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 HEMMA women's Court Shoes in Black,Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Leather High - Black Monochrome Size: 5,Shake Shoes - Dark Tan - Extra Wide Fit - 7Dubarry Galway Boots, Brown, EU39 (UK5.5),Altberg Boots AltBerg Tabbing Boot Black - 11.5 medium,Alexander Mcqueen Court - Women Alexander Mcqueen Courts online on United Kingdom - 11147966NJ, Philippe Model Paris Sneaker Tropez in vernice laminata intagliata men's Shoes (Trainers) in Grey, Relax Slippers Grecian Mens Leather Slippers men's Slip-ons (Shoes) in Black,Office Alto- Pointed Block Heel Shape SILVER LEATHER,Nueva Epoca - Buenos Aires - Nappa Black/White - UK 6,Trustyle Touch & Close Shoes StandardAltberg Dalesway Vegan Boot - Level 3Sebastian Boots - Women Sebastian Boots online on United Kingdom - 11472541JW, Unisa MACA women's Sandals in Dream in Green AMBRE women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Strategia CLOUPI women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Black,BatzShop Batz FC10 - red - EU 40 - UK 6.5,Leisure Lakes Bikes Five Ten Hellcat Pro Shoes Black,Grenson Declan Suede Chelsea Boot Brown,Mm6 Maison Margiela Boots - Women Mm6 Maison Margiela Boots online on United Kingdom - 11469341MG, Sendra boots JOHNNY men's High Boots in Brown, Fly London SULI/RUG women's Mid Boots in Purple, Calzamedi clog comfortable l pvc men's Clogs (Shoes) in GreenSaint Laurent Stars Court Low Sneakers,Daniel Black Leather Bovington Slip On,Vans Old Skool V - GrijsJ|D Julie Dee Boots - Women J|D Julie Dee Boots online on United Kingdom - Converse CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR SUMMER BREATHE OX women's Shoes (Trainers) in Vans SK8 HI men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Angel Alarcon ANG ALARCON OPORTO women's Sandals in Blue,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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