Putin’s Patsy: Biden Plays Sucker to the Russkies
By Paul Kengor
The American Spectator
Back in August, I wrote a piece on Brittney Griner, America’s most famous WNBA player turned vaper-doper and political prisoner to Vladimir Putin and the Russians.
Last February, the 31-year-old Griner illegally brought drugs into Russia. That is not a wise thing to do, dear reader. I strongly advise against it.
Specifically, Griner carried into the country vape cartridges with cannabis oil whilst flying to Moscow to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg — the city where the Bolsheviks detained and executed the Romanovs in July 1918.
Griner pled guilty to the possession charge. Russian authorities quickly threw her into the slammer. Back home, the United States immediately protested her confinement. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made public statements, with Biden asserting: “Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”
But there was much more going on.
In that article in August, I had warned, “That is just the start of it. There is much more going on behind the scenes. It seems clear that Vladimir Putin and his teammates have a crafty game plan to check both the WNBA star and the United States of America.”
I was not alone in raising a dismal prospect that others likewise feared, namely that Putin and pals were hoping to use Brittney Griner to secure a prisoner swap for one Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death,” who was serving a 25-year sentence here in the United States for conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and aiding terrorists. I stated: “Putin and the boys are playing hardball, potentially using Brittney and her vape pipes to spring Bout and his weapons. For Putin and the Russkies, this could be a slam dunk.”
But could it really? Biden and his administration wouldn’t actually do something that stupid, would they? A hoops player for an arms dealer?
The Kremlin clearly hoped so. The Russkies licked their chops at the prospect of Biden and boys and gals playing their sucker. And so, Moscow turned up the heat. About four weeks ago, Vlad and boys, Soviet-style, dispatched Brittney to the gulag. Griner “is now on her way to a penal colony,” her attorneys said in a dire statement at the time.
The Russians were ramping up, and their latest action struck fear into the hearts of the tender wimps in the Biden administration. The Kremlin informed the West that Brittney was in handcuffs and off to nine years of hard labor, away from her “wife” and her vape pipe.
Well, that was apparently the bargaining chip that worked. Biden and Kamala and their State Department folded like a pile of cheap lawn chairs. Apparently, they crawled on their knees to Moscow pleading for any concession. The grinning Russians knew what to do; they smiled and informed their craven American interlocutors: “We want Viktor, comrades!”
And just like that, a deal was in process. Shortly before Christmas, in a big gift wrapped with a shiny red bow, the Biden administration agreed to swap a notorious Russian arms dealer for an American vaper. Thanks to Biden and friends, Brittney can go back to shooting hoops and smoking hash while Viktor can get back to selling weapons to terrorists.
Great job, Joe. Really magnificent. You are a total dupe to Vladimir Putin.
To be sure, I’m happy for Ms. Griner and her ticket home. I mean that sincerely. Congratulations to her in finding freedom again. But prudent statesmen do not negotiate deals like this. You don’t make a high-stakes swap like this.
But don’t tell that to Joe Biden. He and his veep were all grins for Griner.
“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” Biden said at the White House Thursday morning alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Cherelle. “This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release.”
Worse is the long-term signal this sends to Putin (and other U.S. adversaries) about Joe Biden’s weakness. I’m reminded of what President John F. Kennedy told James “Scotty” Reston of the New York Times after he met with Nikita Khrushchev at the Vienna Summit following the disastrous Bay of Pigs fiasco. “It was the worst thing in the world,” said JFK. “He rolled right over me. Khrushchev thinks I’m weak.”
Not long after that, Khrushchev and the Kremlin were placing nuclear missiles in Cuba. We soon faced that near nuclear Armageddon that Joe Biden was recently squawking about.
And so, who knows what Putin’s next hard-ball move will be against America. Biden and Kamala and the LGBTQIA+ community are ga-ga that Brittney is back home smoking weed with her wife. She can once again ingratiate herself to liberals by heroically protesting our national anthem at basketball games — the anthem of the nation that just pulled her butt out of a nine-year sentence at a Russian penal colony. She ought to feel a little differently about America now, eh? One would hope that her image of America now stands a little improved.
As for Putin’s image of America, unfortunately, it is once again diminished under this president who is playing Putin’s patsy.