I’m not seeing many public figures jumping on Hannity’s bandwagon and saying that the United States should assassinate Vladimir Putin. But Lindsey Graham is clearly warming up to the idea that the Russians should do the job themselves. It’s clearly a theory that’s growing in popularity both at home and abroad, but it’s certainly not as simple as some people are making it sound. The two big questions are whether it could be done at all and, if so, would it really change anything in terms of the situation in Ukraine? Perhaps the answer to both of those questions doesn’t really matter as long as it provided a “feel-good moment” in this debacle of a war. (NY Post)
US Sen. Lindsey Graham called on Russians to assassinate President Vladimir Putin Thursday night, as Ukraine pleaded with the West to fight the “nuclear terror.”
Graham, 66, a South Carolina Republican, made the call to action on Twitter as he compared Putin to Roman dictator Julius Caesar and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” Graham wrote.
“The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.”
Bonus points to Graham for working in not only the obvious Brutus reference but the somewhat more obscure Stauffenberg storyline.
Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?
The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.
You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 4, 2022
As Allahpundit already pointed out, most analysts seem to agree that having a foreign power (the United States) assassinate Putin could very well turn him into a Martyr and lead his eventual replacement to double down on Putin’s policies, including the assault on Ukraine. We have to keep in mind the fact that Putin may be just about the most hated individual on the planet right now in the eyes of the rest of the world, but he has a surprising amount of support in his own country. His approval numbers, even as measured by western polling firms, remain in the sixties or above most of the time. Having a western assassin show up and put him at room temperature would probably backfire and only solidify support for the war at home.
But if one of the local opposition groups did the job, then it would be a strictly internal matter and there might be a renewed debate over the wisdom of invading Ukraine among the Russian people. None of this, as I already mentioned, addresses the question of whether it would even be possible. The general consensus seems to be that Putin has been so isolated during the entire run of COVID that he’s essentially become a paranoid hermit. Unless they can get someone from his innermost circle of personal guards to flip, taking him out could very well prove impossible.
Yesterday we discussed the Wall Street Journal’s analysis of the most likely scenarios in which the war in Ukraine draws to a close. One of those included the possibility of regime change in Russia, either through the work of a Russian assassin or Putin being forced out the door by an ambitious member of the regime. In either of those cases, the west is unlikely to be happy with whoever replaces Putin. It’s not as if Alexey Navalny is suddenly going to be released from prison and be carried into Putin’s old office on the shoulders of grateful Kremlin officials. But the only thing that would really matter in that case is that the replacement takes power based on their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting, crippling economic hardships the country is experiencing.
It’s also worth pointing out that Putin has now shut down virtually every news outlet in Russia that would so much as suggest that maybe this “action” (you’re not allowed to say “invasion” or “war”) in Ukraine might not have been such a great idea. Meanwhile, they play clips with Russian subtitles of every American talking head who takes Putin’s side around the clock. When we have public figures suggesting that Putin needs to be killed, those clips are going to be mainlined into Russian media so they can demonstrate what a dangerous threat the western alliance is and how were must have evil plans to destroy their dear leader. When it comes to the idea of “taking out” Putin, maybe we should just leave the subject alone.