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President Carter's Foreign Policy

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Stephanie Schmidt

on 6 April 2016

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Transcript of President Carter's Foreign Policy

Human Rights
Camp David Accords
In the summer of 1978, Carter invited the leaders of Egypt and Israel to Camp David- the presidential retreat in Maryland
After 12 days of intense negotiations, the leaders reached a peace agreement
Summer 1973
Daoud (former PM) launched successful coup v. King Zahir
Backed by pro- Soviet military factions
1/3 active troops trained in USSR
Split government in two
Power was thereafter shared by two Marxist-Leninist political groups, the People’s (Khalq) Party and the Banner (Parcham) Party
Tried to steer away from USSR's influence and towards US to decrease radical elements
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
Only time the USSR invaded a country outside of the Eastern Block
"Intervention" corresponding with Brezhnev Doctrine
held that once a country became socialist, Moscow would never permit it to return to capitalism
President Carter's Foreign Policy
President Carter emphasized foreign policy based on human rights
Carter's human rights policy aroused global concern and helped make human rights an international issue
From the start of his administration, Carter pursued intense negotiations with Arab and Israeli leaders hoping to seek an end to the dispute
Progress being made to reconvene Geneva Conference was shaken when Israel- moderate party lost election to conservative Menachem Begin
Camp David Accords
September 5- 17, 1978
April 1978
Khlaq faction killed Daoud and family took power
Despite being communist, Carter supported recognition
December 24, 1979
USSR sent in 30,000 troops and toppled the short-lived presidency of People’s leader Amin
The aim of the Soviet operation was to prop up their new but faltering client state, now headed by Banner leader Babrak Karmal, but Karmal was unable to attain significant popular support.
US Response
US responded by sending aid to Mujahideen
rebellion spread
Amin assassinated Taraki and Soviets built troops on border
US was skeptical that USSR would fully take over
US economic sanctions and trade embargo towards USSR
US boycotted 1980 Olympics
US increased aid to insurgents
10 years, millions of lives, billions of dollars
The Soviet Union intervened in support of the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anticommunist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War (1978–92)
Remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
The new government had little popular support
forged close ties with the Soviet Union
launched ruthless purges of all domestic opposition
began extensive land and social reforms that were bitterly resented by the devoutly Muslim and largely anticommunist population.
Insurgencies arose against the government among both tribal and urban groups, and all of these—known collectively as the mujahideen—were Islamic in orientation.
The Afghan War quickly settled down into a stalemate
By 1982 some 2.8 million Afghans had sought asylum in Pakistan, and another 1.5 million had fled to Iran.
The mujahideen were eventually able to neutralize Soviet air power through the use of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles supplied by the United States.
The war in Afghanistan became a quagmire
By the late 1980s the Soviet Union was disintegrating.
In 1988 the Soviet Union signed an accord with the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and agreed to withdraw its troops.
Iran Hostage Crisis
On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic revolutionaries overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 Americans hostage.
Last year of Carter's presidency
The Iranian Revolution
December 31, 1977: President Carter toasted the Shah at a state dinner in Tehran, calling him "an island of stability" in the troubled Middle East.
Shah's "anti- Islamic" government was in opposition
The popular movement against the Shah grew until January 16, 1979, when he fled to Egypt.
Two weeks later, Khomeini returned to Iran after fourteen years in exile.
The Crisis
Should the US encourage the Shah to suppress the revolution?
Or should Carter reach out to opposition elements in order to smooth the transition to a new government?
They did neither.
The Crisis
Shah was suffering from cancer
US didn't allow him in for fear of reprisal against Americans still in Iran
Carter eventually let him in
"He went around the room, and most of us said, 'Let him in.' And he said, 'And if [the Iranians] take our employees in our embassy hostage, then what would be your advice?' And the room just fell dead. No one had an answer to that. Turns out, we never did."
-Vice President Walter Mondale
November 4, 1979
Students overran the embassy and seized more than sixty Americans
Khomeini saw a chance to consolidate his power around a potent symbol, and issued a statement in support of the action against the American "den of spies."
The students vowed not to release the Americans until the U.S. returned the Shah for trial, along with billions of dollars they claimed he had stolen from the Iranian people.
Carter's Response
November 11:
US embargoed Iranian oil
military action too risky
November 17:
Khomeini announced that female, African American, and non-U.S. citizen hostages would be released, because women and minorities already suffered "the oppression of American society."
Fifty-three Americans remained as hostages.
"No one can know how much pressure there was on Jimmy to do something. I would go out and campaign and come back and say, 'Why don't you do something?' And he said, 'What would you want me to do?' I said, 'Mine the harbors.' He said, 'Okay, suppose I mine the harbors, and they decide to take one hostage out every day and kill him. What am I going to do then?'"
-Rosalynn Carter
Desert One
April 11, 1980:
Carter approved a high-risk rescue operation
Had to abort the mission due to three malfunctioning helicopters.
When another helicopter crashed into a C-130 transport plane while taking off, eight servicemen were killed and three more were injured.
"Because people felt that Carter had not been tough enough in foreign policy, this kind of symbolized for them that some bunch of students could seize American diplomatic officials and hold them prisoner and thumb their nose at the United States."
- Peter Bourne
(Carter advisor and biographer)
The Hostages' Release
September: Khomeini's government decided it was time to end the matter.
Rumors that Carter might pull out an "October Surprise" and get the hostages home before the election
Negotiations dragged on for months
Carter's all-night effort to bring the 52 hostages home before the end of his term fell short
Iranians released the hostages minutes after Reagan was inaugurated.
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