How Obama-Trump Geopolitics Is Changing American Attitudes toward China and the World

US and China finance trade war concept, black loser and white winner chess king on US dollar and china yuan banknotes, world major market countries.

By Dan Steinbock

In the past few years, American attitudes toward China have been shifting. The changeshift did not start in the Trump era, as US observers argue. It began with President Obama’s effort to militarize and split Asia.


As the veteran journalist’s Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House, is shaking the Trump administration and the polarized America, Washington’s trade hawks threaten to escalate their tariff wars. Historically, times of trade wars and protectionism tend to go hand in hand with negative attitudes toward other nations – and our era is no exception.

According to newly-launched survey by Pew Research Center, American attitudes toward China have become somewhat less positive over the past year. Overall, 38% of Americans have a favorable opinion of China, down slightly from 44% in 2017. In recent years, something similar has also been reported in America regarding the attitudes toward other countries, particularly emerging and developing nations.

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About the Author

Dr. Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and has served as research director of international business at the India, China and America Institute (US) and a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see

The original version was published by Chinaorg, China’s official government portal on September 12, 2018



[1] Wike, R. and Devlin, K. 2018. “As Trade Tensions Rise, Fewer Americans See China Favorably.” Pew Research Center, Aug 28.

[2] Diamond, J. 2016. “Trump: ‘We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.’”’” CNN, May 1. On China bashing in recent presidential campaigns, see e.g., “A Mainstay of Presidential Campaigning: China Bashing.” CBS News, Aug 28, 2015; and Green, J. 2011. “China Bashing on the Campaign Trail.” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Nov 18.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of All China Review.