Based upon a cursory examination, it appears paradoxical that west European countries should choose to revitalise the WEU in the 1980s. This was a period in which tensions between east and west increased to the extent of precipitating a 'Second Cold War'. 1 The paradox would seem to lie in the west Europeans breathing new life into a moribund organisation when the Warsaw Pact threat was at its highest. By revitalising the WEU, the European states appeared to be investing faith in a small and unproven organisation whilst signalling a lack of confidence in the Atlantic Alliance. Traditional notions of alliance theory would suggest that the Europeans should have remained wedded to the existing NATO structure, under American leadership, in such a time of external danger, rather than experimenting with alternatives. 2