In May 2004, two months after the March 11th attack, I had the idea to have a global summit on March 11th, 2005 in Madrid. Little did I know that the summit would actually happen and be a major success. When Kofi Annan chose our conference to announce the United Nations’ strategy against terrorism it became apparent to me that a lot of coordinated work, especially between Europe and the United States, was needed in this matter. Subsequently, quite a bit of it happened at the conference sponsored by Club de Madrid and my foundation, the Safe Democracy Foundation. Now in mid 2005, a few months past the summit, I wonder if we should do a follow up conference next year. I hesitate… and not only because of the logistical nightmare that is involved in organizing summits like this. March 11th 2005 was my first summit and it was not easy for my foundation and Club de Madrid to organize. The main reason for my hesitation is that I wonder if terrorism will continue to be such an important phenomenon for years to come as many people may think. I happen to err on the side of optimism. I do, however, think that the issue of nuclear terrorism and this subject alone, may deserve a conference.
The attacks of 9/11 reminded us of humans’ seemingly inexhaustible imagination and capacity to kill innocent lives. What was unthinkable one day, became reality the next. Today, in the back of everyone’s mind lies the irrepressible fear that one day, terrorists will orchestrate an attack that would make 9/11 look like a Saturday night brawl. What would happen if Al Qaeda dropped a nuclear warhead on Chicago or New York City and kill a million people? How would the US retaliate?