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. Geox D NEW LISE women's High Boots in Brown,Gabor Aude Ladies High Heel Ankle Boot In Black Size: 4.5, Colour: BLA,Shake Shoes - Dark Tan - Standard Fit - 8,Seeland Allround Neoprene Wellington Boots, Green, UK7,Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker Lady Elite Boot MOD Brown - 04.5 medium,Altramarea Court - Women Altramarea Courts online on United Kingdom - 11562314MW, Nike TANJUN men's Shoes (Trainers) in Black, Eleven Paris BASIC MATERIALS men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Blue,ECCO 570114 COFFEE 570114-05072 DALAS MOC COFFEE Size: 39, Colour: COF,Betty - 5.5cm Heel - Nappa Black - UK 5,Hi-Tec Sensor WP Mens Boot,VANS SK8-HI RE ISSUE INCA CA,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11547200WG, Airstep / A.S.98 POLARI women's Sandals in Black, The Flexx FLEXX comfortable moccasin women's Slip-ons (Shoes) in Camper BALLOON women's Sandals in Beige,Balboa - Brown leather/beige canvas - UK 9.5 - EU 45 -US 11,Dubarry Navigator Deck Shoes, Old Rum, UK10.5,Rugby Factory Shop Canterbury Stampede Elite 8 Stud Boots Black/True Red 2015,Melissa Boots - Women Melissa Boots online on United Kingdom - 11291124NM, Dorking YVON women's Court Shoes in Marian COSMO women's Sandals in Silver, Dr Martens TORRIANO women's Casual Shoes in BlackOffice Ace Back Zip Boots BLACK,Superstar Foundation Black Velcro Trainers,Nike Air Pegasus '83 print - ZwartJolie By Edward Spiers Boots - Women Jolie By Edward Spiers Boots online on United Kingdom - Volcom SMITHINGTON 2 men's Mid Boots in Brown, Polo Ralph Lauren JESTON men's Shoes (Trainers) in White, Neosens GLORIA women's Sandals in Beige,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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