One of the mysteries of military history which I am unable to decipher is why assassination was so uncommon.
In theory, it should be possible (and at least a worthwhile option) to threaten an aggressive leader with assassination in case he attacks one's country. The legend of Gaius Mucius Scaevola is a rare example of this actually being used as an option.
I understand assassination was frowned upon between kings; they effectively banned it in their collective interest. To resort to it as a tool in a crisis would not have helped, since he outrage about the act would only have added enemies and would have diminished options for exile.
Yet why did societies not involved in this not come up with much more assassinations while facing aggression by a power with centralised power and possibly an entire ruler's family to aim at?
Why do errorists wage a campaign aimed at scaring and killing randomly, instead of executing an assassination campaign against foreign political opponents? There are hundreds of warmongers, think tankers, politicians, war profiteer CEOs to aim at - it's impossible to protect them all. This mystery is even deeper since the U.S. is already waging an assassination campaign against some of its enemies - which for this reason don't need to fear any additional retaliation at all.
OK, maybe the point of errorists isn't to 'win' by forcing their enemy into passivity, but to keep the troubles going. Still, why aren't assassination attempts against entire ruling elites the normal reaction to aggressions?
Are motivations of defenders too primitive for such aimed action, is assassination too frowned upon, is it too difficult to pull off and the smart-enough ones prefer to not risk their lives?
Would it be possible to establish assassination as a strategic deterrence strategy for a small power?
Could a series of almost-assassinations with intentional duds or intentionally non-lethal dosages serve as a warning when an international crisis heats up? Could this be enlarged by aiming at economic targets instead of natural persons alone? What would it take to become credible in this regard other than successful mock assassinations?
Could such a deterrence strategy be widened towards prevention and preemption? Imagine warmonger politicians dying of heart failure and genius generals dying in car crashes.
Maybe this could be done less conspicuously with character assassinations; the same people likely do something which the public would disapprove off - maybe visits by high-priced escorts?
All in all, I wonder why deterrence and defence are so very much military-centric, instead of aiming more directly at the real troublemakers (the aggressive powers that be) rather than their proxies (the attacking troops).
The conclusion's line of thought should not be alien to long-time Defence and Freedom readers..