The Trump administration’s worldview is best exemplified in a sentence from the White House’s Peace to Prosperity plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “Sovereignty is an amorphous concept.”

It is not because of what that sentence actually means, because it is a rather hollow statement. Saying that sovereignty is “amorphous” means that it is not, in fact, a real international legal concept with real meaning, but it is whatever the Trump administration says it is in order to fit their whims at the moment. In the case of Peace to Prosperity, it provided a loose justification for describing what was clearly a one-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a “realistic two-state solution.” The downstream ramifications of these decisions are of secondary or even tertiary importance, and the rationalizations behind them are transparently low-effort.

This mindset was again on display with the announcement that the Trump administration had brokered normalization between Israel and Morocco in exchange for American endorsement of Rabat’s hitherto universally unrecognized claims over Western Sahara. That territory was administered as a Spanish colony until the 1970s, but segments of the population resisted absorption by Morocco and other larger North African states. Today, a broad swath of Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, while a strip along the eastern edge of the area is controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which enjoys only limited recognition, mostly from African states, and is a member of the African Union.

There was a reason that, prior to the Trump administration, the United States did not casually grant its blessing to different governments’ claims to this or that disputed region or employ them as bargaining chips. Other countries are watching for a path of least resistance to open up in order to pursue their revanchist ambitions. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. and other Western powers never recognized Soviet control over Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which had been annexed under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany and were administered until the 1990s as de facto constituent republics of the U.S.S.R., the same as Ukraine or Kazakhstan. While in practice the annexation of the Baltics was a done deal by the end of World War II, non-recognition sent a message that further expansionism would not be entertained and even had some tangible impacts, with Western European states shielding the assets of the prewar Baltic governments held in their national banks.

Protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity remain policy imperatives in the twenty-first century, but the Trump administration continues to cast this important normative interest aside in pursuit of fleeting ambitions. Yesterday, it was the so-called “Deal of the Century.” Today, it is Israel-Morocco normalization—an important achievement to be sure, but one accompanied by what seems to be an ill-considered tradeoff.

Last year, the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Russian state media was quick to leverage that move in order to justify Moscow’s unilateral annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Other countries are surely watching the latest Trump administration interventions with regard to Israel and Morocco. The transactional nature of the Trump administration’s foreign policy means it is not a question of if other countries will court U.S. recognition of their claims in a given territorial conflict but which countries will be next to ask. Given the clear parallels between Moroccan claims to Western Sahara and Israeli claims over the West Bank, it would not be surprising if today’s announcement of the Morocco deal is a preview of an explicit American green light for Israeli annexation.

The incoming Biden administration can try to head off such entreaties, but taking actions like withdrawing recognition of Moroccan claims in Western Sahara (or Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, for that matter) will be complicated. Once something has been put on the table, taking it away will naturally be perceived as punitive by Morocco, Israel, or any other affected party, rather than as simply restoring the status quo ante in American foreign policy, with all of the attendant risks for the nascent Israel-Morocco agreement.

The Trump administration wrote off West Bank annexation with a throwaway line about sovereignty being an “amorphous concept,” and Jared Kushner offered a similarly lazy explanation for the sudden American turnaround on Western Sahara, stating that the U.S. was simply “recognizing an inevitability.” This line of thinking rewards any party that is strong enough to impose “inevitabilities” on weaker ones, and carrying it to its logical conclusion means the United States may as well recognize Russia’s seizure of the Crimea, as it seems inevitable that the Russians are going to be there to stay for the foreseeable future.