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. United nude FOLD MID women's Low Boots in Black,BOSS Athleisure Mens Navy Spacit Trainers Size: 9 UK,Sugar Shoes - Tan - Standard Fit - 9,Ariat Grasmere H2O Boots, Chocolate, UK 6.5 Full,Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker MkII MOD Brown - 09 medium,Alexander Mcqueen Court - Women Alexander Mcqueen Courts online on United Kingdom - Gabor Tarbert Womens Court Shoes women's Court Shoes in Victoria SNEAKER NEOPRENO women's Shoes (Trainers) in Red,Dr. Martens Vegan 2976 Chelsea Boot CHERRY,Asta - 5.5cm Heel - Suede Black - UK 9,Rockport Rocksport Lite3 Plaintoe Oxford,TED BAKER TORSDI 2 DESERT CHUKKA,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - Bikkembergs SOCCER 526 men's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Puma Basket Platform Patent women's Shoes (Trainers) in Casual Attitude RIJONES women's Mid Boots in Beige,Patty - 5.5cm Heel - Nappa Black - UK 6,Dr Martens Flora Chelsea BootsMens Chester Sheepskin Slippers Chocolate UK Size 11/12,Moschino Boots - Women Moschino Boots online on United Kingdom - 11524776QF, Eleven Paris SKY women's Shoes (Trainers) in Multicolour, Dream in Green KHAFIR women's Mid Boots in Miss L'Fire TEASE women's Sandals in GreenBonanza (Global) PB157 elegant pointy booties w thick hairs edge, size 4-8.5, navy green,Nike Wmns Air Max 90 LX - Bruin,Nike Skate Boarding Zoom Stefan Janoski GS - Grijs,Jil Sander Navy Boots - Women Jil Sander Navy Boots online on United Kingdom - 11082534DX, So Size HOLU women's High Boots in Now NINEMILO women's Mid Boots in Blue, Moschino MA1601 women's Sandals in BlackThe 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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