Here’s the thought experiment I’ve been playing with this morning: Take your political* Head of State and place her or him in the centre of the region of their own country that shows the most opposition to their government or administration, with no security detail or special physical protection. The question is, would said HoS then be murdered? Here are my subjective thoughts on a few places I know something about and/or watch closely, add your own if you like.
The UK: No. Cameron would have a very rough time and plenty of verbal haranguing, but physical violence would be unlikely.
Canada: Ditto. Many people hate Harper, but they’re unlikely to get medieval on the guy.
France: No. More likely they’d end up inviting Hollande to dinner and launching into deep debate in order to convince him of the error of his ways, with consensus over at least a couple of items reached over the calvados and cheese.
Argentina: No and for three reasons: Argentines talk more aggressively than they act re. politics, there are too many people who ID themselves as Peronists that will hate CFK’s style but agree on baseline substance, plus as a country they’re culturally very respectful towards women.
Peru: No. Ollanta hasn’t screwed up people’s lives (so far). He may have ignored people who he said he’d help since coming to power and there is plenty of resentment over certain issues, but people’s justice wouldn’t carry to murder.
Colombia: Tough call frankly, it’s the one I’ve been debating over more than any other. Santos may be in mortal danger in the unfettered company of far-lefties or far-righties there, but I’d guess the potential of his murder would first be used as some sort of bargaining chip in a wider deal (or non-deal). There’s an element of cold and calculated in this one, unlikely to be an instant, hot-blooded killing.
The USA: Yes. A stereotyped collective negro lynch mob death probably wouldn’t happen, but the chances that one nutbar or a group of them consider it their patriotic duty to remove a powerful black democrat from the face of the planet are very high. The free availability of nasty weapons, the window of opportunity and the archetype individualistic, fractured society of self-importance all point in the same direction.
Mexico: Yes. Plonk Peña Nieto in front of the narco groups that he’s been trying to dismantle and the only debate would be the way in which he’s to die, including the amount of pre-death pain his executioner would inflict just for fun.
Venezuela: Yes. Maduro would be dead in less than a minute.
*Mrs Queen of Windsor doesn’t count