The subject of this analysis may seem rather specialized, but I will try to develop it in a way which leads back to some of the larger issues of Russian security in Europe and which, ideally, might also help to illuminate them from a new perspective. My personal qualifications for addressing these issues are slight, especially as I am not in any sense a Russia expert. But there is one thing I can claim which is unusual if not unique: namely that I have worked in a western integrated institution, West European Union (WEU), which has never experienced the slightest problem with Russia, or vice versa.2 The only frustrations in Russia-WED relations have arisen when one or both sides were not able to exploit the positive potential of the relationship as fully as they might have hoped. And this despite the fact that WEU's activity has been focused on the linkage between two fields, defence and European integration, which have both in themselves been the source of frequent contradictions in relations between Russia and the West. Should we conclude that the relative weakness of WEU as an organization, notably the fact that it has never carried out any significant military operations, has simply left nothing to argue with Russia about? Or, as I would prefer to imagine, is there something about the concept of European defence, the actual combining of the notions of defence and of European identity, that opens the way for a more positive Russian response and a more mutually profitable solution?