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. Felmini VIANA women's Low Ankle Boots in Red,Gabor ARYA GABOR LADIES SHOES Size: 7, Colour: BLACK SUEDShake Shoes - Dark Tan - Standard Fit - 7Ariat Stoneleigh H2O Boots, Java, UK 4.5Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker Lady Elite Boot MOD Brown - 04.5 medium,Alyx Court - Women Alyx Courts online on United Kingdom - 11563411WK, Casual Attitude PERDIX men's Mid Boots in Blue, Casual Attitude MOOKO women's Mid Boots in Black,Church's Brogue Shoes Shoes Men Church's,Nueva Epoca - Cordoba - Black/White - UK 12,Crocs Classic Unisex 10001 Clog,KURT GEIGER LONDON BRITTON AVIATOR,See By Chloé Boots - Women See By Chloé Boots online on United Kingdom - 11555879XC, Dr Martens 1461 59 men's Casual Shoes in Red, Emma Go GUNNAR women's Low Ankle Boots in Brown, Gas SOFFIE women's Court Shoes in Silver598 - 60 Nappa Gold 6cm heel - Nappa Gold - UK 6.5,Hunter Original Refined Chelsea BLACK MATTE,Ladies Wooly Sheepskin Slippers Beige UK Size 3/4,Moreschi Boots - Women Moreschi Boots online on United Kingdom - 11498926RK, Vans SK8-HI men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black, Nordikas Noble III Mens Slippers men's Slip-ons (Shoes) in Blue, Betty London HILDIE women's Mid Boots in BlackBonanza (Global) PB156 elegant pointy booties w plate and thick chain, size 5-8.5, deep greenOffice Marbs Two Part Espadrille NUDE,Nike Lunar Pegasus Trail - Blauw,Jfk Boots - Women Jfk Boots online on United Kingdom - 11533643GX, adidas ALPHABOUNCE EM W women's Running Trainers in Reebok Sport R CROSSFIT NANO 7.0 women's Trainers in Gola HARRIER men's Shoes (Trainers) in Brown,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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