A post on the Lawfare blog on 25 August argues that, with Viktor Bout back in the news headlines amid talk of a potential prisoner swap, addressing the systemic gaps that allowed Bout to operate, many of which persist, should be the focus. The debate over Bout’s release is a timely reminder that the modus operandi he used to conduct much of his activity, and many of the loopholes and opportunities he exploited, remain available to his less famous successors today. It says that the heart of the problem is not so much Bout himself but, rather, the persistent failures by national governments to address the loopholes that allow traffickers to conduct their activities. While the risks posed by Bout are likely to be limited, the tried and tested modus operandi used by his networks endure. Fundamentally, today’s proliferators and arms smugglers continue to rely on many of the same tricks of the trade and enforcement loopholes that Bout did 2 decades ago.
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