To start a war or military operation to divert negative politcal attention away from yourself. Based on the movie of the same name, where the President fabricates a fake war to take political pressure away from a scandal.
When Cater ordered Opertaion Eagle Claw he was playing wag the dog, because he was a very unpopular and weak President and wanted to seem like he handled it strongly.
It is suggested that Clinton wagged the dog by helping NATO bomb Kosovo at the same time as the Lewinski scandal. This theory came about because the film had just been released.
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