Saved Anthologies

Foreign Affairs Anthology Series

Best International Relations Books of 2013


All anthologies are free when you subscribe

The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy Toward Argentina

In This Review

The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina
By William Michael Schmidli
Cornell University Press, 2013
272 pp. $39.95

As U.S. President Jimmy Carter entered the White House in 1977, determined to restore purposeful idealism to U.S. foreign policy, a brutal military dictatorship in Argentina was systematically torturing and murdering thousands of suspected leftists. In his fast-paced, engrossing account, Schmidli chronicles the fierce internal struggles within the White House and the State Department, where political appointees dedicated to transforming Carter’s idealism into concrete policies battled career diplomats accustomed to maintaining cordial relations with anticommunist regimes such as Argentina’s. Schmidli concludes that, despite subsequent policy vacillations, the United States extracted some important concessions from the Argentine junta, saving many lives. More broadly, the Carter team succeeded in institutionalizing human rights in U.S. foreign policy: after some early backsliding, the Reagan administration deemed democracy promotion the core of its Argentina policy, which Schmidli describes as an “unmistakable validation for U.S. human rights advocates’ struggle.” Drawing on declassified documents and personal interviews, Schmidli paints colorful portraits of key players in the policy debates. More interviews of Argentines would have rounded out the picture. But this very valuable study also underscores the vital roles of human rights activists and Congress in laying the foundations for Carter’s diplomatic offensive.

Enjoy more high quality articles like this one.

Become a Subscriber

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now

More Reviews on Western Hemisphere From This Issue

Browse All Capsule Reviews

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.