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.

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The Real Opportunity Behind the Media Spectacle

By Michael Kimmage

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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.

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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. Keyté EVORA women's Court Shoes in Black,Peter Kaiser MARABELLA PETER KAISER LADIES LONG BOOT Size: 8Sugar Shoes - Tan - Standard Fit - 6Ariat Grasmere H2O Boots, Chocolate, UK 6.5 Full,Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker Lady Elite Boot MOD Brown - 04.5 medium,Cafènoir Wedge - Women Cafènoir online on United Kingdom - New Balance ML373 women's Shoes (Trainers) in Red, Replay MEN ALPARGATA COMFORTABLE men's Espadrilles / Casual Shoes in White,Charles Tyrwhitt Chocolate Made In England Derby Toe Cap Shoes Size 9.5 W by Charles TyrwhittGlobe Skate Superfly Vulcan Mid Skate Shoes - Black/Grey/Lime - 13,Stride Tall Cuban Heel Boots Wide Fit,CLEO B SUEDE ANKLE BOOT TOE CAP,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11287426OG, Strategia MAILLETT women's Mid Boots in New Balance WC787 women's Tennis Trainers (Shoes) in Blue, Ikks BOTTINE LOW HEEL women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown,Nueva Epoca - Cecila - UK 7.5,Leisure Lakes Bikes Five Ten Sleuth Flat MTB Shoes Black/Lime,Kickers Kick Low Core Shoe,Now Boots - Women Now Boots online on United Kingdom - 11526551FC, Supra SKYTOP III women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Red, Spylovebuy Laverne women's Low Ankle Boots in Green, Rochas TARTAF women's Sandals in Brown,Bonanza (Global) pp422 sweet strappy pointy pump, pu suede leather , Size 4-10, black,Office Astrid Pointed Block Heel Boots BLACK LEATHERPEARL DETAILNike Free Hypervenom 2 - Zwart,Kudetà Boots - Women Kudetà Boots online on United Kingdom - The Flexx FLEXX ROSANNA women's Court Shoes in Unisa YOLO women's Sandals in Clarks DESERT BOOT men's Mid Boots in Brown,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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