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Monday, March 14, 2022


 Many Americans want to assassinate Putin.  At Politico, Steven Kinzer writes:

We’ve tried it repeatedly. Often we have failed, but even when we seem to have succeeded, the long-term consequences have been terrible. An order from the Oval Office to assassinate a foreign leader would not break a taboo. It would only be the latest in a series of self-defeating blunders.

So far as is known, Dwight Eisenhower was the first president to order such assassinations. He began by targeting Premier Zhou Enlai of China. During the 1950s, Eisenhower and nearly every other policymaker in Washington considered the “Red Chinese” to be maniacal fanatics bent on world conquest. When Zhou announced in 1955 that he would travel to Bandung, Indonesia, for a momentous conference of Asian and African leaders, the CIA saw a chance to kill him. Zhou chartered an Air India jet for his flight to Bandung. It exploded in midair, killing 16 passengers. But Zhou had not boarded. China called it “murder by the special service organizations of the United States.”


Americans are impatient by nature. We want quick solutions, even to complex problems. That makes killing a foreign leader seem like a good way to end a war. Every time we have tried it, though, we’ve failed — whether or not the target falls. Morality and legality aside, it doesn’t work. Castro thrived on his ability to survive American plots. In the Congo, almost everything that has happened since Lumumba’s murder has been awful.