January 31, 2023

As a fan of Viktor Bout‘s (aka The Merchant of Death and the person Brittney Griner was exchanged for) fictional work in the movie Lord of War, I for one can’t wait to see if Nicolas Cage will be starring in a potential sequel. GREAT MOVIE.

Well, assuming a sequel is green lit because it was a movie that came out in 2005. And it was a movie that barely made its budget back, with it even probably taking a loss. AND it was a movie a lot of the people didn’t see. Trust me. Anytime anything “arms dealer” get’s brought up in any conversation that I’ve been apart of since 2005, I immediately ask if that person (or those people) have seen Lord of War. Most say no.

Lord of War, aside.

I bring this up because folks are all over the internet, pretending they know (or more importantly, CARE) about geopolitical U.S./Russian relation issues, when they don’t. Because if they did, they would be just as outrage, if not more outraged by past, present and future prisoner exchanges between the two countries. Yes, the people with zero geopolitical knowledge or expertise are outraged over Brittney Griner being exchanged for a Russian arms dealer.

And I’m not judging. Hell, I don’t know much either.

However, what I do know is that IF people really cared about U.S./Russian prisoner exchanges, more, hell, ANY conversations and outrage would’ve been dedicated to the other U.S./Russian prison exchanges that have happened during and after the Cold War. Which leads me to believe that there is little knowledge about other exchanges through the years.

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers, is escorted to a plane by Russian service members as part of a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia, in Moscow, Russia, in this still image taken from video released April 27, 2022.

Spies; international drug dealers; you name it. These kind of exchanges happen. And it’ll happen again. And there will be zero outrage or care. Because again, most of us don’t really care about prisoner exchanges. We only care about WHO was exchanged in this particular situation. And we know why we only care about WHO was exchanged.

In reality, most people with intimate knowledge of the situation didn’t think Russia would negotiate a straight up 1 for 1, especially as the conflict with Ukraine continues. Diplomacy actually prevailed. Secondly, Paul Whelan—who a lot of people mentioned should’ve ALSO been exchanged with Brittney Griner—have failed to mentioned he was left out of the exchange for Trevor Reed back in April.

There is a reason for this.

Russia wants a spy for a “spy,” since they officially charged Whelan with spying, even though he denies it (and I believe him over anything Russia says, at this point). And to have both released, they wanted a spy from us. And the U.S. kept clamoring the point that we don’t have any Russian spies currently in our possession.

Lastly, Paul Whelan’s family knew of the deal for Brittney before it became public, and supported it. In their statement, they felt it was better for a deal that could be made, rather than one that couldn’t. And apparently, Whelan’s release is being communicated through Intel agencies. Which is different than someone like Griner, and possibly shows why he is being left out.

A lot of the same people who are be outraged have never heard of nor/or spoke about Viktor Bout before there was talks that the U.S. would possibly exchange the “Merchant of Death” for BG. By the way. The Merchant of Death is an awesome fucking nickname, btw. That much we can all agree with.

But I digress.

Don’t let these folks steal your joy that BG is free. Don’t let these folks steal our joy that BG is coming home after being inhumanly detained for a petty drug possession that should be viewed as a draconian policy, no matter where in the world it is.

BG coming home for the 99 and the 2000.

Oh, and one more thing about The Merchant of Death.

Assuming he isn’t dropped off by Putin himself in the middle of the Siberian winter because he was telling all the Russian business to the U.S. for an entire decade of his 25 year sentence..

let us not forget that Bout’s work (albeit impressive for a private dealer) is small (extremely small) potatoes compared to how many arms are supplied by actual countries, including (and especially) Russia, France, China, U.K and, of course…

the United States of America.

Leslie McLemore writes about a lot of different shit for Black With No Chaser. He is also the Takeaway Kang, the greatest baby father to the dopest babymomma, and the father of two beautiful girls, one of which gets on every nerve he has. The other one is sweet…sometimes. So, you know, balance. Sort of.

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