Jimmy Carter: Foreign Policy and Post-Presidential Years

Jimmy Carter: Foreign Policy and Post-Presidential Years

Jimmy Carter: Foreign Policy and Post-Presidential Years

Jimmy Carter: Foreign Policy and Post-Presidential Years

Synopsis

President Jimmy Carter, like all his predecessors since World War II, experienced the blurring of lines between foreign and domestic policy, while, paradoxically, the contrasts between those lines became more pronounced. This volume examines the high points of the Carter foreign policy approach--human rights, working with the developing world, and the efforts for peace in the Middle East--as well as the low points such as his failure to free the hostages in Iran. In addition, the volume examines President Carter's career since leaving office.

Excerpt

This volume of proceedings of Hofstra University's Conference on the Carter residency brings together the work of ten of the conference panels. Eight of these deal with foreign policy, testimony to the prominence of those concerns in the Carter years, and to the hazards and opportunities the Carter administration faced.

The panels have been organized under six topical part headings. A suitable introduction characterizing the contents has been provided for each part.

It has long been asserted that the American presidency is a divided one: that in the foreign policy arena many of the restraints of domestic policy-making are absent, that opportunities for acting in that sphere abound, in comparison with the constitutionally and politically much more limited scope of domestic affairs. This distinction is in need of revision. President Jimmy Carter, like all of his predecessors since World War II, experienced the blurring of lines between foreign and domestic politics even while, paradoxically, the contrasts between them became more pronounced. In nearly every arena of domestic and foreign policy he had to deal with the intrusion of the politics of each sphere into the other. The freedom to act in foreign affairs is a tempting target for the enlargement of one's cope, but the cost in domestic politics for such expansion is often quite high. On the other hand, the greater constraints on the president's scope in domestic affairs do not lessen their impact on foreign policy.

These observations seem particularly apt in characterizing President Carter's foreign policies. Each instance of foreign policy examined at this conference can be said to have such characteristics: staffing the foreign policy apparatus, elevating human rights to the forefront of basic policy considerations, creating peaceful conditions in the Middle East, contributing to the emergence of underdeveloped countries, lessening Cold War tensions, ending the drawn-out negotiations about the Panama Canal, not to speak of freeing the hostages taken in Iran. All of them made clear the interlocking nature of domestic and international policy-making.

This volume's last two parts concern President Carter's career since his return to private life. He continues to pursue and enlarge his post-presidential role in a unique way. The Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, designed to study, discuss, and act on . . .

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