Opinion By Tara D. Sonenshine 2018 marks a foreign policy minefield for U.S. The top three areas of the world that pose major national security threats to America. This photo released on Nov. 30 by the official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looking at launching of the Hwansong-15 missile, which is capable of reaching the United States. Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS Updated December 28, 2017 6:07 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet gShare Email Whoever has the job of U.S. secretary of state in 2018 will face a daunting tsunami of foreign policy challenges with dangerous implications if mishandled. Here are the top three — all areas of the world that pose major national security threats to America. North Korea: Secret talks are likely continuing between the U.S. government and North Korea to find solutions to the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. We need an outcome short of full-scale war. The testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea in November sent shock waves through our intelligence systems, already rattled by the tension between our tweeter in chief and “Little Rocket Man.” Look for Congress and U.S. allies to question how much power we continue to vest in President Donald Trump, who can order a nuclear strike faster than he can tweet, and be prepared for domestic backlash if we end up in formal negotiations with Pyongyang. Economic sanctions on North Korea are almost at the limit of what can be applied, and they seem to be of little deterrence even if fully implemented. recommended reading Sign up for The Point Middle East: Always brewing with violence, the region is a boiling caldron following Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Watch for violence in the region as Palestinian anger intensifies, along with continued agitation in the region over Iran and our decertification of the joint nuclear agreement that our European friends do not support. Watch the price of oil, particularly along with increased angst among oil-rich states concerned that America is getting too energy independent. And, of course, never rule out 2018 flare-ups from one-off terrorists — Islamic State leftovers and others who failed to hold land in Iraq and Syria. Russia: Expect continued meddling by Moscow in U.S. domestic affairs. Beware of Kremlin interference in politics in Ukraine, Europe, Syria and everywhere it seeks influence. Russian manipulation of media, diplomatic wrangling over sanctions, and Putin’s quiet campaign to destabilize the West leave the United States vulnerable to cyberattacks and intelligence operations. (Don’t forget Afghanistan, where the Russians once got bogged down and where U.S. forces continue to battle the Taliban.) So the common 2018 thread is nukes and failed states — never a good combination. “America first” is a slogan, but it misses the point that even oceans and armies can’t stop attacks in the modern era. But good diplomacy can. Tara D. Sonenshine is a former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and currently advises international students at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Everything the editorial board wrote about in 2017This year, the editorial board wrote more than 400 editorials - taking positions on the news, politics and policies that impact Long Islanders. Editorials are the consensus position of the editorial board. They are written and reported independently of the newsroom; news editors, reporters and photographers are not involved in the creation of this material. With each argument we publish, we strive to be a reasoned and pragmatic advocate for what is best for Long Island. We hope readers will use this index of the editorials written in 2017 as a way to easily research our priors positions, suggest additional topics to us that are not being recognized and to hold us accountable for our views. Sign up for The PointThe Point is Newsday Editorial Board's new daily newsletter taking you behind closed doors into the New York political scene. A must-read for those who want exclusive insights into local, city and state politics and policy. Don't miss The Point. Sign up now. Cartoons of the day Comments Comments section is temporarily on hold. Here’s why.