Trump's last-minute foreign policy dumps are reportedly an attempt to overwhelm Biden and drown his agenda

President Trump.
(Image credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump is making a lot of lame-duck foreign policy decisions that could further his agenda for months and years to come.

Trump fired the defense secretary and other Pentagon officials last week, telling acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to focus on cyber and irregular warfare, particularly in China, an administration official tells CNN. The administration is "contemplating new terrorist designations in Yemen that could complicate efforts to broker peace," CNN continues. And it authorized a huge arms sale to the United Arab Emirates that could heighten tensions throughout the Middle East.

All of these moves are plunging the U.S. into tricky territory right before President-elect Joe Biden takes office — and that just may be the point. As one administration official tells CNN, the administration is aiming to "set so many fires that it will be hard for the Biden administration to put them all out." And by forcing Biden into some foreign policy decisions he may have wanted to avoid, Trump could be setting Biden up to follow his agenda even after he's gone from the White House.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The strategy "could raise national security risks and will surely compound challenges for the Biden team," CNN writes. But if Biden quickly reverses Trump's decisions, it could also earn him respect and appreciation from foreign adversaries, people close to the Biden transition team say. Other experts noted that some of Biden's foreign policy goals aren't incredibly different from Trump's — withdrawing from Afghanistan, denuclearizing Iran, and managing China's aggression, for example. The two leaders just have very different ways of achieving those goals. Read more at CNN.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.