5 Takeaways from the Griner Release

Brittney Griner released from Russian prison in swap for convicted arms  dealer | Fox News

The Biden administration secured the release of Brittney Griner, WNBA player, who was held in Russia after being convicted of drug possession.   Here are my main takeaways from the story

It is good to get Americans home

People have been saying to let Griner rot in a Russian prison since her initial arrest.  They do this because Griner actively belittled America when she said that she does not want the National Anthem played before WNBA games.  “I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season,” Griner said in 2020. “I think we should take that much of a stand.”  She added that if it was played, she would not be on the floor. 

WNBA players should be applauded for taking a stand on issues

Many on the Right took this to heart, and claimed that if she hates America, she should stay in Russia.  However, Griner is an American citizen.  My view on Griner is the same as my view on all Americans, they deserve the protection of America.  It doesn’t matter if she hates the USA, the USA has a responsibility to her citizens, regardless of the citizens feeling toward the home country.  

I’ve said all along that the U.S. must establish herself on the world stage as a vengeful and irrational parent regarding U.S. citizens.  If any country detains a U.S. citizen, that country should be deathly afraid of getting on the bad side of the world’s most powerful military.  Same is true for targeting U.S. military personnel.  Americans should walk around with confidence that no matter what, the U.S. has their back.  

We traded too much for her

To get Griner, Biden traded a notorious Russian arms dealer named Viktor Bout, a.k.a. The “Merchant of Death.”  Bout was a former Soviet military officer who was 10 years into a 25 year sentence.  He was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and provide material support to a terrorist organization.  The Russians really wanted this guy back. 

Viktor Bout: The Russian arms dealer touted for US prisoner swap | CNN

Bout clearly has the know-how and connections to aid the Russians in their war with Ukraine.  He also has no moral qualms with dealing with terrorists.  A world with a free Bout is less safe than with him locked up.  

For Bout, we should have gotten far more than one prisoner.  He should have been used as a bargaining chip in not only getting Griner, but also the Paul Whelan, the U.S. Marine being held in Russia for four years, and as a predicate for ending the war in Ukraine.  Which brings me to my next point.

Biden looks weak

No one on the world stage takes Joe Biden seriously.  He’s pushing 80, can’t form coherent sentences, and has no consistent foreign policy.  He cares more about the Pride flag than the American flag.  His military puts out laughable cartoon recruitment videos about female recruits with their two moms.  His CIA just hired its first chief Wellbeing officer.  He begs human rights abusers to drill for oil in their countries because he’s too busy listening to a teenage high school dropout.  

Any strongman dictator in the world, like Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, Nicholas Maduro or the Ayatollah, knows they can take advantage of Joe Biden.  This is just the latest in a long line of examples of Biden’s weakness – the “Best Hits” being the pullout from Afghanistan, the overtures to getting back into the Iran Deal, begging the Saudis for oil, and telling Putin that a “minor incursion” into Ukraine was acceptable.

Paul Whelan was jobbed

Paul Whelan is a former marine who is a US, Irish, British and Canadian citizen, was detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 by Russian authorities who alleged he was involved in an intelligence operation. He was convicted and sentenced in June 2020 to 16 years in prison in a trial US officials denounced as unfair.

Russia sentences American Paul Whelan to 16 years in prison on spying  charges

When speaking to CNN, he admitted he was surprised that he was left behind.  “I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up.” 

The White House is claiming that they couldn’t get Whelan released because Russians are treating him “differently.”  “The choice became to either bring Brittney home or no one,” Press Secreatry Karine Jean Pierre said. “As the president said this morning he will never stop working to secure Paul Whelan’s release and he will not give up.”

My bet is that you won’t hear Whelan’s name again for a very long time, if ever. Once this story dies down in our 24 second news cycle, Whelan will only be remembered by his immediate family and the State Department representative who is tasked with lying to his immediate family.  

This is, assuming that the Biden administration is not already lying, and they didn’t have a choice between Griner and Whelan. According to Jordan Schachtel, the Biden admin could have taken either one of them, and they chose Griner. This is because…

Griner’s sexuality is more important than anything

No one can name either one of 144 WNBA players or one of 40-50 Americans held by foreign nations.  There is a reason why Griner’s case got so much attention.  She is a black, gay woman, so she checks multiple intersectional boxes.  Whelan has been in Russia for years and no one knew his name before today.    This is not a secret.  Karinne Jean Pierre, who is a black, gay woman, said it out loud. “On a personal note, Brittney is an important role model, an inspiration to millions of Americans particularly the LGBTQI+ Americans and women of color,” she said.

As Matt Walsh tweeted, “They didn’t trade for Griner because she’s in the WNBA. Nobody cares about that. They traded for her because she’s gay and black. She had more intersectional points than the other American prisoners so she moved to the front of the line. That’s the way the system works now.”

Her wife Cherelle” is a phrase that politicians and the media loved to say when talking about this.  Secretary of State Tony Blinken, former Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Nancy Pelosi, along with the AP, CNN, Bloomberg, and every other media outlet covering the story repeated “her wife” so many times it makes your head spin.

Can anyone imagine that much coverage given to a spouse if Griner was married to a man, or, perish the thought, a white man?  It would never happen.  Her sexuality adds to her credibility at the same time they refer to any gay person in America as “marginalized.” 

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