In another provocation that could lead to a nuclear war, Senator Lindsey Graham has once again called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be assassinated, saying that the only way the war in Ukraine could end is if Russia “breaks” and someone “takes Putin out.”
“How does this war end? When Russia breaks, and they take Putin out. Anything short of that, the war’s gonna continue,” Graham said on the Fox News program America Reports on Wednesday.
The suggestion from a high-ranking official that the United States might support his assassination — covertly, tacitly, or openly — could make Putin more aggressive, reckless, and cruel, according to foreign policy experts and officials at the Pentagon.
Graham said the US is “in it to win it, and the only way you’re gonna win it is to break the Russian military and have somebody in Russia take Putin out to give the Russian people a new lease on life.”
When asked to what extent the US should continue to support Ukraine in the war, Graham replied, “completely, all in without equivocation.”
He said the US needs to provide Ukraine with longer-range weapons to help “dislodge” Russia from areas of eastern Ukraine, including Crimea.
Graham said if Ukraine had larger drones, such as Reapers and Gray Eagles, Ukraine would “kill tons of Russians without losing any Ukrainians in the endeavor.”
Ukraine has asked for the flying killer robots, which can stay aloft for about 30 hours and are capable of carrying powerful Hellfire Missiles, but the Biden administration has held off from sending them so far, citing Pentagon concerns that if they fall in the wrong hands by being shot down, it could jeopardize US capabilities.
There are also concerns that increasing the weapons capability beyond defensive tools would be like adding fuel to the fire, which could result in a global conflict.
President Joe Biden recently said the world is closer to a nuclear conflagration than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Graham was rebuked by lawmakers from across the political spectrum after calling for the assassination of Putin in March, but his desire to look tough apparently exceeds any sense of responsibility and strategy (because if nobody who really wanted to kill Putin would telegraph that intention by talking about it on Fox News).
The hawkish senator made similar comments back in March when he asked if there was a “Brutus” in Russia who could kill Putin. In his comments on Wednesday, Graham also said the Biden administration should send Ukraine the advanced and long-range weapons that Kyiv has been asking for.
“This guy was the chief apologist and enabler for an autocrat who called Putin a genius on the eve of invasion and sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence over his assault on American democracy,” said Ben Rhodes, one of former President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy staffers, referring to Graham’s defense of former President Donald Trump.
Graham’s rhetoric is an illustration of how Republicans have learned to say something that makes them look tougher than their political opponents rather than contribute to an intelligent discussion about an extremely complex situation with no easy or satisfying options.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who defended Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold military aid from Ukraine to corruptly extort Zelensky, used the leader’s speech to attack Biden for not providing Polish fighter jets, which U.S. intelligence agencies warn could escalate a direct Russia-NATO conflict.