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WASHINGTON: Of all the issues that divide U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Donald Trump's incoming national security adviser, John Bolton, one stands out: North Korea.Mattis, a retired Marine general who knows intimately the costs of war, favors diplomacy to rid the North of its nuclear weapons and has said war on the Korean Peninsula would be "catastrophic".Often described as a steadying or moderating influence on the impulsive Trump, Mattis has little previous relationship with Bolton.The Mattis formula seems to be simple: out of the spotlight, out of trouble. The less he says publicly, the less he risks losing influence with Trump.Mattis has even broken Trump of his habit of calling the retired general "Mad Dog," which Mattis insists was a media invention to begin with.White House officials have said that Trump sometimes repeats military historical anecdotes he heard from Mattis.
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