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Brittney Griner & America’s Trade Deficit

US swapped 'the quintessential figure of transnational crime' for a pothead basketball player
Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 9.18.53 PM

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:

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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.

And:

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.

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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.

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Fran Macadam
Fran Macadam
Whelan is not the angel you portray him as, having been released from the Marines for substantial criminal convictions. Moreover, it is certainly legal in the US to mount intelligence gathering operations on foreign countries, but the authorities there don't see it that way when our agents are caught there, as we certainly don't when they do it to us.

The reasons for exchanging in this case as the Woke priority, are just as you say.
schedule 2 months ago
Michael Cole
Michael Cole
This swipe at Biden and his negotiators that they weren't so interested in saving Paul Whelan because is a straight white male is, of course, preposterous stupud garbage. Rod has considerable writing talent and often explains conservative positions on a variety of topics with excellent clarity. But lately he sometimes comes up with knee jerk conservative bunk fit for Fox News, not the American Conservative. To explain the obvious, the Russians were willing to release Griner and were not willing to release Whalen. Rightly or wrongly, the Russians accuse Whalen of espionage which, obviously, they consider more serious than a trivial drug offense.

Having said that, I must agree that it didn't make sense to release Bout to free Griner. The fact is that the Russians did not go out of their way to persecute Griner. They simply followed their laws against importing cannabis. I felt sorry for her excessive (by our standards) sentence. But Bout should have stayed in jail.
schedule 2 months ago
    JON FRAZIER
    JON FRAZIER
    Bout is very ill, probably terminally so. Letting him return home to die can be justified on the grounds of mercy.
    schedule 2 months ago
JON FRAZIER
JON FRAZIER
Whelan was initially included in the swap deal. The Russians refused to go for that (a two for one with them just getting one, so maybe understandable). Whatever his crimes, Bout is old and in declining health. He probably does not have long to live. The Russians are no doubt laughing at the dissension they have stirred up by releasing the black lesbian and not the white guy-- why dance to their tune?
schedule 2 months ago
    Fran Macadam
    Fran Macadam
    I hadn't realized you were among the ancient of days, since Bout is 55. Being much older, I suppose I am doddering, but feel not yet a fool.
    schedule 2 months ago
Fran Macadam
Fran Macadam
J-P would say that. She and Griner are a Mutt and Jeff of their particular intersectional cohort.
schedule 2 months ago
Fran Macadam
Fran Macadam
One thing's for sure, Bout's not a Nick Cage cartoon villain:
https://rumble.com/v1zzk6w-viktor-bout-back-home-from-imprisonment-rt-exclusive.html
That he's interviewed by someone who was unjustly held and exchanged as well is ironic.
schedule 2 months ago