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. Dkode BAHAL women's Low Ankle Boots in White,Valentino Garavani Heeled Sandals Shoes Women Valentino Garavani,Bonanza (Global) ps385 awesome pointy pump in spell color, US Size 4-8.5, black/red,Ariat Stoneleigh H2O Boots, Java, UK 4Altberg Boots AltBerg P1 Peacekeeper Original Black - 07 medium,Aldo Castagna Court - Women Aldo Castagna Courts online on United Kingdom - Pepe jeans PIMLICO women's Mid Boots in Brown, France Mode ZADAR SE TA women's Sandals in Black,Miu Miu Flat Sandals Shoes Women Miu MiuLatin Flex - Black - UK 10,Rockport Ledge Hill Too Plain Oxford,Vans Authentic Trainer All White,Ruco Line Boots - Women Ruco Line Boots online on United Kingdom - 11467978GB, Puma SUEDE CLASSIC women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Converse CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR SEASONAL EVERGREEN HI women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in White, Converse THUNDERBOLT ULTRA OX women's Shoes (Trainers) in Pink,Patty- Quad - 5.5cm Heel - Quadratino Black - UK 4.5G.H. Bass & Co. Weejuns Tassle Loafers Black,Nike Air Max 90 Winter Premium - Bruin,Marian Boots - Women Marian Boots online on United Kingdom - 11496818CU, Nike MD RUNNER 2 men's Shoes (Trainers) in Andrea Conti CASTEL women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, New Balance U410 men's Shoes (Trainers) in Beige,Bonanza (Global) PB163 Cute Butterfly Matin booties, nubuck leather, size 5-8.5, blackJoshua Sanders Denimt Bow Slip-on Sneakers,Saucony G9 Master - Purper,J|D Julie Dee Boots - Women J|D Julie Dee Boots online on United Kingdom - 11482693PB, Schmoove SANDINISTA ANKLE women's Mid Boots in Black, Rieker Odyssey Womens High Cut Court Shoes women's Court Shoes in Ash VICK women's Mid Boots 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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