made regarding the status of transnational organized crime as a security threat, and in doing so suggest the characteristics which one might expect a priori of such a threat – that is, how do we know a security threat when we see one? In a second section, the author examines the notion of transnational organized crime both conceptually and empirically, in order to present a clearer picture of the phenomenon and to assess the different manners in which its existence and activities present a potential menace to security. Lastly, the author offers an evaluation of the degree to which the fears outlined in the first section are justified. The author concludes by suggesting that while the threat to the nation state posed by criminal groups has been overstated in general terms, particularly with respect to short-term existential threats, the threat is very real for poorly institutionalized, non-democratic states and ultimately for the leading democracies. The threat which presents itself is a security threat in terms of the future democratic development and political stability of newly-democratizing areas.


Transnational Organized Crime and International Security

View Document

Dr. Allan Castle

Senior Associate


Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates