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. Betty London VELOUTE women's Court Shoes in Black,Lowa 'HUNTER GTX EVO EXTREME' Nubuck Leather - 7.5,Kendall + Kylie Heeled Sandals Shoes Women Kendall + Kylie,Dubarry Clipper GORE-TEX Deck Shoes, Navy/Brown, EU46 (UK 11),Altberg Boots AltBerg Tabbing Boot Black - 11.5 medium,A.Testoni Court - Women A.Testoni Courts online on United Kingdom - 11548805EV, Bourne LINDSEY women's Court Shoes in Dune AMARIE women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Black,Clarks Desert Boot Sand Size: 12 UK G / 47 EUAduo 1.5 Heel - Silver - UK 5.5Hi-Tec V-Lite Walk-Lite Witton WPVANS LIBERTY SK8 HI REISSUE,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - Betty London NORMANDIA women's High Boots in Marian comfortable shoe heel nubuck women's Court Shoes in Blue, Emma Go BLYTHE women's Court Shoes in Black,6642 Nappa Black - Nappa Black - UK 9.5,Ladies Mini Classic Sheepskin Boots Chocolate UK Size 7Mens Garrick Sheepskin Slippers Midnight UK Size 9/10Moschino Boots - Women Moschino Boots online on United Kingdom - 11451188WR, Regard SEPIA women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Clarks WALLABEE men's Casual Shoes in Brown, Miss L'Fire TEASE women's Sandals in Green,Bonanza (Global) PP441 Beautiful pointy heels in candy color,US Size 4-8.5, champion,Office Megan Slim Wedge Cross Vamp Slingback BLACK SUEDENike Wmns Air Huarache Run - Wit,Jimmy Choo Boots - Women Jimmy Choo Boots online on United Kingdom - Menbur - women's Court Shoes in Vagabond SALVATORE men's Casual Shoes in Brown, Victoria DEPORTIVO BASKET METALLISE women's Shoes (Trainers) in Gold,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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