Is it too early to consider assassination?
I am no fan of knocking off heads-of-state under almost any circumstances. But there are exceptions. Certainly, Hitler rose to the level of evil and harm to warrant removal by any means possible. Recognizing the level of his megalomania, even members of his own military made several unsuccessful attempts.
In that context, let us consider the Moscow Madman Vladimir Putin. I put him right up there with Hitler. The invasion of Ukraine is not his first diabolical action – but it may be the one that finally earns him a death sentence. He is not only an established murderer, mass killer and war criminal, but he – like Hitler – has now disrupted efforts to maintain a relatively peaceful world order. Putin has come out from behind the borders of his own domain to create chaos and violence in any number of ways across the entire planet.
Virtually everyone agrees that he must be stopped. Most Putin observers say that he will not respond to indirect actions – such as sanctions. He only responds to force. That means if we want to push him back inside the walls of the Kremlin, we must defeat his military in Ukraine. Unless we do that, he wins – and he sees a green light to go wherever his malignant ambitions take him in the future.
Those same Putin observers argue that he will never cease his aggression unless and until he is removed from power – one way or the other.
President Biden has called Putin a killer and a war criminal. He has accused him of genocide. And in view of his bloody and brutal invasion of Ukraine, Biden flat-out stated that Putin cannot remain in power. He said what most observers have told us. If Putin remains in power, the aggression continues.
I do not like the idea of people killing people. I am generally opposed to capital punishment, and I am anti-abortion. For me, pro-life is a seamless cloth. My only exception is lethal force in defense of human life. I do believe that if you, your loved ones or others are in immediate threat to grave harm or death at the hands of another person, you are morally justified – even morally obligated – to use potentially deadly force.
Putin is in the process of using the instruments of state to murder people by the tens of thousands. Like a Mafia boss, Putin as directed the murders of political opponents.
Putin did the same thing in Georgia, Chechnya and Syria without being held accountable. He is currently the leading serial killer in the world. Putin is PERSONALLY responsible for the deaths he has ordered. He and he alone ordered the assassination of opponents and the invasions of nations. It should not make a difference just because he is a head-of-state with membership in the United Nations.
The most obvious and necessary means of restoring justice and world peace is to make sure Putin to no longer at his post in the Kremlin. He has to go.
Having said that, removing Putin is not easy. Many argue that it is not even possible. I would agree that it is extremely difficult – and therefore unlikely at this moment. But still necessary. And if events proceed the way Putin intends, the option to remove him from power will become more necessary and more difficult in the future.
Even though virtually every political figure, Russian expert, and military analyst talks about the need to remove Putin, they avoid the obvious. How to get rid of him.
There are only six ways Putin is removed from power. He inconceivably could lose an election. Equally inconceivable, he could simply retire. He could be ousted by an internal coup – as was Nikita Khrushchev. Mother Russia could lose a global war against other nations – the Hitler model. He could die of natural causes – but age and health suggest not soon enough. Or he could be bumped off by insiders or outsiders.
While the United States and the western world have engineered a number of regime changes, summarily killing the head-of-state have been the last choice. We prefer that they stand trial and be eliminated legally by local authorities – as was the case of Saddam Hussein. Although I prefer life in prison – like the Nazi war criminal who remained in Spandau Prison until his suicide at age 93.
Putin is not the subject of a policy disagreement or even pugnacious behavior. It is not about violating a few international laws regarding trade or marginal territorial claims. It is not even about human rights violations within the sovereign Russian state. It is about stopping a serial mass murderer in the act.
I would prefer he be taken into custody and stand trial for murder and war crimes, but that is even less likely to happen than his being knocked off. It is not the preferred option but may sadly be the only realistic option to end Putin’s never-ending war on the civilized world –and millions of innocent men, women, and children.
I hope that the United States and our allies are at least doing feasibility studies on how an assassination might take place. Maybe even working on a plan. Are there any new technologies that create hitherto unavailable opportunities?
It is risky business without any assurance of success – as we saw with Fidel Castro. But that option – or plan – should not be off the table, in my judgment. It is that or an eventual global war. Co-existence with Putin is no longer an option.
So, there ‘tis.