Don Bonker

Don Bonker is a former Member of Congress from Washington’s Third District and former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Trade. He now lives on Bainbridge Island and consults on international trade issues.

Are Bans on Russian Vodka Hitting the Wrong Target?

Stoli vodka, once known as Stolichnaya, has been hit by informal consumer boycotts and some government actions against Russian brands. But it's actually made in Latvia.

The Shapeshifter World of Ukrainian Presidential Politics

A lot of Ukrainian politics involves shape-shifting among Russian interests and Trump consultants such as Paul Manafort. Such is the story of Julia Tymoshenko, whom Zelenskiy defeated for the presidency in 2019.

Why Sanctions Haven’t Worked Before, and Why They May Well Work Against Putin

This time U.S. and European private companies are taking similar actions, including Boeing and Airbus, both suspending their major operations and no longer providing parts, maintenance, and technical services to Russia airlines.  More evident on the streets of Moscow, the popular McDonalds, Starbucks, and multiple retail food outlets, plus noted credit card companies, are now closed. 

The Oligarchs who Didn’t Play by Putin’s Rules

Putin then had the rebel oligarch arrested, put into a courtroom cage and sent to prison for ten years, and picked another oligarch (listed as being sanctioned) to take over the Yukos oil company.

From Votomatic to Rigging Election Laws: An Election System in Peril

Congress seems paralyzed.  What Republicans are doing in state legislatures to undermine voting is countered by the Democrats’ too-sweeping For the People Act. So far, that leaves no room for finding common ground.

A Tale of Two Insurrections: The US and (now) Kazakhstan.

Were these violent protests in Kazakhstan’s capitol and Almaty, its largest city, out of a Trump-like playbook to overthrow the government, or were they a reformist movement to confront that government’s authoritarian rule?

Stumped by Trump, Disaffected Republicans Should Create a Third Party for 2024

The Lincoln Project could charter an independent party and get it on the ballot in key states, but the obvious question is who would be on the ticket. 

Election Protector: Kim Wyman takes it National

Today’s relentless attacks on our nation’s election system are indeed a threat to the cornerstone of our democracy.  That is why picking a Republican to be the Senior Election Head of a Democratic Administration’s Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CISA, may be a Godsend to get us through this perilous moment. 

Post-Trump: The China Problem Spurs Bipartisanship

In just four years, the Trump presidency alienated most of our traditional allies, whose loyalty is now in question when it comes to China. If Biden does not rally these countries to get back onboard, America will definitely be in a weaker position, as Beijing’s ruling party well knows.

Rare Unanimity: Katherine Chi Tai Clears the Senate

Katherine Chi Tai received a 98-0 vote, unanimous support from both parties as the next U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). This is a bit odd, considering the USTR will have a pivotal role in shaping the Administration’s trade policy, and more significantly the U.S. China relationship, currently plagued with tensions and distrust.

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