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Principles in PowerLatin America and the Politics of U.S. Human Rights Diplomacy$
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Vanessa Walker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501713682

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501713682.001.0001

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Weighing the Costs

Weighing the Costs

Human Rights and U.S.-Argentine Relations

(p.154) Chapter 4 Weighing the Costs
Principles in Power

Vanessa Walker

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the Carter administration's approach to Argentina, driven by a rich interaction between advocates and government officials in Buenos Aires and Washington. Argentina was the site of some of the Carter administration's most sustained and vigorous human rights efforts, yet it also revealed the limits of influence and competing priorities among administration officials and U.S. human rights groups. In Argentina, tensions arose around the dual objectives of U.S. policy: to defend human rights by distancing itself from dictatorships and to engage with repressive regimes to improve specific human rights problems. The Carter administration had built its foreign policy around the premise that the promotion and support of human rights would serve the national interest by building the United States' stature and influence in the international system. With Argentina, however, its human rights initiatives increasingly appeared to conflict with other national interests, particularly economic growth and new security concerns. With a struggling economy at home, the potential loss of trade and jobs due to human rights legislation curtailing international investment led some to question how this policy served the national interest.

Keywords:   Carter administration, Argentina, U.S.–Argentine Relations, U.S. human rights groups, U.S. policy, foreign policy, human rights initiatives, human rights legislation

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