Our reactionary political culture is so frustrating. Let’s try and cut through the noise on both sides, but especially on the right, and acknowledge what a challenging decision this was for President Biden.
Who is Viktor Bout?
If you haven’t seen “Lord of War” with Nicolas Cage do it now, because I’m told it’s a pretty good portrayal.
Viktor was a Russian spy based in Africa during the fall of the Soviet Union. The aftermath of this was extremely caotic. Most of the old Soviet Bloc countries, places like Ukraine and Bulgaria, had leftover arms and equipment that was no longer being used.
Viktor made a fortune selling these arms mostly to African countries, and often to both side of a conflict. He could get arms places no one else could. In fact, the U.S. even bought from him in Iraq.
Viktor transformed armies in places like The Republic of the Congo. Genocidal armies that were operating with machetes and single-shot rifles were now loaded with AK-47’s and RPG’s. The amount of death and destruction that came from this is too great to even be quantified. Hence the name, “merchant of death.” An absolutely horrible human being.
That being said, he was eligible for parole in two years and really has no ability to function like he once did. Putin has a firm grip on an army that was once in shambles and most of his contacts are no longer there.
Biden wanted both Griner and ex-marine Paul Whalen, but they would budge on Whalen. So Biden had a choice, release this despicable human, or leave Brittney Griner in a Russian prison. A country increasingly hostile to the LGBTQIA community. The biggest danger in releasing Viktor Bout is not what he can do, but what precedent it sets. I think this will in fact encourage our enemies to hold onto Americans overseas. But Brittney Griner’s life also matters.
I honestly don’t know what I would have done. It’s an impossible choice if you have a heart. But either way, i think we all should be celebrating the fact that Britney’s home. But, the consequences of this have yet to be seen. It can be both…Follow Tony