U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported musings in private conversations about abrogating the Japan-U.S. security treaty due to concerns over unfair terms of the relationship — quickly followed by Tokyo’s insistence that it confirmed with the White House that this was not U.S. government policy — illustrate the tension between the Trump administration’s focus on winning fair deals for the American people and national security priorities.

Trump is right to pursue the best agreements possible for U.S. taxpayers. As one of those taxpayers, I am appreciative of the president’s laser-like focus on this front. More broadly, though, negotiating better deals mustn’t throw a match to vital American strategic interests. The Japan-U.S. security treaty is a case in point.

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