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. Casual Attitude CORMANOIR women's Low Ankle Boots in Black,Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High - Black Monochrome Size: 5 UK,Bonanza (Global) pp395 Sweet candy color pointy pump w bowtie top, US Size 4-8.5, blueDubarry Tipperary Boots, Walnut, UK 5.5 (EU39),Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker MkII MOD Brown - 09 medium,Agile By Rucoline Court - Women Agile By Rucoline Courts online on United Kingdom - 11496195LP, Marc O'Polo SOUMINALIA women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Grey, GISELLA women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown,Irregular Choice Shimmer - Ivory Size: 40 EU,Shirley - 5.5cm Heel - Nappa Black - UK 6,Gola Katana Ripstop Men's Trainers,CONVERSE CT TRI ZIP HISergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11526127DP, Airstep / A.S.98 POLARI women's Sandals in Black, Converse All Star Chuck Taylor II Womens Icy Pink Shield Trainers men's Casual Shoes in Pink, Refresh BRYCE women's High Boots in Black,581-35 Nappa Black 3.5cm Heel - Black - UK 8.5Miss L Fire Bernie Colour: Black, Size: EU 36Jordan Air 1 Retro Low OG - Wit,Nero Giardini Boots - Women Nero Giardini Boots online on United Kingdom - 11564153CT, Josef Seibel Anvers 36 Mens Lightweight Casual Shoes men's Casual Shoes in Black, n.d.c. LAS SALINAS women's Sandals in Brown, Remonte Dorndorf POLINE women's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey,Bonanza (Global) PB158 elegant strappy ankle booties w zipper back, size 4-9, black,Vango Women's Contour II Walking Boots - Charcoal - UK 7,Adidas Tubular X - Grijs,Keb Boots - Women Keb Boots online on United Kingdom - 11560962VT, J Wilton - men's Slip-ons (Shoes) in Brown, Miista KAMILA women's Mid Boots in Black, Vulladi SERRAJE women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in GreyThe 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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Nike Air Force 1 - '07 LV8 - 1 Zwart c8b05d

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