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. JFK - women's Low Boots in Beige,Ted Baker Womens Black Kaawa Patent Court Heels Size: 6 UK,Sugar Shoes - Tan - Standard Fit - 4,Dubarry Galway Boots, Black, EU45 (UK10.5)Altberg Boots AltBerg Base Boot, Ankle Height, MOD Brown - 09.5 medium,A.Testoni Court - Women A.Testoni Courts online on United Kingdom - 11546634NQ, 4ever Young Womens Chunky Black Silver Leather Sandals women's Sandals in Black, Betty London ISAQUE women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown,Adidas Adult Nemeziz 17.1 FG Earth Storm,Shirley - 5.5cm Heel - Nappa Black - UK 4.5,Rockport Ledge Hill Too Plain OxfordCONVERSE CT ALL STAR OX WASHED,Schutz Boots - Women Schutz Boots online on United Kingdom - 11287728VS, Petite Mendigote LONDRES women's Mid Boots in Black, Maria Lya Boat Womens Moccasins women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Fericelli MELFUNE women's Sandals in Pink,Nueva Epoca - Cordoba - Black/White - UK 9.5,G.H. Bass & Co. Weejuns Classic Penny Loafer Tan,Nike Air max 1 Ultra Essential - Wit,Missoni Boots - Women Missoni Boots online on United Kingdom - 11273981TX, Kenzo TIGER METALIC SYNTHETIC LEATHER women's Espadrilles / Casual Shoes in Pink, Asics GEL-LYTE V women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Stonefly VENUS II 42 women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Brown,Superga 2790 LINEA UP DOWN 7 (EU 41) White,H by Hudson Hudson London Horrigan Strap Ankle Boots GREY LEATHER,Saucony Shadow 5000 - Purper,Janet Sport Boots - Women Janet Sport Boots online on United Kingdom - 11246629TB, Betty London FOLOIE women's Mid Boots in Casual Attitude FELICITA women's Low Ankle Boots in adidas CLIMA COOL 1 men's Shoes (Trainers) 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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