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. Globe - men's Skate Shoes (Trainers) in Beige,Ted Baker Womens Black Kaawa Patent Court Heels Size: 6 UK,Bonanza (Global) pp396 Sweet candy color pointy pump w horsehshoes heels, US Size 4-9, violet,Dubarry Longford Boots, Black, EU40 (UK6.5),Altberg Boots AltBerg P1 Peacekeeper Original Black - please select,Aldo Castagna Court - Women Aldo Castagna Courts online on United Kingdom - 11306032OK, Jerome C. Rousseau ELLI WOVEN women's Court Shoes in BKR KOPA men's Mid Boots in Black,ECCO 221003 221003-50148 UKIUK/SLATE Size: 36, Colour: SLATERuth - 5cm Heel - Nappa Black - UK 5.5,Lonsdale Sivko Mens Leather Trainer,Ladies Duchess Sheepskin Slippers Grey Embossed Leopard UK Size 5/6,See By Chloé Boots - Women See By Chloé Boots online on United Kingdom - 11267548QV, Philippe Model Paris Paris bronze and gold leather sneaker men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Victoria BLUCHER GLITTER PLATAFORMA women's Shoes (Trainers) in Silver, Janet Janet VERTUNE women's Sandals in Purple,BatzShop Batz FC10 - beige - EU 39 - UK 5.5,Dr Martens Made In England Classic Monkey Boot BlackAdidas Tubular X - ZwartMetisse Boots - Women Metisse Boots online on United Kingdom - 11451867IN, Yurban GUIVER women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Red, Palladium PAMPA HI ORIG U women's Mid Boots in Black, Clarks GLICK SHINE women's Casual Shoes in BrownSuperga 2754 COTU MIDTOP 9 (EU 43) Navy,Bonanza (Global) Painted converse sneakers, R5, Louder, Fanart, Handpainted shoes,New Balance M577ETB - BlauwIxos Boots - Women Ixos Boots online on United Kingdom - 11554429DC, Asics GEL-LYTE III women's Shoes (Trainers) in White, Fericelli FAFA women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Faguo CYPRESS13 men's Shoes (Trainers) in BlueThe 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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