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. Love Moschino JA11070G13 women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Black,BOSS Athleisure Mens Navy Spacit Trainers Size: 8 UKAdidas Consortium Gazelle Alife x Starcow Sneakers ExchangeBarbour Jarrow Wellington Boots, Olive, UK 4,Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker MkII Black - 11.5 medium,Alaïa Court - Women Alaïa Courts online on United Kingdom - 11455037AL, Missoni WM004 women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Blue, Betty London ARIZONA women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown,Mephisto 'ELODY' Rust - 5 OUT OF STOCK,Tara 2.5 heel - Black Satin - UK 5.5,Rockport Umbwe Trail Leather Boots,Poste Mistress Natalie Toe Cap boots NAVY CROC,Saint Laurent Boots - Women Saint Laurent Boots online on United Kingdom - 11476599LV, Chie Mihara HANKO women's Sandals in Black, Red Wing CLASSIC men's Mid Boots in Brown, Maruti GIULIA women's Mid Boots in BlackSalomon X Ultra 2 - UK 10,Ariat Windermere H2O Boots, Dark Brown, UK 7 Regular CalfNike Air Max 1 Leather - Grijs,Martin Rey Boots - Women Martin Rey Boots online on United Kingdom - Mosquitos KILLER women's High Boots in Black, Superga 2750 COTU PANATTA men's Shoes (Trainers) in Beige, Gabor Splendid Womens High Heel Court Shoes women's Court Shoes in BlackOssana Pointed Toe Heeled Chelsea Boot,Nike Air Max BW Ultra SE - Purper,Jordan Air 3 Retro TD - Zwart,Hunter Boots - Women Hunter Boots online on United Kingdom - 11066809GJ, Paco Gil CARA women's Low Ankle Boots in Betty London HIVANE women's High Boots in Betty London FLARA women's Low Ankle 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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