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Brittney Griner & America’s Trade Deficit

US swapped 'the quintessential figure of transnational crime' for a pothead basketball player
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Look, I'm glad Brittney Griner is coming home, even though it's her own fault she was arrested in Moscow. She didn't deserve the sentence the Russians gave her. But I'm not at all pleased that Biden got the woke pothead lesbian basketball star out, but left behind US Marine Paul Whelan, who has been rotting in Russia for four years for a crime he says he didn't commit (nobody doubts that Griner was guilty of possessing an illegal cannabis product in Russia). But then, Paul Whelan is a white heterosexual man.

And I'm not happy in the least that the United States sent back Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer and extremely evil man, for ... Griner. Who is Viktor Bout? From a 2012 New Yorker profile:


Officials in Washington began to see Bout as the quintessential figure of transnational crime. He was distinguished not by cruelty or ruthlessness but by cunning amorality. “If he wasn’t doing arms and all the vile stuff, he would be a damn good businessman,” Andreas Morgner, a sanctions expert at the Treasury Department, said.


In 1999, Peter Hain, the minister of state for Africa in Britain’s Foreign Office, began warning British officials about Viktor Bout. Hain saw British soldiers in Sierra Leone coming under increasingly sophisticated attacks and ambushes. The weapons used by rebels, many of them drunk or stoned boys, had evolved from machetes to AK-47s. In November of 2000, Hain, addressing lawmakers in the House of Commons, lambasted “sanctions-busters” who delivered weapons to Sierra Leone and Angola. Bout, he declared, was the worst of them, a “merchant of death.”

That's the man we let the Russians have back in exchange for a basketball-playing pothead.

The White House press secretary today claimed that America has "marveled" at Griner's courage, and, quoting the president, that Griner represents "the best of America." Uh, come on, no she doesn't. We can be glad she's getting out of the Russian prison where she was unjustly kept, and is coming home, without having to pretend that she's somebody she's not.


What kind of negotiators does the US have, that it trades one of the most evil men on the planet, a man responsible for countless deaths, for Brittney Griner? True, you can't fault Griner for this trade, and I'm sure those who love her are thrilled to have her back. It would be cheap and mean to begrudge Griner her freedom, and I'm not going to do it. The anger I have is at Joe Biden for his lousy swap. Poor white, straight, male Paul Whelan. We can probably count him as one more victim of the hierarchy of privilege that now characterizes the woke establishment in the US.

UPDATE: You think I'm judging unfairly by bringing Griner's race and sexual orientation into it? Take it up with the head of America's largest teacher's union, who did the same, but in celebratory mode. As usual, you're allowed to notice these things, but only if you praise them.