The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-4/W3
13 Nov 2013
 | 13 Nov 2013

Non-Traditional Security Threats in the Border Areas: Terrorism, Piracy, Environmental Degradation in Southeast Asian Maritime Domain

E. L. Dabova

Keywords: Non-traditional security, Southeast Asia, Maritime domain, Bordering areas, International law, Regional cooperation

Abstract. In addition to facilitating peaceful trade and economic development, sovereign territory, territorial waters and international waters are being used by various criminal groups that pose threats to governments, businesses and civilian population in Southeast Asia. Nonstate criminal maritime activities were not receiving appropriate attention as they were overshadowed by traditional military security challenges. Yet more and more frequently, the non-traditional actors challenge lines of communication, jeopardize access to strategic resources, complicate traditional defence tasks, and harm the environment. Understanding the nature of non-traditional threats, and the ways to combat them, requires international legal, historical and political science analysis within a united problem-oriented approach. A fair critique to pure interest, power and knowledge -based theories of regime formation was developed by E.K. Leonard’s1, who explained the evolution of the international system from the global governance perspective. The present study is based on the premise that pure nation-state approaches are incapable of providing a theoretical ground for addressing the growing influence of international criminal networks in South East Asia. From an international relations theory perspective, the author of this study agrees with D.Snidal2 that the hegemonic stability theory has "limits" and is insufficient in describing modern challenges to sustainable international security regime, including non-traditional threats, where collective action is more efficient from an interest and capability standpoint. At the same time the author of this study does not share the viewpoint on "marginalization"3 of international law in current international order due to its fragmentation and regionalization4 and "global power shifts"5 . The United Nations, as a global institution at the top of the vertical hierarchy of international legal order, and the EU as an example of "self-contained" regime along with other subsystems like South East Asia may have different approaches to global governance, international constitutional order, or particular cases such as the measure of infringement of human rights when targeting individuals suspected of terrorist links. Yet international law remains the key part of the Asian and global security regime. The hypothesis of this study is that the "void of governance" regime in territorial and international waters provides lucrative environment for developing terrorism, piracy, environmental degradation, and other criminal activities that pose untraditional threats to the regional security. This "void of governance" regime can be caused by either, or both, de jure or de facto insufficient control over particular marine territories.