What If? The JFK Assassination
What if, after the Bay of Pigs debacle and the Cuban missile crisis, those people who assassinated President Kennedy knew, and knew correctly, just how dangerous he was to the existing regime and their power therein? That is, they realized that JFK had deliberately “tanked” the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba so he could, ultimately, lay the blame on the CIA, along with himself, in order to try to subvert that agency and its brand of covert warfare. JFK, they realized, would do his best to break up the CIA into a thousand pieces, as he had claimed once he wished to do.
Their fears were confirmed by how JFK handled the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, which accompanied a much broader Soviet military buildup there. When JFK refused to launch air strikes against Cuba, to be followed up with a massive invasion as recommended by the military, it was clear to his enemies that he was seeking regime change in the United States, while resisting it in Cuba. That this was his desire was fortified by Kennedy’s address at American University, in which he called for an end to the Cold War by way of having Americans think of and act toward the USSR as a nation composed of people just like Americans, people who share the same desires as Americans, peace, prosperity, and security. Such a mindset would undermine the reasons behind and the impetus driving the Cold War.
And given that Kennedy seemed to have found an “accomplice” in Nikita Khrushchev, he, Kennedy, seemed even more dangerously disposed against the existing Cold War regime and its power brokers. That Khrushchev was also eventually deposed after the missile crisis suggests that he too was perceived as a threat to the existing Soviet regime, a perception fortified by Khrushchev’s “outing” of Stalin and his crimes. As the Chinese Communists said, Khrushchev was “unorthodox.”
So, then the assassination of JFK was not seen by its perpetrators as an irrational or even a criminal act. While necessarily a covert act, it was a rational and a patriotic act, an act to be privately proud of because it protected what was deemed essential to the national security of the United States, the continuation of the Cold War. That war’s goal was the destruction of the USSR, a goal, by the way, that was ultimately accomplished. Those who deemed themselves patriotic enough to assassinate a president might even have gloated privately at their success. To paraphrase what Zbigniew Brzezinski said about supporting “a few irritable drug dealing mujahideen,” “What’s so bad about a presidential assassination if it ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union?”