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. Dkode GWENITH women's High Boots in Black,Peter Kaiser IVI PETER KAISER LADIES SHOES Size: 4, Colour: BLACK VELV,Shoes For Crews (Europe) Falcon II - 7,R.M. Williams Gardener Boots, Black Regular G Fit, UK11.5,Altberg Boots AltBerg Sneeker MkII MOD Brown - please select,Ancarani Court - Women Ancarani Courts online on United Kingdom - 11331729FP, Geox D WISTREY women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Black, New Balance WC786 women's Tennis Trainers (Shoes) in Purple,Roberto del Carlo Leather Ankle BootsMarks and Spencer M&S Collection Wide Fit Suede Block Heel Ankle BootsRegatta Meresville Mid Boot WideMARC BY MARC JACOBS SATIN TRAINER,Sergio Rossi Boots - Women Sergio Rossi Boots online on United Kingdom - Spiral PAULA women's Sandals in Grey, KG by Kurt Geiger WALKER women's High Boots in Black, Guess woman shoe heel open women's Sandals in Black,Sophia 2.5 Heel - Tan - UK 4.5Callaway Del Mar Retro Golf Shoes,Rugby Factory Shop Gilbert Evo MK 2 Rugby Boot Orange,Nicholas Kirkwood Boots - Women Nicholas Kirkwood Boots online on United Kingdom - 11461024JJ, Reebok Sport REEBOK ZPUMP FUSION men's Running Trainers in Felmini GREDO women's Mid Boots in Green, Tamaris - women's Low Ankle Boots in Beige,County Boots - Chocolate - Standard Fit - 8,Fizik M5B Donna MTB Shoes,Asics Gel-Lyte III - Groen,Kartell Boots - Women Kartell Boots online on United Kingdom - CallagHan AVE women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) in Black, New Balance MRL420 women's Shoes (Trainers) in Blue, Keyté CANDY women's Shoes (Pumps / Ballerinas) 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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