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Abe Wins Over Trump

The Future of the U.S.-Japanese Alliance

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave while boarding Air Force One as they depart for Palm Beach, Florida, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, February 2017.  Carlos Barria / REUTERS

Forget the golfing. The most enduring images from last week’s summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were photos posted to Facebook showing the two leaders at dinner with their wives in public, surrounded by a bevy of aides bringing them news of North Korea’s ballistic missile test. The ad hoc and controversial national security cooperation, carried out in full view of other diners, was followed by an impromptu press conference, where Japan’s leader spoke first. Far from seeming an insignificant partner in a decades-old alliance that has never really been tested by a crisis, Abe instead appeared as the steady and trustworthy friend of a disorganized new president facing his first challenge from one of the world’s most dangerous nations.

Even before the North Korean launch, the summit had been billed as the first personal meeting between Trump and

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