A ‘decapitation blow’

Irina Alksnis

Sergei Lavrov commented on the information that Washington is considering a “decapitation blow” against the Kremlin, that is, the physical elimination of the Russian president, among the measures to counter Russia.
The corresponding insider was published at the end of September by Newsweek magazine. Then it was connected with the hysteria promoted by the West itself that Moscow was about to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine . Moreover, the voluptuousness with which Western officials and the media discussed this topic leaves no doubt that this was a very desirable development of events for them and, in fact, they tried to provoke the Russian leadership to take the appropriate step. It was at that time that “military sources” in the Pentagon told Newsweek reporters that among the options under discussion for a US “strong response” was the assassination of Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, the Russian Foreign Minister returned to this topic and noted that “if such ideas are actually hatched by someone, this someone should think very carefully about the possible consequences of such plans.”
True, there is no certainty that his warning will be heard across the ocean. The Americans are enjoying the current format of the war with Russia too much and believe that it is not only beneficial for them, but, in fact, makes them invulnerable: the States are convinc-ed that they have picked up the master key to the global security system that has de-veloped after World War II.
The problem of the assassination of the head of state by another state – a geopolitical adversary, has a dual character in world history and politics. On the one hand, according to all written and unwritten rules, this is considered absolutely unacceptable, even when it comes to openly warring countries. On the other hand, the reality is much more complicated. The clearest example here is Fidel Castro , against whom the States organized dozens of assassination attempts – and this is practically not hidden by them.
Here, of course, one could attack the United States with angry moralizing revelations, but in fact the fact of their attempts on Castro reveals the wrong side of the historically established veto on the assassinations of heads of state. It is not at all a matter of moral considerations or some kind of nobility of the great powers. Everything is much simpler and more pragmatic, if not cynical: the idea to kill the leader of a rival power can arise from the state (and, as the Newsweek publication showed, it does) when it is impossible to win by other methods. But this usually happens when it comes to opponents close in strength, and in such a case, the act of retaliation is guaranteed to be so painful for the initiator that it immediately discourages resorting to such methods.
This principle reached its apogee with the advent of nuclear weapons. The USA and the USSR could converge in an extremely tough confrontation, but everyone knew that in the event of, for example, an attempt by the CIA on the General Secretary of the CPSU in Moscow, the red button would be immediately pressed. Therefore, such an option, by definition, was not in the methods that were used during the Cold War.
In the case of Fidel Castro, this principle did not work – Cuba did not have the opportunity to inflict unacceptable damage on the United States in response to the hypothetical assassination of its leader. Therefore, the Americans felt that they had a completely free hand in this matter, and this was far from being limited to the Cuban leader.
Thanks to nuclear weapons, modern Russia inherited from the USSR both the inviolability of its leaders and the impossibility of using other “unconventional” methods of geopolitical struggle against the country itself. And it is obvious that the further the process of disintegration of the unipolar world and the loss of its hegemony by the United States, the more they are annoyed by the existing restrictions.
However, over the current year, Washington seems to have become convinced that it has found a way around the rules. When people talk about the hybrid nature of the current war of the West against Russia and about Ukraine as its proxy weapon, they usually mean the events in the war zone. But in fact, everything is much more complicated and larger.
In particular, in recent months, Russian infrastructural and military facilities, including in the depths of our territory, have been under terrorist strikes, which clearly follow the Ukrainian trail. A couple of days ago, while repelling a drone attack, three servicemen were killed at the airfield in Engels. However, not just military aircraft are based there. This is the airfield of our strategic aviation, which, in turn, is part of the Russian nuclear triad, that is, in fact, there was an attack on the infrastructure of nuclear deterrence.
Such an act by any nuclear power would be an unconditional casus belli with corresponding consequences. But here the US seems to have nothing to do with what is happening. That is, even if it is proved that the perpetrators are active servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and carried out the direct order of the command, formally the West is not involved in the attack and is not responsible for what happened. This means that retribution should fall only on Kiev , and the Atlanticists will be the happier, the larger and tougher it is – and at least raze and glaze all of Ukraine to the ground.
Hence the seemingly absurd American bravado – through the media to threaten to kill the head of a nuclear power. It simply implies that the States will act through proxy, from which it will be necessary to ask. Hence the amazing frankness of anonymous officials and the military with journalists, when the Anglo-Saxons not only do not hide, but actually flaunt their role as a puppeteer in relation to Ukraine. They are terribly proud that they have created such an effective puppet. They sincerely believe that Russia will not start a global nuclear apocalypse because of the Ukrainians, no matter what they do, and it is pointless to hit Ukraine itself in such situations, since the true interests and organizers remain invulnerable.
It is natural that in this picture of the world, Ukraine appears to Washington as the absolute weapon that will allow the United States not only to defeat Russia, but also to achieve its main goal – the “end of history” and the preservation of its own global hegemony forever and ever.
However, as they say, it was smooth on paper. Self-admiration blinds the eyes of the United States and does not allow a sober assessment of reality. And it lies in the fact that absolute weapons do not exist. There is not and cannot be anything final and unchanging in the world, and for any cunning plan there is always a more effective one.