Negotiating Political Prisoners

Apparently a prison swap with Russia will be happening very soon. It will probably involve Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan and Marc Fogel (although Fogel may not be included).

Here’s my take. I’m glad these American’s MIGHT be released soon, but at the expense of letting go of a Russian arms dealer (and maybe one more bad guy) in the exchange. It’s terrible Americans are being held “hostage” especially when their arrest was very suspect. Think about…almost every dictatorial/communist country wants some sort of leverage with other countries…and the best way to do this is to take “political prisoners”. But I do hope these American’s can come home soon.

However, that is where I may differ from a lot of people (and the families for sure). All 3 of these individuals traveled to Russia, a communist (unofficial) dictatorship (Putin) which is well known for taking political prisoners, imprisoning their detractors and even murdering those that oppose him. Every one of these American’s WILLINGLY and KNOWINGLY traveled to this country…and accepted those risks. They did it for financial reasons and their greed outweighed the risk. In other words, THEY PUT THEMSELVES IN A PLACE AND POSITION to where they not only compromised themselves, but they burdened their family and ESPECIALLY BURDENED THE UNITED STATES. They have no one to blame for their imprisonment but themselves.

The part that REALLY chaps my ass is they expect for the US to immediately come to their rescue. And then the family always says, the US is “not doing enough”. Think about it for a second, when an American goes to a foreign country, especially any of the dangerous ones like Iran, Syria, China, Afghanistan, North Korea, and even Russia…then they are taking the risk of becoming a political prisoner (or a real criminal), and should NOT expect an immediate release to be arranged by the United States.

If you are working for the government and/or military and you go to these places…that’s different and there should be a higher level of getting these people back. But if you’re a contractor, a tourist, a missionary, an emergency relief worker…or even a basketball player, then you have gone there voluntarily. And surely those people are not so stupid as to not know the risk.

The US Government also deserves a small amount of blame though too. First off, travel to these countries BY ANYONE OTHER than embassy, government/military personnel SHOULD BE BANNED with no exceptions. Not missionaries, not contractors, not tourists, and not even athletes wanting to make a million dollars. None of these voluntary travelers should be allowed in these countries. In fact, I even believe that American companies should not be able to do any business with those countries designated as countries that are terrorist countries.

In conclusion, I do not wish these political prisoners any ill will, and I hope they are soon back in the US. However, I believe that once detained Americans return to the US, they should “compensate” the US Government in some form, be it monetarily, government or community service. I can’t imagine how much cost is involved in obtaining the release of these people, however I don’t think the American tax payer should have to pay for their stupid and selfish decision. I have very little sympathy for people, that of their own free will travel to troubled and dangerous countries, especially when we have so many people here in the United States that could help…

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