Fourth Amendment

It is a priority of the United States to

[h]elp partner countries strengthen governance and transparency, break the corruptive power of transnational criminal networks, and sever state–crime alliances. The United States needs willing, reliable and capable partners to combat the corruption and instability generated by TOC  [Transnational Organized Crime] and related threats to governance. We will help international partners develop the sustainable capacities necessary to defeat transnational threats; strengthen legitimate and effective public safety, security, and justice institutions; and promote universal values. We will also seek to sever the powerful strategic alliances that form between TOC and states, including those between TOC networks and foreign intelligence services.

This official statement of the U.S. government’s strategy toward transnational organized crime recognizes a developing phenomenon: the maturation of criminal networks that increasingly know no boundaries. From narcotics trafficking to money laundering to human smuggling and cybercrime, increasingly sophisticated criminal organizations transcend national frontiers effortlessly, destabilize business and state infrastructures, and leave countless victims in their wake. If nation–states are to keep pace with criminal networks, they must transcend their own frontiers. The more individual nations—particularly smaller countries in the immediate path of these criminal networks—are boxed in by fixed notions of sovereignty, the more they stand to lose. Sophisticated criminals do not hesitate to cross boundaries, build transborder alliances, or nimbly change their patterns in response to law enforcement efforts. If nations cannot keep up, the criminal networks will (and do) run circles around them.