Carlos Barria / REUTERS Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, July 2017. Regard Ankle RAPAGA women's Low Ankle Regard Boots in Black 2f342a

The Real Opportunity Behind the Media Spectacle

By Michael Kimmage Regard Ankle RAPAGA women's Low Ankle Regard Boots in Black 2f342a

MICHAEL KIMMAGE is Professor of History at the Catholic University of America and the author of The Decline of the West: An American Story. From 2014 to 2016, he served on the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. Koah RONNY women's Mid Boots in Black,

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet for a frenetically anticipated summit on July 16 in Helsinki. Their encounter—coming amid cascading revelations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, unnerving questions about Trump’s admiration for his Russian counterpart, and U.S.-Russian tensions around the globe—is certain to be a media spectacle. But as its location subtly implies, the real importance of the meeting may have little to do with the theatrics at the top. Unglamorous, largely unnoticed diplomatic processes could prove more consequential. In Helsinki in 1975, the United States, the Soviet Union, and various European powers devised a security architecture for Europe that was controversial at the time but ultimately crucial to the Cold War’s peaceful end. Without the Helsinki Accords, which fostered agreement on Europe’s borders and enshrined a nominal commitment to human rights in the Eastern bloc, the revolutions of 1989 may never have come and almost certainly would not have been as peaceful as they were. Marc Jacobs COLORADO women's Court Shoes in Black, Ash UNITED women's Sandals in Ravel LIMESTONE women's Sandals in Les Tropéziennes par M Belarbi GALACTIK women's Sandals in Maruti GIMLET women's Mid Boots in Black, Sanita SONJA OPEN women's Clogs (Shoes) in Black, Tamaris BERNI women's Mid Boots in Grey, Now BRONIA women's Sandals in Green, Mel MEL GOJI BERRY women's Mid Boots in Beige, Geox NEW CLUB women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Alberto Gozzi FAGGIO women's Mid Boots in Black, Kennel + Schmenger ELCO women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Atlantic Stars Vega Sneaker in black glitter suede women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Metamorf'Ose ZACLAPE women's Sandals in Black, Elle MARIGNY women's Mid Boots in Black, Vic COPENHAGEN women's High Boots in Kennel + Schmenger SOHO BRIGHT women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Beige, Bullboxer CHOVUNE women's High Boots in Black, Polo Ralph Lauren CORDELL men's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, Missoni XM029 women's Espadrilles / Casual Shoes in Dude FERRARA women's Shoes (Trainers) in Irregular Choice BOO! HISS! women's Court Shoes in Black, Luxat GINO women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Red, Padders Breaker Mens Leather Sandals men's Sandals in Brown, Arcus OPERON women's Sandals in Yellow, Lumberjack RIVER men's Mid Boots in Gioseppo 71906 women's Sandals in Black, Bunker SARA women's Mid Boots in Vic NAL women's Mid Boots in Pinosos 72281 women's Sandals in Black,The lessons of that previous U.S.-Russian encounter in Helsinki are worth remembering now. The agreement that resulted involved years of drab, painstaking diplomacy. It required agonizing compromise on both sides. It rested on work rather than optics. Under the shadow of low expectations, a difficult process preceded final success. The summit’s real importance, in other words, had little to do with momentary media spectacle. The same could be true of next week’s Trump-Putin meeting.

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