Alliance networks, conflicts, military decision making, treaties, border issues. Analyzing policies that shape our international world.
The objective of this body of research was to give an overview of foreign relations through the concept of criminal activity and the degradation of relations between international superpowers. We will examine these foreign relations topics through the lens of American corporations and drug smuggling, cyberterrorism, money laundering, as well as relations between the United States and China. These issues stand as global dilemmas that collectively affect millions of people.
American Corporations and Drug Smuggling
It is largely pharmaceutical companies that have faced public-criticism and litigation over the opioid crisis that has heavily impacted America. However a company named Avantor, based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, sells a chemical known as acetic anhydride, a chemical which is one of the top targeted chemicals of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an agency of the United Nations which polices numerous substances and chemicals used for narcotics production. Acetic anhydride is a crucial ingredient in heroin, and it is being bought by cartels which produce heroin at an enormous scale, of which a significant portion is smuggled into the United States, and contributing to the opioid crisis.
Avantor had been taking advantage of legal loopholes by keeping production in Mexico, where regulation is much less tightly enforced. Between the costs of healthcare, criminal justice, lost productivity and addiction treatment programs, agencies at every level of government have combined to lose tens of billions of dollars trying to combat the crisis. The proposed course of action is the formation of a negotiation class lawsuit against Avantor corporation. The restitution will be calculated based on the total revenue Avantor had made from their operations within Mexico, as well as the cost that was placed on the financial effects of the opioid crisis.
Cyberterrorism and the threats through Cyberspace
Cyberspace has been one of the most revolutionized aspects of life throughout the past two decades. It has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. However, technology this advanced can be very dangerous. Especially when our own information is stored within cyberspace. It has made us very vulnerable and because of this, governments like the United States have developed various tactics to ensure our safety and security on the web. To summarize, in my blog posts, they stated how the United States used various intelligence agencies to carry out counter attacks against cyber terrorists. This includes debugging and placing bugs on viruses to track back the source’s location. This pinpoints the location of the culprit, which often makes it easier to catch them.
One of the main problems is that various governments use the web in order to infiltrate and investigate other countries. Examples of these include recent cyber attacks on the United States. In the 2016 presidential election, the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that the Russian government interfered in the election cybersecurity systems. This infiltration allowed Donald Trump to be elected into office. To prevent this from occurring again, the Elections Commission has been working with intelligence agencies. These agencies include the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Office of Intelligence. Regardless of the President, they have always made it a top priority to strengthen the intelligence, defense, and technology of the United States. They make it their top priority so that they can ensure the safety of the American people.
Money Laundering: Concealing Global Crime
Money Laundering is a crime that has been around for quite a while. Money Laundering is the act of taking illegally earned funds and converting it into legitimate or legal income. Money laundering is called what it is because that perfectly describes what takes place – illegal, or dirty, money is put through a cycle of financial transactions, or washed, so that it comes out the other end as legal, or clean, money. The source of illegally obtained funds is obscured through this process and the launderer is left with money that has then been made completely legitimate. It is an auxiliary crime that is always done in conjunction with another criminal offense. This is why offenders that are caught in money laundering schemes are usually charged with crime(s) that will stick better in court. These crimes are generally composed of either the source/root offense that is funding the money laundering operation or further offenses surrounding the operation. In this way money laundering acts as evidence to officials that a larger criminal operation exists.
Money Laundering is a difficult crime to police internationally due to legislative and financial differences found in individual countries and jurisdictions. However, thanks to concerted initiatives like the Vienna Convention, Palermo Convention, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) there has been a concentrated global effort to crack down on money laundering activities. It is likely impossible to completely eliminate money laundering on a global scale due to a lack of uniformity concerning individual nations. But the global policies currently surrounding money laundering are exponentially improved compared to lax restrictions surrounding the crime in the past.
The United States and China are among the world’s wealthiest, most advanced, and most powerful nations, yet American relations with the People’s Republic of China have been inconsistent at best. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has held different positions on how to view and handle China and her growing influence, from complete and utter cooperation to complete and utter ostracization. In addition to this inconsistency, a combination of questionable behavior on the part of the Chinese government and unfortunate rhetoric coming from the mouths of prominent U.S. politicians has led to a feeling of mutual mistrust between the two superpowers. The fact is that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has stood alone in a monopolar geopolitical atmosphere. With the rise of China, that is changing and our foreign policy must change with it if we wish to avoid a second “cold war” (or worse) with China.
Our policy toward China needs to be focused on working together on issues that affect both nations. The work must be honest, open, and mutually beneficial, so to build trust and establish some much needed consistency. Some potential areas of cooperation include removal of space debris from low-earth orbit, lowering carbon emissions, and treating the COVID-19 virus. While I will not deny that China may be the single greatest geopolitical rival to the United States today, it would be foolish and dangerous not to attempt to establish trust between our two nations. Without it, that rivalry could devolve into something far worse.