Gathered at “The City of Consultations” in Maastricht, Netherlands, where modern Europe and the European Union were formed, a diverse group of countries came together to consult on bringing forward missile defense globally. Maastricht, being in the center of the Benelux countries that sit between France and Germany, has had a steep history of bringing together European countries and uniting them on initiatives for the future. These past few days have been no different.
Sixteen countries participated in discussions led by the Secretary General of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, focusing on Global Missile Defense. Integration of missile defense systems housed by different nations brings a global solution that can be shared both in protection and cost that benefits all from the growing worldwide proliferation of ballistic missiles. Woven throughout these discussions are the missile defense initiatives with the Czech Republic and Poland. These have become integral in protecting territory and population centers throughout Europe and expanding the protection of NATO. Past consensuses from NATO on missile defense have focused on forward troop and regional area protection rather than that of population and country protection.
This international conference and consultation of Missile Defense has fundamentally shifted from nationalist views of missile defense to that of protection of a global community. It is of distinction and great merit that the Secretary de Hoop Scheffer leads and adheres to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty here in Maastricht, Netherlands:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
MDAA was honored to be in Maastricht to witness this historical change that will make our global community a safer place.