Stephen Braun discusses Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible.
Before 9/11, Viktor Bout was America's number two transnational threat priority behind Osama bin Laden. Bout's vast enterprise of guns, planes, and money has fueled violence in Africa and aided both militants in Afghanistan and the American military in Iraq. While the world celebrated the end of the Cold War, Bout - and those like him - quietly built up a new, complex, and international arms network. With weapons factories starved for customers, Soviet-era transports lying idle and rusting, and dictators, warlords and insurgents throughout the world clamoring for arms, entrepreneurs, and organized criminals, such as Viktor Bout, saw fortunes to be made.
In Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible, co-author Stephen Braun details how a small circle of US officials and international investigators have had little success in dismantling this transnational network which, he argues, has provided essential support to despots, insurgents, and terrorists around the world- World Affairs Council of Northern California
Stephen Braun is a national correspondent based in Washington for the Los Angeles Times. He shared in the Times' 1991 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Los Angeles riots and a 2002 Overseas Press Club international reporting award for "Inside al Qaeda," a series of stories about the rise of the terror group. His reportage has ranged from national politics and investigations to foreign and domestic terrorism, and he has covered many landmark American news stories of the past two decades, including the Sept. 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and five presidential elections.
A Times national correspondent since 1993, he previously covered the Midwest from Chicago and earlier worked as an editor and staff writer in Los Angeles. He also reported at the Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Daily News and Baltimore News American, where he was a Pulitzer finalist in 1981. A 1975 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he has written for Foreign Policy, Men's Vogue, Rolling Stone, the Washington Monthly and Los Angeles Times Magazine.
Nancy Jarvis is Senior partner with Farrand Cooper, P.C., San Francisco, where her practice includes high-technology clients headquartered in Asia. Before practicing law, she was a foreign policy editor at MIT Press. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, she is a former chair of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.
Stephen Braun, a Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, states that the U.S. hired illicit arms trafficker Viktor Bout to aid in the Iraq War - even though he had been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury from doing business in the United States.