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. JB Martin BADIA women's Sandals in Brown,FitFlop™ FitFlop Booglaloo Toe Post - Rose Gold Leather Size: 3 UK,Bonanza (Global) pp396 Sweet candy color pointy pump w horsehshoes heels, US Size 4-9, silver,Dubarry Kilternan Boots, Walnut, UK 3.5 (EU36),Altberg Boots AltBerg Warrior Microlite MkII, Black - 13.5 medium,Alberta Ferretti Court - Women Alberta Ferretti Courts online on United Kingdom - 44891263KX, Kawasaki PLAYERS RETRO SP men's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, Joya MARY JANE W women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Brown,Poste Giorelli Fringe Loafer MUSHROOM SUEDE,Tara 2.5 heel - Silver PU - UK 7.5Skechers Relased Fit Superior Up Word,Biker Style Boot - Black - 3,Santoni Boots - Women Santoni Boots online on United Kingdom - Chie Mihara HANKO women's Sandals in Black, Mbt PAMOJA W women's Low Boots in Brown, Felmini BOMBER women's Mid Boots in GreyBarbour Ladies Bede Wellington Boots, Rustic, UK 6,Dr Martens Made In England Classic Monkey Boot Red,Saucony Bodega X Shadow 6000 - GrijsMarni Boots - Women Marni Boots online on United Kingdom - 11524773KF, Unisa KARISI women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Swedish hasbeens CHELSEA women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Vans AUTHENTIC men's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue,Superga 2950 COTU 7.5 (EU 41.5) WhiteNike Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 SE Essential - Wit,Nike Air Presto GPX - PurperIgi&Co Boots - Women Igi&Co Boots online on United Kingdom - 11539324LE, Geox shoe room Mariec women's Court Shoes in Black, Muratti SERGIO women's Casual Shoes in Silver, Paco Gil DRIST women's Court Shoes 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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