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. Blowfish Malibu ORLANDO women's High Boots in Brown,Etnies Dory Skate Shoes - Black/Tan,Shake Shoes - Dark Tan - Standard Fit - 6.5,Dubarry Kildare Boots, Black, UK 5.5 (EU39),Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker Lady Elite Boot MOD Brown - 04.5 medium,Amarcord Court - Women Amarcord Courts online on United Kingdom - 11498573FB, Regard RUNAZO women's Sandals in Silver, Sweet Lemon ROWENA women's Low Ankle Boots in BlackToffeln Comfort shoe with adjustable heel strap and side vents,Betty - 5.5cm Heel - Nappa Black - UK 6,Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport Shoe,CLEO B SUED GLD RIM STRAPPY SNDL,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11286365OA, Spiral PAULA women's Sandals in Grey, Converse canvas shoes high women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Blue, Missoni VM067 women's Sandals in Pink,Nueva Epoca - Isabel - Black/Red - UK 7.5Miss L Fire Charlie Size: EU 41, Colour: Blue,Mens Chester Sheepskin Slippers Chocolate UK Size 9/10,Nicola Barbato Boots - Women Nicola Barbato Boots online on United Kingdom - 44876023LD, Vans AUTHENTIC men's Shoes (Trainers) in Red, Caterpillar CREEDENCE men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Supra VAIDER CLASSIC women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black,Bonanza (Global) PP435 Luxury gold & transparent pumps, genuine leather,US Size 3-10, black,Nike Skate Boarding Stefan Janoski Max - Wit,Jordan Air 1 Retro High GG - Purper,Kendall + Kylie Boots - Women Kendall + Kylie Boots online on United Kingdom - 11262342IH, Fericelli ASSETE women's Low Boots in Brown, Lemon Jelly SARDENHA women's Mid Boots in Betty London HENIA women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) 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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