Madman theory is a political theory commonly associated with the U.S. President Richard Nixon. He and his administration strove to convince the leaders of hostile countries that Nixon was irrational and volatile enough to take unpredictable actions. This tactic was supposed to induce the hostile nation to stand down and avoid provoking the United States, fearing an unpredictable American response.  

The Madman Strategy was employed during the Cold War: when the Nixon administration secretly placed U.S. nuclear forces on alert in October 1969 and initiated 1970 Cambodian Incursion.