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 EGATARE women's Low Ankle Boots in Blue,Rieker CLARENCE MENS RIEKER SUMMER SHOES Size: 42, Colour: BLACK,Office Foppy Mary Jane BLACK PATENT,R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Boots, Dark Tan Wide H Fit, UK12,Altberg Boots AltBerg Desert Tabbing Boot MOD Brown Suede - 11 A-Forme,Ancarani Court - Women Ancarani Courts online on United Kingdom - 11457731MR, adidas DRAGON OG women's Shoes (Trainers) in Geox D NEW CLUB women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in BlackDr. Martens Serena 8 Eyelet Shearling Boot BLACK LEATHER,Orlina Floral Jacquard Ankle Boot,Joe Browns Suede Brogue Standard FitTED BAKER SUEDE DRIVING SHOESpace Style Concept Boots - Women Space Style Concept Boots online on United Kingdom - 11448368CN, Stonefly PASEO II 76 women's Loafers / Casual Shoes in Brown, Perlato FRICA women's Court Shoes in Bensimon RUNNING men's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue28012 - Patent - UK 13,Adidas Ultra Boost Uncaged - Grijs,BatzShop Batz BOSTON - black - EU 45 - UK 10.5Now Boots - Women Now Boots online on United Kingdom - Joya ZURICH SHINY BLACK women's Sandals in Black, Converse CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR II BASKETWEAVE FUSE HI men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Kdopa HARMONY women's Mid Boots in Black,Bonanza (Global) PP432 candy color pump w rhinestone & bowtie back US Size Size 4 to 8.5 black,L.K. Bennett Floret Nappa Leather Natural Courts,Puma Blaze Of Glory - Zwart,Laura Biagiotti Boots - Women Laura Biagiotti Boots online on United Kingdom - S.Oliver KEVUZE women's Mid Boots in Brown, Les Tropéziennes par M Belarbi MADRID women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Geox CAREY A 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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