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. Bikkembergs Shoes SPEED 406 men's Shoes Bikkembergs (Trainers) in Multicolour 917a57

The Real Opportunity Behind the Media Spectacle

By Michael Kimmage Bikkembergs Shoes SPEED 406 men's Shoes Bikkembergs (Trainers) in Multicolour 917a57

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. Sperry Top-Sider SEACOAST FISH CIRCLE women's Shoes (Trainers) 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. Metamorf'Ose VABTAL women's Low Ankle Boots in Airstep / A.S.98 SAINT women's Mid Boots in Superga 2750 FANTASY women's Shoes (Trainers) in Red, Lollipops YTON DERBY women's Casual Shoes in Beige, Geox D ANNYA MID women's Court Shoes in Black, John Galliano FIUR men's Shoes (Trainers) in White, Casual Attitude COUTIL women's Sandals in Blue, Stonefly PASEO II 1 women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Black, Joya MARY JANE W women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in multicolour, Interbios INTERMEDIATE ANATOMIC SANDALS 4420 women's Sandals in multicolour, Betty London FIAJI women's Court Shoes in Black, Faguo BIRCH men's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue, Fericelli HOUPINE women's Court Shoes in Black, Casual Attitude OTHIL women's High Boots in Brown, Converse Chuck Taylor All Star MULTI STAR PRINT OX women's Shoes (Trainers) in Red, BKR LAST MAN men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Betty London GAMO women's Casual Shoes in Nike FREE RUN 2 women's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue, Minnetonka HI TOP BACK ZIP BOOT women's Mid Boots in Black, Swedish hasbeens ZIP IT SUPER HIGH women's Low Ankle Boots in Betty London BRONZEUR women's Smart / Formal Shoes in Gold, Victoria DEPORTIVO VERNISE women's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, Roberto Cavalli RDS735 women's Sandals in Beige, Carlington MECA men's Casual Shoes in Brown, New Balance WL420 women's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue, Casual Attitude REVEZE women's Low Boots in Black, Birkenstock ARIZONA men's Mules / Casual Shoes in Blue, Esprit ELDA BOOTIE women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Marc Jacobs DOLLS CORA women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, D.Co Copenhagen DEVON BOOT women's Mid Boots in BlackThe 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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