It's time that the UN was given the power to assassinate world leaders.
As much as I've criticized George W. in this blog, I do agree with him about one thing: a head of state ought not to have the right to murder groups of his own citizenry. When a Hitler begins killing Jews, or Pol Pot begins to wipe out a quarter of Cambodia's population, or a Saddam begins killing Kurds, or when Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe begins to kill and imprison opposition party members, there ought to be a way for the world community to quickly intervene.
It seems like the two other options for dealing with this situation are simply immoral. The world community could bemoan the loss of life and do nothing. That's certainly an option we've chosen most often. Or the world community could launch an invasion, overthrow the government of the offending leader, perhaps even try and execute the leader. As we know too well, that, too, can create complications and can result in tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of innocent war casualties.
And perhaps it is just the eighth-grader in me coming out, but how hard could it be for the UN to use some combination of laser-guided bombs, hit squads, or poisoned quail eggs to execute an abusive leader? It has to be easier than either letting him commit genocide or sending in an army to topple his regime.
And if the rules were clear - if these world leaders who would imprison opposition leaders or would kill particular groups of their people know that there was a simple and clear consequence for such abuses - they might restrain themselves even when they’ve seized absolute power.
I realize that there are numerous complications that would come from such a policy. How does the UN decide? What happens when the next leader is just as bad or worse? These are just a couple of the questions raised by such a policy, but, again, it seems to me that these questions are less troublesome than the questions raised by passively witnessing abuse or actively occupying foreign countries.
It's not clear that such a power could rest with a single country like the US or Russia, or even a small group of countries like the G-8. Although it would make approval an administrative quagmire, it seems like the moral authority for assassinating a world leader could only come from an international body like the United Nations.
If we are serious about human rights as a global right and if we're practical about our inability to invade and occupy every despotic regime, it seems like we have no other choice.