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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. / Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - Is Russia the enemy?

Not exactly, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that Russia's aggression in Ukraine may be only the beginning.

"Over the long term, we should expect Russia to test our alliance's purpose, stamina and commitment," Hagel said, referring to the NATO alliance in a major policy speech Friday.

The Obama administration has taken an increasingly bellicose stance toward Russia as it has struggled to respond to Russia's annexation of Crimea and what it says is covert support of pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

The administration is struggling with how to define Russia - as potential friend or foe - as it confronts the nation over its actions in Ukraine.

Hagel urged NATO countries to boost spending and shake off the myth that the end of the Cold War ushered in an "end of history."

"Russia's actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities," Hagel said in the speech at the Wilson Center.

Hagel harked back to NATO's founding after World War II, when it was formed as a bulwark against communist aggression.

"Russia's recent action in Ukraine has reminded NATO of its founding purpose," he said. "It has presented a clarifying moment for the trans-Atlantic alliance."

Follow @jimmichaels on Twitter.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Administration struggles to define the Russian threat

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