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As President Trump nears the 100-day benchmark, it's a good moment to examine the relationship that has evolved between the mercurial and inexperienced commander in chief and his unflappable Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.Traveling with Mattis last week in the Middle East, I had a chance to watch the delicate balancing act between a media-obsessed White House and a national-security leadership that mostly would be happy to stay out of the news.Mattis struggled to adapt to this ever-shifting information space, and his messaging wasn't always clear.Within hours of the Syrian chemical weapons attack on its people, Mattis was framing options drawn from a list of contingency plans.Planners predicted an 85 percent success rate for the U.S.; it turned out to be closer to 95 percent.One puzzle for Mattis these days is navigating a kaleidoscopic world at a time when the public (or, at least, the media) seeks monochromatic answers.
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