It is welcome news that national security adviser John Bolton will meet with Russian officials in Switzerland next week. Bolton is the perfect official to handle the next stage in high-level U.S.-Russia dialogue.

More clarity between the two powers is certainly needed. While President Trump seeks a closer relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. last week introduced new sanctions on Russia. U.S. senators are also preparing separate sanctions legislation to restrict U.S. business dealings with the Kremlin.

Bolton is the perfect choice to navigate these divergences between the White House, Congress, and Moscow. Bolton is astute to Russian strategic doctrine and will not be manipulated into either embarrassing the nation or ceding U.S. interests in this meeting.

The Russians know as much and they also know that Bolton is skeptical of their stated interest in consensus. After all, just before entering the White House, Bolton argued that Britain should respond to a Russian chemical weapons attack by expelling the entire Russian diplomatic delegation. Bolton has a realistic appraisal of the Putin regime's hostility towards the Western order, and of the need to push back whenever necessary. Yet astute to Russian word play, Bolton will also be able to request specifics from the Russians on where they feel progress can be made with the U.S. This is crucial in that Putin is a master of offering nothing under a veil of substance. The Russians used this strategy to great effect against the Obama administration and in doing so smashed U.S. credibility. While Trump has also been vulnerable in this regard, he has allowed officials to defend U.S. interests. Bolton can do the same with diplomacy.

Ultimately, when it comes to Putin, the devil is always in the hidden details. Perhaps Bolton can find avenues to move U.S.-Russia relations in a constructive direction. Perhaps not. Regardless, he's the perfect U.S. representative to find out.