The end of the cold war led to a new European order in which a new security agenda has emerged embracing issues wider than the old military perspectives. NATO has sought to respond to the new order by moving towards concepts of dialogue and cooperation with former opponents in the form of such programmes as Partnership for Peace. The countries of central and eastern Europe, however, have sought full NATO membership as a more concrete guarantee of future security. NATO enlargement became official NATO policy, justified by the idea of promoting stability in central and eastern Europe and as a reflection of NATO's new perception of itself within a post‐cold war security architecture. Russian opposition to NATO enlargement has been motivated by fears of NATO exploitation of Russian weakness, loss of strategic positions to NATO and exclusion from Europe. The Founding Act on Mutual Relations was proposed by NATO to overcome Russian concerns and create a new partnership with Russia. Debate has continued within Russia about whether this has actually strengthened Russia's position in its dealings with the West. Fears remain about a further round of NATO expansion into the former Soviet Union which, it is said, would put an end to any existing partnership. Russia is not only redefining its own security agenda in the post‐Soviet period but also defining its own broader identity and foreign‐policy interests. Western policy makers should not always simply assume that Russia will continue to support a security architecture that primarily accords with the West's agenda.