Vietnam War: What If JFK Hadn’t Been Assassinated? (NPR)



In a story about how the history of the Vietnam War might have played out had John F. Kennedy not been assassinated, NPR’s Here and Now turns for comment to Associate Professor of History Edward Miller, the author of Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam.

What if? That’s one of the main questions about Kennedy, who was assassinated 50 years ago this month. One of the biggest “ifs” is what would have happened regarding the Vietnam War if he had lived,” notes NPR.

“I don’t think he would have taken the path of massive escalation that Johnson did; however, I don’t think he would have opted for an immediate withdrawal either,” Miller tells NPR. “I suspect that Kennedy would have chosen some kind of middle course and I think that he might well have done something not unlike what Barack Obama would later do in Afghanistan in 2009. In Afghanistan, of course, Obama chose short-term escalation, followed by a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.

“Having done this, I can also imagine Kennedy trying to seek some sort of negotiated deal, some sort of settlement that would have allowed for the so-called ‘neutralization of South Vietnam.’ ”

Listen to the full story, broadcast 11/18/13 on NPR.

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