The Elements of the China Challenge: Reading the Trump Administration’s China Policy Testament


  • Bartosz Kowalski University of Lodz



US-China relations, ideology, Cold War, Central and Eastern Europe, China’s foreign policy


Between 2017 and 2021 Donald Trump’s administration published over a dozen strategic documents on China among which The Elements of the China Challenge seems to stand out as it outlines a longer perspective and sketches a wider framework for US policy towards China. This paper attempts to examine the major assumptions of The Elements, arguing that by putting forward an anti-imperialist rhetoric, the American policy-makers want to emphasize the systemic differences with China, the importance of which have long been underplayed by Western policy-makers who have given precedence to economic considerations. However, the analysis also gives weight to the argument that the strong ideological appeal in The Elements is also intended to mobilize the American allies, anchor them to the leader of the “free world,” and reduce their tendencies to cooperate with China, including in 5G technology as in the case of Central and Eastern Europe.


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Author Biography

Bartosz Kowalski, University of Lodz

Is an assistant professor at the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Łódź, Poland, and researcher in the University’s Center for Asian Affairs. His research focuses on China’s foreign policy, relations between China and Central Europe, and modern political history of Xinjiang.


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How to Cite

Kowalski, Bartosz. 2021. “The Elements of the China Challenge: Reading the Trump Administration’s China Policy Testament”. Politeja 18 (4(73):247-58.