‘Only way this ends’ is to ‘take this guy out’: Is Sen. Graham right about Putin?

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Fact Box

  • On March 3, 2022, Senator Lindsey Graham responded to the attack on Europe’s largest power plant Zaporizhzhia, tweeting, “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.” 
  • Business Insider lists some of the most influential assassinations that have changed history: Rome’s Julius Caesar, President Abraham Lincoln, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Russian Tsar Nicholas II, Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, President John F. Kennedy, and many others
  • The United States, EU, and UK governments have imposed sanctions on Russia limiting the ability to access $630 billion in international reserves, dual-use goods (chemicals and lasers), the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and travel across countries. 
  • In an emergency United Nations General Assembly, 141 countries passed a nonbinding resolution on March 2, 2022, condemning Russia for invading Ukraine with only five countries in opposition: Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea, and Eritrea.
  • Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, “unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks” with condemnation coming from the US, Europe, South Korea, Australia, and other countries.

Curtice (No)

Senator Lindsey Graham came out this week and called on Russians to 'take this guy out,' referring to Vladimir Putin. He even mentioned Brutus, the assassin of Julius Caesar, and German Colonel Stauffenberg, who failed in the plot to assassinate Hitler. That was not one of Graham's finest moments. Encouraging political assassination is hardly a wise decision and certainly not the best course of action. The United States or anyone in government should not be advocating such.

History is replete with either successful assassinations or even failed assassinations or coup attempts that created far greater problems—for instance, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist. Closer to home, the CIA concocted the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in 1961. 

People, especially politicians, like to believe they can control events. Quite often, it is the other way around. Archduke Ferdinand's assassination set off a chain of events that led to World War I. As for the Bay of Pigs, not only was it not successful, but it ended up further strengthening Castro's hold on Cuba, a client-state of the Soviet Union, and emboldening Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union premier. A mere 18 months after the Bay of Pigs, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war with the Cuban Missile Crisis, instigated by Khrushchev.

It is of first importance to recognize, now and always, how critical it is not to embolden authoritarians and totalitarians through displays of weakness. We have done that with Putin now through Biden's energy policies. And historically, the WWI victors did that by appeasing Hitler in the years leading up to World War II and with the Bay of Pigs, as Khrushchev saw American indecisiveness and weakness.  

Ethan (Yes)

A country invades another country under the guise of regaining lost territory. We have seen this type of incident before—World War II. The horrible events happening in Ukraine right now are a repeat of history and not a repeat that will bode well for anyone involved. World War II only ended when Adolf Hitler was no longer in the equation—had been 'taken out,' of the equation, as Sen. Graham put it. It's no secret that the opinion of the Russian people means little to Putin. Still, it has become glaringly obvious now that Putin has refused to leave Ukraine alone despite protests and negative media coverage and condemnation worldwide. Considering Putin's refusal to stop what is clearly the beginning of another war, despite being shamed by Russians, other countries, and having sanctions placed on Russia, it is likely that the only way this fight will end is if Putin is stopped permanently.

While Ukraine has done an unexpectedly good job of holding back Russian troops, they can't do it for much longer. They simply lack the manpower and firearms necessary to protect their country. It won't be much longer before they're unable to continue fighting, and who knows what Putin will do once he has taken Ukraine. This fight will either end with Russia succeeding or Putin being stopped. The world should not continue to tolerate one man who has already killed, wounded, and displaced millions of people, hoping he will suddenly have a change of heart. Or, alternatively, we could learn from history and 'take out' one man, who is suspected of committing war crimes, saving the lives of countless people who don't deserve to have their lives gambled on.

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