Ethics Observations On The Britney Griner Trade

 Brittney Griner, the  U.S.-hating WNBA star who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for violating Russian drug laws charges was traded to the U.S for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, an international criminal who was serving a 25 year sentence. Meanwhile, retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, also imprisoned in Russia and for nearly four years, remains there. He was convicted on espionage charges that the U.S. has called false, which doesn’t mean they are false, of course.

Observations:

  • You knew this was going to be the result, didn’t you? It was as certain as anything in foreign relations could be. Griner is black, a female and a lesbian as well as a sports celebrity who parrots progressive anti-American ideology. Biden might appoint her to the Supreme Court: she ticks all the right boxes.
  • The Biden Administration wasn’t wrong to seek her release. Russia had deliberately throw its metaphorical book at her; bu U.S. standards, her sentence was cruel and unusual. Our government is duty bound to try to rescue its citizens when foreign governments abuse them.
  • In baseball terms, this trade was like a team trading a superstar pitcher to its major divisional rival for a third-string catcher and a bag of stale peanuts. Griner has no national security or diplomatic use whatsoever; her sole value is political, as the Democrats will apparently do anything to pander to the three constituent groups Griner belongs to. Here’s a description of Bout, in contrast:

Longtime State Department official Witney Schneidman, who tracked Bout delivering arms to both sides of the Angola civil war, called Bout “the personification of evil.” From the end of the Cold War until his arrest in 2008, if there was an arms embargo, Bout flouted it — Liberia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Congo, Libya. Whenever there was a dictator or warlord who needed weapons to mow down his enemies or suppress a suffering population, Bout was there to make a profit off of bloodshed. He earned his nickname, “the Merchant of Death.” Douglas Farah, a biographer of Bout, laid out his lifetime of monstrous crimes:

“Bout provided tons of guns and ammunition to some of the most vicious warlords in the world and empowered them to carry out unspeakable atrocities. He is responsible for enabling murderous groups to kidnap and train thousands of child soldiers; use rape as a systematic method of terror and control; torture through the mass amputations of arms, legs, ears and lips; slaughter civilians, and help the Taliban take power in Afghanistan. Griner may have been carrying vape cartridges that were banned in Russia but not in much of the world. . . . I covered the wars and victims of Bout’s weapons trade in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo as a correspondent for the Washington Post. The Nicolas Cage movie “Lord of War” was loosely based on Bout, and I co-wrote with Stephen Braun a non-fiction account of the savagery he enabled. There are no words to describe the human toll of Bout’s activities on thousands of people, from the armless child amputees in refugee camps to the scorched rural hamlets burned to the ground by marauding children traumatized into killing their own families.”

Good trade!

  • Griner put the U.S. in a position where it had to choose between sacrificing many innocent lives or getting her out of a mess of her own creation. As EA described here, she arrogantly and greedily traveled to Russia as relations with the U.S. were deteriorating, stupidly ignoring the real risk that she might be exploited for Russia’s gain ( and defying a State Department warning not to travel there), and compounded her irresponsibility by bringing drugs into a country where she knew, or should have known, the penalties for such conduct was severe. She deserves to be jeered, rejected, condemned, cancelled, and shunned. She won’t be, because her fans literally don’t care about principles, values or civic responsibility. She’s in the tribe, and that’s all that matters.
  • Sure, we can legitimately feel sorry for Griner, just as we feel sorry for a moron who mutilates himself trying to masturbate with a vacuum cleaner. But unlike that (not entirely hypothetical) moron, she didn’t only hurt herself.
  • Biden administration officials are saying that a two-for-one swap that would also bring Whelan home was a non-starter, and the choice was to either trade Bout for Griner or have no trade at all. There’s no reason to believe them. The Biden gang has made it very clear that it will favor women, blacks and LGTBQ individuals in every situation or trade off. Whelan, as you can see above, is a white male. To this administration and its party, that makes him a second-class citizen. [Aside: in the photo array above, did you have any doubt which guy was the imprisoned American and which was the villainous arms dealer?]
  • Let’s be clear and honest. Griner was the equivilent of a hostage, and the deal was essentially the equivalent of the U.S. paying ransom to terrorists. As Jim Garaghty writes in The National Review,

After all, if the U.S. government is willing to release Viktor Bout — at one point, the second-most-wanted man after Osama bin Laden! under enough pressure, then the U.S. government will release anyone under enough pressure: terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, spies like Robert Hanssen.

  • And thus this episode proves once again that the Biden adminsitration has no core values, no integrity and no courage. Garaghty again…

It is likely that one of the reasons the Biden administration went ahead with this deal was their confidence that enough allies would choose to characterize it as a major diplomatic victory, not an epic concession to a hostile state that is likely to try to use the same strongarm tactics again in the future.

Bingo.

27 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Britney Griner Trade

  1. I would dispute the second point about Russia throwing the book at her. Marc Fogel had been teaching the children of US embassy staff for 10 years when he was caught bringing ‘medical marijuana’ into Russia. He was sentenced to 14 years in a high-security penal colony. Griner’s sentence was well within the sentencing guidelines and not close to the maximum, hardly ‘throwing the book’ at her. She only got 9 years. Fogel is 61 with health problems. Why is Paul Whelan being discussed in this case and not Fogel? Fogel’s case is almost identical, except that he got a stiffer sentence.

    Just because another country’s punishments are stiffer than ours doesn’t mean they received unusually harsh punishment. Our jail sentences look quite ridiculously harsh compared to European sentences.

