Unfortunately, over the last two years, some have fueled a hysteria that has created such a paralysis regarding Russia that regular meetings and communications have ceased, and one can be accused of “collusion” merely for agreeing to a routine meeting with elected Russian officials who might be visiting Capitol Hill.

The hostile climate created by Russophobes has resulted in a vacuum in cultural, educational and even legislative exchanges, while elected officials from both Washington and Moscow are now on so-called “ban lists.” Nothing will be achieved through each country shutting the door to the other.

We must find a way to keep our historic allies, while realizing that threatening Russia through NATO expansion is not the answer. As Georgetown Professor Charles Kupchan stated, “From Moscow’s perspective, NATO has ignored [Russia’s] vociferous objections and expanded … bringing the world’s most formidable military alliance up to Russia’s borders. … Moscow perceives a threat … helping fuel the confrontational turn in the Kremlin’s foreign policy and renewed rivalry with the West.”