The intense media coverage devoted to the war on terrorism obscures five other similar wars that pit governments against agile, well-financed networks of dedicated individuals. These are the fights against the illegal international trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people, and money.
In one form or another, governments have been fighting these five wars for centuries. And losing them. Indeed, thanks to the changes spurred by globalization over the last decade, their losing streak has become even more pronounced. To be sure, nation-states have benefited from the information revolution, stronger political and economic linkages, and the shrinking importance of geographic distance. Unfortunately, criminal networks have benefited even more.
The Five Wars of Globalization