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Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the only way for the U.S. to renew its military ties with Russia is if the U.S. occupies a strong position in negotiations with Moscow. Washington remains "open to opportunities," he said. (Associated Press photographs)

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Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis, top right, looks out during the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis, right, laughs as he waits with Former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Tex., for the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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Marines pose with General James Mattis, Commanding General, CENTCOM, at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, May 8, 2011.

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Retired commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. James Mattis, speaks before Congress. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

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Marine Gen. James Mattis (left), commander of U.S. Central Command, and Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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** FILE ** Vice President Joseph R. Biden (second from left) meets in Baghdad on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, with (from left) Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the outgoing U.S. commander in Iraq; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey; Marine Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command; and Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the incoming commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. The change of command ceremony was held Wednesday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

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Marine Gen. James Mattis, named to head U.S. Central Command, arrives Tuesday on Capitol Hill to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. (Associated Press)

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U.S. Central Command Commander-nominee Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, left, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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U.S. Central Command Commander-nominee Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis , right, is greeted on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, by Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., prior to testifying before the committee's hearing on his nomination. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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U.S. Central Command Commander-nominee Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, center, smiles on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, prior to testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., left and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, question Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, during the committee's hearing on Mattis' nomination to head the U.S. Central Command. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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U.S. Central Command Commander-nominee Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)