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. Mbt ARUSI 6S W women's Low Ankle Boots in Black,Högl Hogl UTKINGTON HOGL LADIES SHOES Size: 2, Colour: BLACK,Tory Burch Embellished Nappa Leather Espadrilles,Dubarry Roscommon Boots, Walnut, UK 4 (EU37),Altberg Boots AltBerg P1 Peacekeeper AQUA Black - 06.5 medium,Ancarani Court - Women Ancarani Courts online on United Kingdom - 11457872TX, Birkenstock MAYARI women's Mules / Casual Shoes in Silver, Converse CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR SEASONAL COLOR HI SEASONAL COLOR HI PALE P men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in GreySimply Be Irina Boots Super Curvy E FitGlobe Skate Superfly Vulcan Mid Skate Shoes - Black/Grey/Lime - 7Hi-Tec V-Lite Rio Quest I Mens Shoe,TORY BURCH KIRBY FLAT ESPADRILLE,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - Irregular Choice ASCOT women's Court Shoes in Silver, adidas ZX FLUX men's Shoes (Trainers) in White, Calzamedi orthopedic woman women's Clogs (Shoes) in Beige,919 - 60 Satin Bronze 6cm Heel - UK 4,Office Flounder Derby BLACK LEATHER,Hanwag Banks Lady Wide - UK 5.5,Nila & Nila Boots - Women Nila & Nila Boots online on United Kingdom - 11474297QQ, Dtorres GHENT MOCASIN THERAPEUTIC MODEL women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Black, Vic VELOUNE women's High Boots in Brown, LPB Shoes CECILIA women's Low Ankle Boots in Beige,New Balance 1500 KSG - GrijsChatham Marine Galley Deck Shoe Walnut Yachting and Sailing Shoe - Galley Deck Shoe Walnut 11/45,Nike LeBron XII - ZwartL'arianna Boots - Women L'arianna Boots online on United Kingdom - Vicomte A. SARK men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Carvela SWIPE women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, LPB Shoes ANNA women's Court Shoes 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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