Hosting the White House Summit on International Development on October 21, President George W. Bush called on Americans to continue funding foreign-aid programs, saying it would be "a serious mistake" to cut back due to the current economic crisis. He also boasted that his administration has dramatically increased foreign aid.
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.