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precarious equilibrium

Human rights and detente in Jimmy Carter's Soviet policy

Carter envisioned his Soviet policy moving along two interdependent tracks that should have formed a "e;virtuous circle"e;. He aimed to renew the American ideological challenge through human rights and to persuade the Soviets to ease internal repression to strengthen Congressional support for detente and arms control. Les mer
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Carter envisioned his Soviet policy moving along two interdependent tracks that should have formed a "e;virtuous circle"e;. He aimed to renew the American ideological challenge through human rights and to persuade the Soviets to ease internal repression to strengthen Congressional support for detente and arms control. In turn, continuing the bipolar dialogue, the administration aimed to promote human rights further in the USSR. Contrary to what he envisioned, Carter was caught between Scylla and Charybdis. The more vigorously the White House pursued human rights in bipolar relations, the more the Soviets lost interest in detente; the more the administration relegated human rights to quiet diplomacy, the more critics within the United States accused the President of abandoning his commitment to human rights. Trapped in this contradiction, Carter lost both the opportunity to renew detente and to build lasting domestic support.

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