Smallpox plagued humanity for thousands of years. In the 18th century, smallpox killed one out of every ten children in France and Sweden. Over the 20th century, the virus caused between 300 and 500 million deaths worldwide. No effective treatment was ever developed.
Until polio is eradicated everywhere, it remains a concern for all countries. The spread of polio is just one way that the instability of failing states presents risks to the rest of the world. This raises a troubling question: In a world of failing states, is the goal of eradicating polio, once so close at hand, now beyond our reach?