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Bold, Unpredictable Foreign Policy Lifts Trump, but Has Risks

“It was aimed at both our allies and adversaries, and it appears to have worked, to some degree,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy during George W. Bush’s administration who now teaches at Johns Hopkins University. But Mr. Edelman drew some critical distinctions between the two presidents. Nixon’s “madman” act generally masked a calculated strategy, which is not yet evident in Mr. Trump’s approach. Nixon’s national-security team was better coordinated than Mr. Trump’s, at least so far. And even in Nixon’s case, the madman strategy worked better later in his presidency, when he and his aides were more seasoned.

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