Washington, Nov.30 : Leading American experts have warned and cautioned the incoming Obama administration to view and treat Russia as a strategic challenge, rather than as a nation that was once friendly enough to help in the global war on terror.
Given the recent sabre rattling between the two countries courtesy the conflict with Georgia, former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said: "The Obama administration is going to have to do something that the Bush administration avoided doing for years - and that is treating Russia as a first-class strategic challenge."
He believes that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev aggressive warning to the United States days after Obama won his election is a pointer to what Washington can expect from Moscow in the immediate future.
Russia has already warned that it will move its nuclear weapons to the western enclave of Kaliningrad as a counter to the planned NATO anti-missile shield. On Tuesday, the Russian Navy began joint exercises near Caracas with Venezuela.
Leading Democratic experts say that the West will see Russia as a hostile enemy that is out to curtail the freedom of its former satellites.
Obama has said that he would aim to achieve a working arrangement with Russia on common concerns, but the realists that will surround him in an advisory capacity will not hesitate to highlight the dangers posed by the Russian leadership.
According to Politico, Obama's Russia team is likely to be hostile to Moscow's autocratic adventurism. It includes Mark Brzezinski, a Clinton National Security Council official, who has warned for years that there's no silver lining to Putin's authoritarian cloud.
The Russians were almost alone among nations in greeting Obama with official hostility.