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. Drucker Calzapedic CHAROL VIPRA women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Brown,BOSS Athleisure Mens Navy Spacit Trainers Size: 9 UK,Sugar Shoes - Tan - Extra Wide Fit - 7R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Boots, Dark Tan Regular G Fit, UK11.5,Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker Lady Elite Boot MOD Brown - 04.5 mediumAlexander Wang Court - Women Alexander Wang Courts online on United Kingdom - 11341663VH, Mbt PANYA CHILL BUCKLE BOOTIE W women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown, Clarks DRAFTY HAZE women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown,Poste Giorelli Fringe Loafer TAN LEATHER,Cindy 3.4cm Heel - Black - UK 6Trustyle Saddle Loafers Wide Fit,ORIGINAL PENGUIN SUEDE DESERT BOOT,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11531032FP, Marc by Marc Jacobs CUTE KIDS MINI TOTO PLAID women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Multicolour, Versace Jeans GERFI women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Vans AUTHENTIC women's Shoes (Trainers) in BlueRV 805 - Wide Fit - Black - UK 5.5,Miss L Fire Charlie Size: EU 40, Colour: Blue,Rugby Factory Shop Canterbury Phoenix Club Moulded Boots Black/Dresden Blue 2015Miu Miu Boots - Women Miu Miu Boots online on United Kingdom - Koah GAME women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Blue, New Balance ML373 women's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Tamaris - women's Low Ankle Boots in BeigeVagabond Grace Side Zip Boot DARK OLIVE NUBUCK,Vango Men's Contour II Walking Boots - Charcoal - 10 UK,Puma Basket X Trapstar - Wit,Jfk Boots - Women Jfk Boots online on United Kingdom - 11546431EH, Asics GEL-MOVIMENTUM women's Shoes (Trainers) in Unisa OMER women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown, Victoria DEPORTIVO SERRAJE women's Shoes (Trainers) 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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New Balance Balance New 574 JNG - Blauw ec9a7d

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