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WASHINGTON: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's mission was delicate but not unfamiliar as he phoned President Donald Trump last week: Persuade the boss to curb his own impulses on yet another potentially explosive national security issue.It would allow Trump to say he followed through on a threat, without further destabilizing the Arab world.It's fallen to Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster to soften some of Trump's most dramatic impulses, all while dealing with competing power centers and messy internal arguments that have repeatedly spilled into the open.Trump previously had agreed to Tillerson's compromise.So after reconvincing Trump to accept the compromise, Tillerson worked to keep the decision a secret, according to five administration officials familiar with what happened.The Palestinian aid episode was the latest example of the precarious balance Trump's team learned to strike during year one. Even as they coaxed Trump into preserving more of the Obama-era status quo than many expected was possible, they've had to navigate carefully around Trump's clear aversion to being publicly contradicted by staff or made to look feeble on the world stage.Trump entered office vowing to pursue an unpredictable foreign policy.
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