“Trump is hardly the first president to try to cement his legacy with a flurry of last-minute actions. Still, when a president tries to handcuff his successor, that can feed into the notion that U.S. foreign policy is inherently unstable, damaging America’s global reputation in the long run, former U.S. officials and analysts say.

“‘This perceived instability or changeability of American foreign policy from one administration to the next means that foreign countries, including allies, feel like they need to discount American policies and promises and hedge their bets on the United States,’ said Michael Singh, a former George W. Bush administration official now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ‘And the more politically polarized we are at home, the more this tendency grows overseas, and it’s tough and costly to reverse…'”

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