There’s breaking good news this morning: WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian penal colony, where she was serving a nine-year sentence after being caught with cannabis oil in her luggage during a trip to Russia. The Biden Administration is congratulating itself on arranging her safe return to the US.
VOTE NOW: Do you agree with President Biden's deal to swap Russian Arms Dealer Viktor Bout for WNBA star Brittney Griner?
Now, the bad news: to get her out, they agreed to a prisoner exchange. They’re releasing alleged Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, known as “the Merchant of Death,” who was serving 25 years for conspiracy to kill Americans as part of his support for a Colombian terrorist group.
Not exactly an even exchange, is it? Some critics are calling it a “huge win for Vladimir Putin” (wait, I thought it was only Trump who did Putin’s bidding.) In fact, one might almost suspect that Russia’s entire motive in arresting a high-profile American was just to obtain a bargaining chip to get this dangerous monster released, and that they’re now laughing at how they rolled us as other nations watch and take notes.
It might be a little more reasonable if Biden had at least gotten a 2-for-1 deal and secured the release of former Marine Paul Whelan, who’s been jailed in Russia since 2021, but he didn’t. He just got one WNBA player for the “Merchant of Death.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that Ms. Griner is home safe. Maybe now she’ll actually have a little appreciation for America and the many rights Americans enjoy. But it’s hard not to ponder that if only she had acted with a bit more caution and intelligence in the first place, maybe “The Merchant of Death” wouldn't be walking around loose again.