It seems like Russia and/or North Korea pop into our newsfeeds almost every week, and these tyrants of the East – Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un – will continue to be irksome thorns in the side of the West until we find a way to properly deal with them. In order to reign these leaders in, it will take tact, diplomacy and possibly some military response.

Let’s talk about North Korea first. Earlier this week, the Kim regime announced it would launch a nuclear strike at the heart of the U.S. if the West attempted any sort of regime change in Pyongyang. In addition, it’s become clear that China is shoring up its defenses along its border with the Hermit Kingdom.

This is concerning, given that Beijing usually has the best insight into what’s happening within North Korea. The decision on how to deal with the increasingly aggressive regime will fall squarely on the Trump Administration, which has three options:

  1. A preemptive military strike
  2. A diplomatic approach, with China serving as a negotiating partner
  3. A decision to live with the status quo

The worst option? Striking first, which would be disastrous, leaving millions dead, including South Korean citizens and thousands of American troops.

The best option? Diplomacy. Through a series of negotiations and increased sanctions, and with China at the table, I am still optimistic that we can reach some sort of peace with North Korea. I spoke with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo about this topic this week. You can watch that interview here.

Russia is causing trouble again, as well. While both Congress and the White House wrestle with this adversarial relationship, we should spare a moment to consider how it all looks from overseas, where our credibility as a global force for good is deteriorating by the moment. Despite President Trump’s ill-considered words at the G-20 summit, there is no “honor” in meeting with this Russian President.

In addition, the recent revelations that tie President Trump’s son and son-in-law to a meeting with a Russian lawyer will only increase European fears of a U.S. Administration tied in knots for years by investigations. An even worse scenario, from the European perspective, would be any capitulation to Putin by the U.S. paired with a lack of sufficient cyberdefense. The open war between Trump and most of the media intensifies all of this. And so the palpable sense of unease in European capitals grows.

While it may seem counterintuitive to much of what I’ve written about, it is crucially important to keep open communication with Russia – who might turn out to be an ally in the fight against North Korea. I wrote about this and more in a recent TIME piece.

As always, thanks for reading.

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