Aboss - I think you are correct in pointing to realpolitik.
i am a fan of Womens hoops and have followed Griner for quite some time. She has made a number of questionable judgments, including not controlling her temper and some indication of violence. I initially irrationally and wrongly put this at the feet of Kim Mulkey, about as strong and as effective of a leader as one could have, but really Griner has long had maturity issues, and she owns those.
it is not easy being the dominant center, fouled and hacked all of the time as well as the frequent object of unkind statements, but that is the way of being a dominant big person.
As far as her dislike of America, well, I disagree with many of her perspectives. But heck, why argue now? She darn well knows the difference now between America (imperfect) and a totalitarian state.
if she did something like smuggle kilos of cocaine, well, I could see casting her to the winds. But she had by accounts traffic ticket amounts of residue. Russian public health or safety wasn’t impacted and indeed she is a political pawn - a good one in the minds of many Russian leaders where homophobia attracts a following in that country.
I think we have got to bring her back. The fact that she hasn’t appeared to be particularly grateful to the US is in fact a reason to bring her back home - we just don’t take care of those who lavish praise on the US - we have to take care of our citizens. Whatever her flaws, she is our citizen.
The price of this will be high - the Russians will want more than Bout. And I wouldn’t put negotiation skills high on the list with this administration. But I think we have to find a way to get her back. Not sure how this plays out - will be longer and fraught with more difficulty than I can imagine. Note for all those that say conservatives or those that tend to conservatism want her to rot, I am clearly not in that camp. Query what if the Russians indeed ask for “too much”?