in A precarious equilibrium
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The introduction provides a general overview of the book and its main ideas. It details three specific concepts. First, it argues that Carter’s human rights diplomacy should be understood in the bipolar context. Second, it points out that détente and human rights intertwined and overlapped in unexpected, ambiguous and contradictory ways. In particular, it argues that the Carter administration tried to develop a human rights policy that was complementary and functional to détente: through a firm stance on Soviet violations of human rights, Carter sought to legitimate détente within the United States, where it was increasingly questioned. Finally, it explains that Carter’s political balance between détente and human rights soon revealed itself unable to simultaneously satisfy both the Soviets and the American public.

A precarious equilibrium

Human rights and détente in Jimmy Carter’s Soviet policy


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