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. Betty Court London HARALD women's Court Betty Shoes in Pink 91c611

The Real Opportunity Behind the Media Spectacle

By Michael Kimmage Betty Court London HARALD women's Court Betty Shoes in Pink 91c611

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. Etro BALLERINE 3738 women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Pink,

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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. Spylovebuy Kadence women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Joya JOY W women's Shoes (Trainers) in Casual Attitude GIPIJE men's Casual Shoes in New Balance WL220 women's Shoes (Trainers) in adidas TUBULAR RADIAL men's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue, Hackett BAMBA DSIDE men's Boat Shoes in Blue, Betty London CATERINA women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Buffalo SUEDE women's High Boots in Chie Mihara AGADIR women's Sandals in Felmini AVEIRO women's Mid Boots in Dr Martens 1461 women's Casual Shoes in Black, Supra FLOW RUN women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Sam Edelman LORISSA women's Court Shoes in Chie Mihara HOT women's Sandals in Multicolour, French Connection TILLY women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Black, Onitsuka Tiger T-STROMER women's Shoes (Trainers) in Windsor Smith Oracle grey velvet sneaker women's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, New Rock CHAOTIC men's Mid Boots in El Naturalista EL VIAJERO GOKO men's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, Stonefly LICIA 23 women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Black, Swedish hasbeens JODHPUR women's Low Ankle Boots in Be Only DIVINE women's Wellington Boots in Black, Stéphane Kelian WHITNEY women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Brown, Pikolinos SITGES W7J women's Casual Shoes in Irregular Choice FIERCE PIGGY women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Philippe Model Paris Paris hunter green suede sneaker men's Shoes (Trainers) in Green, FitFlop GLITTERBALL TOE POST women's Flip flops / Sandals (Shoes) in Black, Diadora B ORIGINAL VLZ SUEDE men's Shoes (Trainers) in Melissa CLASSIC BROGUE AD. women's Casual Shoes in Pink, TBS MINGOS women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Grey,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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