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. Eleven Paris ESPAPRINT women's Espadrilles / Casual Shoes in BlueFitFlop ROLA FITFLOP ROLA SANDALS Size: 3.5, Colour: BLACK,Shoes For Crews (Europe) Falcon II (White) - 6,Dubarry Meath Boots, Java, EU43 (UK 9),Altberg Boots AltBerg Jungle Micro MOD Brown - 07.5 medium,Anastasio Court - Women Anastasio Courts online on United Kingdom - Converse ALL STAR MONOCHROME HI men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in White, Supra SKYTOP II men's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Black,Office Auburn- High Cut Unlined Boot BLACK LEATHER,Mary - Fantasia Beige - 6.5cm Heel - Chevro Fantasia Beige - UK 5.5Dr Keller Touch & Close Sandal EUW FitMARC BY MARC JACOBS WEDGE TRAINER,Soldini Boots - Women Soldini Boots online on United Kingdom - 11467715EK, Giana Di Firenze GIANNA DI FIRENZE BOGOTA CHAIRA women's Low Boots in Ash DRUM women's Shoes (High-top Trainers) in Dkode BARAK women's Low Ankle Boots in Grey,Freed Roma - UK 3New Balance WRT96PTC - Wit,Womens Air Force 1 '07 Trainer,Ng Nero Giardini Boots - Women Ng Nero Giardini Boots online on United Kingdom - 11458995BX, Pon´s Quintana Mery black leather ankle strap women's Low Ankle Boots in Black, Nike HYPERVENOM PHELON III FG men's Football Boots in Black, Dream in Green HOULI women's Mid Boots in Black,Bonanza (Global) Ameritac Men's Side Zip Suede Leather Combat Outdoor Desert Tan Boots, 9-InchSaucony Grid 9000 - Zwart,Adidas Tubular Moc Runner - Zwart,La Belle Boots - Women La Belle Boots online on United Kingdom - 11502849MG, Mjus CERKA women's Low Ankle Boots in Geox NEW LIFE A men's Casual Shoes in TUK VLK SNEACKER women's Shoes (Trainers) 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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