As a younger woman, I stood beneath the arch on countless occasions at the height of the Cold War. It was a time when there were far fewer allied nations and as a Canadian teen I knew my closest allies were those I could reach through the arch to connect with. In 1984 the Americans were not just my neighbors, they were my family in every sense of the word. Suddenly, it's 28 years later. You find yourself in 2012 in the midst of the US election and you realize, with shock and awe that the gate is closing - not because of economics or war or terrorist threat or because a guard is standing at the border locking the gate in front of you - but in the name of blind adherence to ideology.
The Soviet Union once sought to intimidate, undermine, influence, subvert, exploit, deceive, penetrate, and dominate every country it had dealings with -- friendly or otherwise. It was paranoid and paralyzed by its dependence on the secret police. But today, the best course of action with Russia is to leave the damn country alone.