Mixed Messages: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America / Edition 1

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first Excellent [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: first ] Publisher: Cornell University Press Pub Date: 9/2/2004 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 288.

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Overview

"Nowhere did two understandings of U.S. identity—human rights and anticommunism—come more in conflict with each other than they did in Latin America. To refocus U.S. policy on human rights and democracy required a rethinking of U.S. policy as a whole. It required policy makers to choose between policies designed to defeat communism at any cost and those that remain within the bounds of the rule of law."—from the IntroductionKathryn Sikkink believes that the adoption of human rights policy represents a positive change in the relationship between the United States and Latin America. In Mixed Signals she traces a gradual but remarkable shift in U.S. foreign policy over the last generation. By the 1970s, an unthinking anticommunist stance had tarnished the reputation of the U.S. government throughout Latin America, associating Washington with tyrannical and often brutally murderous regimes. Sikkink recounts the reemergence of human rights as a substantive concern, showing how external pressures from activist groups and the institution of a human rights bureau inside the State Department have combined to remake Washington's agenda, and its image, in Latin America. The current war against terrorism, Sikkink warns, could repeat the mistakes of the past unless we insist that the struggle against terrorism be conducted with respect for human rights and the rule of law.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sikkink adds to her important work on nongovernmental organizations and advocacy networks with this illuminating account of how persistent policy entrepreneurs armed with fresh ideas inserted and then institutionalized human rights promotion into inter-American relations. The stakes in their 60-year-long struggle have been high, in terms of both American self-identity and Latin American lives, and Sikkink supplements recently released U.S. government documents with interviews of lower-level officials to condemn Henry Kissinger for signaling 'green lights' to vicious repression in Chile and Argentina and Ronald Reagan and Jeanne Kirkpatrick for their careless embrace of bloody Central American dictators."—Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2005

"Few scholars have argued as persuasively for the power of principled ideas and global civil society in shaping world politics as Kathryn Sikkink. This excellent book provides yet another sophisticated and cogent analysis of how global networks of principled individuals and groups have changed the world. It demonstrates convincingly that the human rights transnational advocacy network played a crucial role in changing the foreign policy of the world's most powerful state and the human rights practices of states throughout the Americas."—Mark Peceny, Latin American Politics and Society

"Sikkink's work is an original and significant contribution to the literature. It is superbly organized, clear, concise, yet filled with the detail, authority, theoretical grasp, and practical understanding of the legislative and international agendas on the subject. Mixed Signals will stand as a benchmark in the field for some time."—David Ryan, International History Review

"Mixed Signals is an excellent account of the development of U.S. human rights policy, with a special emphasis on Latin America. It is impressive in its empirical scope, careful documentation, and analytic subtlety. It will prove useful to scholars and students."—David Cingranelli, Perspectives on Politics

"Kathryn Sikkink speaks with equal authority in the scholarly world of international relations theory and in the bare-knuckles domain of human rights enforcement. She delivers an insightful analysis and telling indictment of U.S. human rights policy toward Latin America but ends with a message of hope: that human rights can be protected, if governments take rights seriously and if individuals with ideas persevere."—Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 1998-2001

"The central questions will always be simple: how to elevate the role of human rights in foreign policy and then how to play that role successfully. The answers, alas, will always be complex, but for our generation they are to be found in Kathryn Sikkink's Mixed Signals. A genuine intellectual triumph, impressive in both empirical scope and analytic subtlety, Mixed Signals is a richly nuanced, meticulously crafted chronicle of the effort to incorporate human rights into U.S. policy toward Latin America during the final four decades of the twentieth century. A distinguished political scientist who led an earlier life as a Washington human rights activist, Sikkink writes with the authority of someone who was present at the creation and then adds the conceptual clarity that we have come to associate with her name. The result—Mixed Signals—is the book I will hand to my best students."—Lars Schoultz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Mixed Signals is a very good account of the development of U.S. human rights policy, with a special focus on Latin America. Kathryn Sikkink argues that the centrality of human rights in the United States represents an 'identity shift' in the national conception of its interests in the world. She does an excellent job of showing how the creation within the government of a bureaucratic apparatus focused on human rights played a key role in this identity shift."—William LeoGrande, Dean of the School of Public Affairs, American University, and author of Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977-1992

Foreign Affairs
Sikkink adds to her important work on nongovernmental organizations and advocacy networks with this illuminating account of how persistent policy entrepreneurs armed with fresh ideas inserted and then institutionalized human rights promotion into inter-American relations. The stakes in their 60-year-long struggle have been high, in terms of both American self-identity and Latin American lives, and Sikkink supplements recently released U.S. government documents with interviews of lower-level officials to condemn Henry Kissinger for signaling "green lights" to vicious repression in Chile and Argentina and Ronald Reagan and Jeanne Kirkpatrick for their careless embrace of bloody Central American dictators. She bashes old-fashioned realists as well as the cynics and structuralists who dismiss human rights rhetoric as camouflage for imperial designs. Indeed, new statistics from truth commissions—in Chile, for example, there were 62 deaths and disappearances during the Carter administration versus 1,828 during the Nixon and Ford administrations and 371 during the Reagan administration—suggest that U.S. policy can make a big difference. And although she is concerned that the current campaign against terrorism could eclipse human rights concerns, Sikkink celebrates the institutions now devoted to her cause.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801442704
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Series: A Century Foundation Book Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathryn Sikkink is McKnight Presidential Chair in Political Science and Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School. Her other books include, as coeditor, Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
1 Introduction to the origins of human rights policies 3
2 The idea of internationally recognized human rights 23
3 The reemergence of human rights in U. S. foreign policy in the 1970s 48
4 Introduction to the effectiveness of human rights policies 79
5 U. S. human rights policy during the Nixon and Ford administrations 106
6 The Carter administration and human rights policy toward Latin America 121
7 The Reagan administration and human rights policy toward Latin America 148
8 Institutionalizing human rights policy toward Latin America during the George H. W. Bush and Clinton years 181
9 Conclusion : the lessons of human rights policies 208
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