  2. Brittney Griner made her choices after the US government warned its’ citizens not to go there, and knowing the consequences of drug possession can be very harsh in other countries, the consequences of her choices are hers, all hers. To trade Griner by freeing a man like Bout and thus releasing that war mongering piece of shit back into the world again was bonified signature significant of the Biden administration’s moral bankruptcy and diplomatic ignorance. Russia walked all over the USA on this one and it will come back to haunt them in future diplomatic negotiations with Russia.

    For those not consumed by hive-minded progressive wokeness and instead guided by logic and critical thinking, this trade was simply not justifiable and is an immoral black stain on the Biden administration.

    P.S. In my opinion, if President Trump had done something like this he would have been endlessly TARRED in the press for releasing that piece of shit war monger regardless of who the trade was for. Trump would have probably be impeached for this.

  3. Yakov Dzhugashvili was the son of Josef Stalin. During WWII, Soviet soldiers were told their families would be arrested if they surrendered. During the early months of Operation Barbarossa, Yakov was captured.

    In early 1942, Hitler’s favorite nephew, Heinz, a 21-year old acolyte who hadn’t wanted his famous uncle to pull strings to keep him off the front, was captured by the Russians. The Germans offered to exchanged Yakov for Heinz. Stalin wouldn’t budge.

    After the fall of Stalingrad, the Soviets picked up Hitler’s other nephew, Leo, as well as Field Marshall Friedrich von Paulus. Again, the Germans offered a trade: Yakov for Leo. Or Yakov for von Paulus.

    Stalin’s response was reportedly that he would not trade a General for a sergeant.

    Dutifully, he had his daughter-in-law arrested.

    Yakov died at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

    Those Russians drive hard bargains when it comes to prisoner exchanges.

    • That is one way to look at it.

      Another way to look at it is that Russia places no value on the individual.

      By contrast, the U.S. (supposedly) place great importance on the individual.

      From a bargaining perspective, that put the U.S. at a significant disadvantage.

      At the same time, one could argue that that does not expose a weakness, as it displays an important principle. “No man left behind” is not a weak statement. It shows what we value.

      Unfortunately, in cases like Griner and Bowe Bergdahl, that principle makes us look foolish to people who value the individual for their usefulness.

      -Jut

  4. I basically agree with the article in spirit, but this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me….

    I’ve seen people are saying that the Russians wanted Bout out of jail because they were interested in using his skills for the Ukraine war. That doesn’t feel right. I’m not an international foreign relations expert, not am I an expert in illegal arms smuggling, so take this with a grain of salt, but Bout was arrested 14 years ago. His empire, if it even still exists, cannot possibly be what it used to be, and I don’t think Russia’s materiel problem is one Bout is equipped to deal with – Who is Bout going to buy from that Russia couldn’t have dealt with themselves?

    This feels…. Deeply political. Like the offensively unbalanced trade is the point and Russia is trying to eke out a PR win and prove yet again how weak America is. I don’t know what to do with that, because Jack is right… America does have an interest in getting these political prisoners home. Canada had a similar situation where we (in essence) traded two private citizens out of China for Meng Wanzhou, CEO of Huawei, who did some naughty things regarding sanctions and Iran.

  5. What is it with 21st century progressive Democrats?

    It seems to me that they have a really bad tendency to choose popularity of some sort over morality way too often. They’re choosing the popularity of consequence free sex and abortion over the basic human right to life, choosing to release a piece of shit war monger into the world to release a popular LGBT black female sports player, choosing the popular but immoral suppression of free speech they don’t like over moral and truthful debate, choosing the popular hate of police over the basic safety of citizens, choosing the growing popularity of ignoring crimes over punishing real criminals, choosing to use pure innuendo filled and false propaganda instead of actual truth, etc., etc. The same thing can be said of progressives choosing hive-mindedness over morality.

    It seems to me that progressives have stuffed morality down in an abyss of being considered a quaint anecdote of history, never again to be utilized by them.

  6. Conservative talk-show host Jesse Kelly had three mean—but funny!—reactions:

    “Is Brittney Griner ready to give up the fame of being a Russian prisoner to return to the obscurity of the WNBA?”

    “We traded a WNBA player for someone who can actually shoot.”

    “She’s a black lesbian who hates America. Biden is just bringing another voter back home. “

  7. “She represents the best about America — just across the board, everything about her, ” Biden said. From a Breitbart article. Everyone else seems to have buried the quote. I saw it in the Daily Mail in a headline, now it’s difficult to find.

    • White House spokesman John Kirby: Griner swap “was the only deal we could get, and now was the only moment we could get it.” What is it with negotiating and Democrats? Did John Kerry run this deal? Cue Kenny Rogers, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” Don’t these people know that sometimes no deal is the best deal?

  8. “In baseball terms, this trade was like a team trading a superstar pitcher to its major divisional rival for a third-string catcher and a bag of stale peanuts.”

    Don’t exaggerate, Jack. We got two boxes of sporks, too.

    • Sporks! Did I see someone mention sporks? Mrs. OB’s first job was folding sporks and a packet of salt and pepper in a napkin and wrapping them with a rubber band. It was piece work she did for her brother who fronted the operation by working at the KFC on Route 1 in Saugus, Mass. Her share was something like half a penny a piece, or less.

  9. Prevarications:
    1. Griner will receive lauds, be paraded around the news shows, show up at the white house for dinner, be named woman of the year, and be awarded next a medal next year.
    2. The other prisoner released, will be forgotten as he already has. I wager most do not know that an American, white heterosexual male was released or what his name is.
    3. We have once again negotiated with terrorists as we did in the Bahdahl case. And once again we got the short end of the deal. It is now open season for American citizens who will be pawns to Terrorists world wide in order to get what they want.

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