Public calls for the assassination of a foreign leader when we're not even at war is a pretty bad idea, actually.
As of 11:30 am on Friday morning, the United States is not at war with Russia. It does not, by all indications, plan to go to war with Russia. American officials have in fact gone out of their way to stress that they are expressly trying to avoid a war between the United States and Russia, because that would be cataclysmically bad for pretty much everyone on Earth.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the U.S. has gone to great lengths not to enter into a shooting war with Russia, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham took it upon himself this week to call for the sort of dramatic escalation that would almost certainly result in things getting much, much worse before they ever could hope to get even moderately better.
Beyond the obvious problems with calling for the assassination of a foreign leader with whom the U.S. is expressly not at war, Graham’s unsolicited murder-musings are even worse when you consider that much of Russian history can be seen as an exercise in catastrophic assassinations and the unintended chaos that follows the sudden death of autocratic leaders; The Narodnaya Volya bombing of reformist Tzar Alexander II paved the way for Alexander III’s autocratic regime and its viciously anti-semitic May Laws; Stalin’s consolidation of power following Lenin’s death was as bloody as it was absolute — and his unexpected death resulted in a chaotic scramble so absurd it was turned into a comedy decades later (to say nothing of the fact that it nearly left bona fide psychopathic mass murderer Lavrentiy Beria in charge of a global superpower). If Graham is looking for historical antecedents to justify his demand for a bloody coup, then perhaps he should actually read up on the history of the country he’s talking about.
Student of history that he is, however, Graham did manage to shoehorn in some of his good ol’ fashioned Donald Trump sycophancy alongside his frenetic saber-rattling on Thursday.
Incredibly, Graham’s comments managed to unite pretty much everyone in their condemnation of what was roundly seen as a wholly unhinged call for violent escalation.
“Unfortunately, in such an extremely tense atmosphere, there is a hysterical escalation of Russophobia,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. “These days, not everyone manages to maintain sobriety, I would even say sanity, and many lose their mind.”
Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz meanwhile called it an “incredibly bad idea” and even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — a woman who cheered on an attempted violent overthrow of the U.S. Government on January 6 — seemed to think Graham’s words were a bridge too far:
Graham, however, reiterated his call for violence on Friday during an interview with Fox News, insisting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “destroying Russia and you need to take this guy out by any means possible.”
Uh, thanks for the advice, sir.