The defense lawyer for notorious Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout argued in a court in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 10 that his client would not receive a fair trial if extradited to the United States. Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death" for providing massive shipments of arms to some of the world's bloodiest dictators, warlords, revolutionary groups, and terrorists, was arrested in Thailand by Thai police on March 6 in an elaborate sting operation carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was welcomed to Philadelphia as the conquering hero on September 18 to receive America's Liberty Medal. Former President George H. W. Bush presented the medal to Gorbachev at a star-studded ceremony at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia, next to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
In the remote Caucasus, the Georgian crisis drags on, with Georgia's President Saakashvili, emboldened by Western support, continuing to goad the Russian bear.
The U.S. Constitution assigns the power to declare war to Congress. The North Atlantic Treaty issued by the United States and other founding members of NATO in 1949 states that an attack on any member of the military alliance must be viewed as an attack on all of the members. By becoming a party to NATO, our government subverted the congressional war power, for now an attack on any one of a group of nations would pull the United States into a war with or without a congressional declaration.