The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere
Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina
Publication Year: 2013
During the first quarter-century of the Cold War, upholding human rights was rarely a priority in U.S. policy toward Latin America. Seeking to protect U.S. national security, American policymakers quietly cultivated relations with politically ambitious Latin American militaries—a strategy clearly evident in the Ford administration’s tacit support of state-sanctioned terror in Argentina following the 1976 military coup d’état. By the mid-1970s, however, the blossoming human rights movement in the United States posed a serious threat to the maintenance of close U.S. ties to anticommunist, right-wing military regimes.
The competition between cold warriors and human rights advocates culminated in a fierce struggle to define U.S. policy during the Jimmy Carter presidency. In The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere, William Michael Schmidli argues that Argentina emerged as the defining test case of Carter’s promise to bring human rights to the center of his administration’s foreign policy. Entering the Oval Office at the height of the kidnapping, torture, and murder of tens of thousands of Argentines by the military government, Carter set out to dramatically shift U.S. policy from subtle support to public condemnation of human rights violation. But could the administration elicit human rights improvements in the face of a zealous military dictatorship, rising Cold War tension, and domestic political opposition? By grappling with the disparate actors engaged in the struggle over human rights, including civil rights activists, second-wave feminists, chicano/a activists, religious progressives, members of the New Right, conservative cold warriors, and business leaders, Schmidli utilizes unique interviews with U.S. and Argentine actors as well as newly declassified archives to offer a telling analysis of the rise, efficacy, and limits of human rights in shaping U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War.
Published by: Cornell University Press
The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere
Download PDF (114.6 KB)
All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher. For information, address Cornell University Press, Sage House, The fate of freedom elsewhere : human rights and U.S. Cold War policy 1. United States—Foreign relations—Argentina. 2. Argentina—Foreign ...
Download PDF (36.9 KB)
First, I would like to thank my editor at Cornell University Press, Michael Mc-Gandy. Michael showed patience, professionalism, and enthusiasm throughout the publication process. I also thank Fredrik Logevall for his invaluable encour-agement and engagement in my research; Raymond Craib for deepening my in-terest in Latin American history and for pushing me to seek a balance between ...
Introduction: Human Rights and the Cold War
Download PDF (59.4 KB)
Jimmy Carter’s victory in the 1976 presidential election was a defining moment for U.S. foreign policy. Over the previous quarter century, Cold War national security concerns had dominated U.S. relations with the developing world. It was an approach particularly evident in U.S. policy toward Latin America; guided by visceral anticommunism combined with an abiding fear of Latin American ...
1. From Counterinsurgency to State-Sanctioned Terror: Waging the Cold War in Latin America
Download PDF (126.0 KB)
The 1976 Argentine coup d’état was a swift and bloodless affair. On the official television network, the Sunday afternoon soccer match was followed by an uninterrupted World War II documentary, and most Argentines were unaware that the military had arrested President Isabel Martinez de Perón until the rul-ing junta was firmly ensconced in power. 1 When the commanders of the three ...
2. The “Third World War”: U.S.-Argentine Relations, 1960–1976
Download PDF (158.0 KB)
Counterrevolutionary training in Argentina was well under way by the time John F. Kennedy began promoting internal security as the primary Latin American military mission in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution. In fact, Argentine training programs for regional military officers preceded the development of sim-ilar U.S. programs focusing on counterinsurgency. Although sharing Washing-...
3. “Human Rights Is Suddenly Chic”: The Rise of The Movement,1970–1976
Download PDF (153.8 KB)
News of Olga Talamante’s kidnapping reached her parents by telephone in mid-November 1974. The call, dialed by a friend in Azul, Argentina, to the elder Tala-mantes’ residence in Salinas, California, was brief, the details agonizingly vague. There had been a gathering, a classic Argentine asado, a daylong barbecue held as a kind of despedida for Talamante as she prepared to return to the United States ...
4. “Total Immersion in All the Horrors of the World”: The Carter Administration and Human Rights, 1977–1978
Download PDF (202.0 KB)
Three days after the first anniversary of the Argentine military coup against Isabel Perón, a passenger jet carrying Patricia Derian touched down on the tar-mac at Ezeiza International Airport. Met by U.S. officials and ushered into an embassy car, President Carter’s newly appointed Department of State coordina-tor for human rights and humanitarian affairs was whisked to the United States ...
5. On the Offensive: Human Rights in U.S.-Argentine Relations, 1978–1979
Download PDF (194.3 KB)
In the fall of 1977, a tall, gregarious junior foreign service officer hailing from west Texas arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. Selected to serve as the embassy’s external affairs officer, Franklin A. “Tex” Harris had attended briefings in Washington, DC, on issues such as nuclear proliferation, Ar-gentine actions in the United Nations, and the disputed Falkland/Malvinas ...
6. “Tilting against Gray-Flannel Windmills”: U.S.-Argentine Relations, 1979–1980
Download PDF (155.5 KB)
Patricia Derian’s frustration was palpable. “Unless things change I’ll probably resign in a few days, over a major policy disagreement,” the assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs informed the New York Times reporter Ann Crittenden in late May 1980. Having spearheaded U.S. efforts to promote human rights in Argentina for the previous three years, Derian was ...
Conclusion: Carter, Reagan, and the Human Rights Revolution
Download PDF (87.2 KB)
In the opening months of Ronald Reagan’s tenure in the White House, human rights advocates’ fear that the new administration would systematically uproot the hard-won advances to institutionalize human rights in U.S. foreign policy appeared to be borne out. Reagan’s vehement anticommunism and determina-tion to reverse perceived Soviet advances harkened back to the uncompromising ...
Download PDF (40.3 KB)
Ball, George W., Papers. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University. Drinan, Robert F., Papers. John J. Burns Library, Boston College. Fraser, Donald M., Papers, 1951–1995. Minnesota Historical Society. Hill, Robert C., Papers. Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College. Hill, Robert Charles, Papers, 1942–1978. Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford Uni-...
Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013