US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday the West was determined to prevent Russia winning a strategic victory from its attack on Georgia, Reuters reported.
She warned that Moscow was playing a dangerous game by using military force to assert power and influence.
Rice, traveling to a meeting of NATO and the North Atlantic Council, said Russia wanted to undermine Georgian democracy, weaken the Tbilisi government and damage the economy when it invaded its southern neighbor 10 days ago.
The conflict began after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili tried to reimpose control over the pro-Moscow breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russian forces overwhelmed the Georgian army in fierce fighting that officially ended with a ceasefire signed last week.
"We're determined to deny them their strategic objective," Rice told reporters on her plane to Brussels.
She said a main focus of the Brussels meetings would be ensuring Russian President Sergei Medvedev kept his promise to begin withdrawing troops from Georgia in line with the ceasefire accord negotiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
"I think the French will undoubtedly be seeking from the Russians an explanation for why the Russian president either won't or can't keep his word," she said.
Rice said Russia's action in Georgia was part of a recent pattern of military assertiveness by Moscow.
"I think everybody recognizes that this is not the first time that we've seen this problem," Rice said. "We've had Russian strategic aviation challenging even along borders with the United States, which I might note is a very dangerous game and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider."
Russian Tu95 Bear H long-range strategic bombers approached Alaska about six months ago, triggering a US response in which fighters were sent up to escort them until they turned back.
"The hope had been that Russia was going to build its foundation and relationships with Europe and the United States on the basis of Russian economic, political, cultural and other kinds of assets," Rice said.
"And reminding people that Bears can fly near Norway or near Alaska and that you can use military force against a small neighbor is not a particularly appealing message or image."
Rice said a main goal of the NATO meeting in Brussels was to deny Moscow's strategic objectives by taking steps to support Georgia's democracy and economy.
She said NATO also would reaffirm support for eastern European nations that are now members of the transatlantic alliance, send a message that it would not let Russia prevent neighbors like Georgia and Ukraine from seeking membership in the alliance and decide how to respond to the Russian actions.
"Frankly Russia can't have it both ways," she added. "It can't act in a way that it did during the Cold War when it was the Soviet Union and expect to be treated as a responsible partner."