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. FitFlop SWOOP SLIDE women's Sandals in Silver,Peter Kaiser IVI PETER KAISER LADIES SHOES Size: 6.5Nike SB Air Max Bruin Vapor Skate Shoes - Black/Cool Grey,Barbour Ladies Bede Wellington Boots, Olive, UK 8,Altberg Boots AltBerg Jungle Micro MOD Brown - 06.5 mediumAlexander Mcqueen Court - Women Alexander Mcqueen Courts online on United Kingdom - 11321487SS, Bullboxer BELVODOU women's Low Ankle Boots in Beige, Ted Baker TAKIL women's Low Ankle Boots in Grey,Saint Laurent Joe Hi-top Sneakers,Claudia - 5.5cm Heel - Suede Black - UK 6.5,GBS Hamish Touch Fastening Bootee,SOLEA - COMFORT FIT ALEXIS,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11526152GU, Marc by Marc Jacobs CUTE KIDS MINI TOTO PLAID women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Multicolour, Dr Martens 1919 women's Mid Boots in Rochas SHEZAN women's Court Shoes in Multicolour,Tina 2 heel - Multi Stardust - UK 7,Miss L Fire Charlie Size: EU 40, Colour: White,Saucony Shadow Original - Rood,Ng Nero Giardini Boots - Women Ng Nero Giardini Boots online on United Kingdom - 11458992MO, Coolway GALA women's High Boots in Black, Les Tropéziennes par M Belarbi LIANA women's Mid Boots in Black, Dr Martens Pascal Cherry Red nappa leather ankle boot women's Mid Boots in Red,Ermenegildo Zegna Loafers Shoes Men Ermenegildo Zegna,Enjoy long romantic walks on the beach in these crossover sandals. Sand friendly, versatile and just so easy to wear, it's a summer shoe done right. (Please note, this item cannot be returned in store.) 0288637736,Jordan Air 7 Retro - Zwart,J|D Julie Dee Boots - Women J|D Julie Dee Boots online on United Kingdom - 11017496AG, Castaner ZAYNA women's Sandals in Beige, Elizabeth Stuart VIVI women's Mules / Casual Shoes in PLDM by Palladium UPCAST STUD women's Mid Boots 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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