An Offer Castro Couldn't Refuse - or Survive

The facts of the international scene have changed drastically in the last few years, but not many conservative pundits have changed their minds.

Issue: Summer 1996

One of the regular features in the lively new English magazine, Prospect, is called "Previous Convictions." In it, a contributor is invited each month to explain how and why he came to change his opinion on some issue. Introducing the series at the top of the page is a tart remark by John Maynard Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Keynes' question is one that could usefully be put just now to many conservative pundits on U.S. foreign policy. The "facts" of the international scene have changed drastically in the last few years; how much changing of mind has accompanied this transformation? Regrettably, in many instances the answer would have to be: Not much. Instead, what has been evident is the all too familiar phenomenon of people responding to change by energetically digging deeper into entrenched positions, pausing as they do so only to complain about the inconstancy of those who refuse to follow their example.

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