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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that Russia is playing a "very dangerous game" with the U.S. and its allies and warned that NATO would not allow Moscow to win in Georgia, destabilize Europe or draw a new Iron Curtain through it.
On her way to an emergency NATO foreign ministers meeting on the crisis, Rice said the alliance would punish Russia for its invasion of the Georgia and deny its ambitions by rebuilding and fully backing Georgia and other Eastern European democracies.

"We have to deny Russian strategic objectives, which are clearly to undermine Georgia's democracy, to use its military capability to damage and in some cases destroy Georgian infrastructure and to try and weaken the Georgian state," she said.

"We are determined to deny them their strategic objective," Rice told reporters aboard her plane, adding that any attempt to recreate the Cold War by drawing a "new line" through Europe and intimidating former Soviet republics and ex-satellite states into submission would fail.

"We are not going to allow Russia to draw a new line at those states that are not yet integrated into the trans-Atlantic structures," she said, referring to Georgia and Ukraine, which have not yet joined NATO or the European Union but would like to.

Rice could not say what NATO would eventually decide to do to make its position clear but said the alliance would speak with one voice "to clearly indicate that we are not accepting a new line."

At the same time, she said that by flexing its military muscle in Georgia as well as elsewhere, including the resumption of Cold War-era strategic bomber patrols off the coast of Alaska, Russia was engaged in high-stakes brinksmanship that could backfire.

This "is a very dangerous game and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider," Rice said of the flights that began again with frequency about six months ago. "This is not something that is just cost-free. Nobody needs Russian strategic aviation along America's coast."

At Tuesday's meeting, the NATO ministers will consider a range of upcoming activities planned with Russia—from military exercises to ministerial meetings—and decide case-by-case at the meeting Tuesday whether to go ahead or cancel each.

They will also discuss support for a planned international monitoring mission in the region and a package of support to help Georgia rebuild infrastructure damaged in its devastating defeat at the hands of the Russian armed forces.

And, she suggested that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who signed an E.U.-backed cease-fire brokered by the French, may be unable to exert power behind the scenes against his powerful predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, or the Russian military.

She said she thought the French would be seeking "an explanation from the Russians for why the Russian president either won't or can't keep his word."

"It didn't take that long for the Russian forces to get in and it really shouldn't take that long for them to get out," Rice said.

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