Social Scientist. v 10, no. 109 (June 1982) p. 38.


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MANOJ K JOSH I*

The (< Human Rights Phase ) of American Foreign Policy

THE short history of the Carter Administration can be divided into two phases. The first phase began with his quest as an "outsider" to the Washington establishment. Carter's theme in the post-Watergate America was that a government can be "honest, decent, open, fair, and compassionate". Looking at the crisis-ridden system. Carter, the ex-nuclear engineer and successful peanut farmer, also promised that it could be "competent". Seeking the highest office in the land, Carter espoused "morality-in-politics" and sought to draw a curtain on an era of deceit and untrustworthiness. The early seventies had seen the collapse of the Nixon Presidency in Watergate, the defeat in Vietnam, the C I A revelations and an all-pervading economic crisis that had breached the ideological consensus that had marked American foreign and domestic policies since 1945. It was the appeal of a man untainted by Washington, openly flaunting his commitment to morality and openness that convinced most Americans that this was the man who could best heal the wounds of the nation. The second phase began almost within a year of his assumption of office. The continuing intractability of domestic issues, notably the economy, the conduct of foreign policy as well as the scandals surrounding his appointees, ended the traditional "honeymoon9 period of the President with his nation.

Tn the realm of foreign policy, the first phase saw Carter's "morality-in-politics" view being sought to be grafted upon the international scene in a "human rights" campaign. A study of this phase and its failure will help us in arriving at an understanding of the failure of Carter's foreign policy as a whole. The issue of foreign policy and the failure of the Administration became a major issue in the 1980 campaign. A right-wing attack on his foreign policy gained enormous credibility and contributed enormously in projecting to the office of President a man diametrically opposed to Jimmy Carter in his stated conceptual view of American policy.

Supporters of the ex-President have adduced a host of reasons for the failure of the Carter foreign policy. Most of them assert

^Rcs'dent Scliolai, Aniel nan Studies Re^caith Centio, -H>dcjdbad.



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