tv Late Cold War and Human Rights CSPAN March 4, 2017 2:24pm-3:58pm EST
money was an easy to come by. we only got paid to can dollars a month. come by.wasn't easy to we only got paid $16 a month. you had to work to get your clothing allowance. you had to apply or clothing allowance. i look back at that time and then look at today. it hasn't changed. you just look forward to the goal. that's all it is, self-preservation. our cities tour staff recently traveled to san jose, california. to learn about its rich history. learn more about san jose and
other stops on our tour at www.c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv on c-span3. next come historians discuss u.s. foreign-policy on human rights during the latter half of the cold war. chileters focus on iran, and cuba. they also examined the american stance on women's rights, torture and oppression in the developing world from the 1960's on. this session was hosted by the american historical association at their annual meeting. it's about an hour and a half. >> thank you for coming to this session on human rights in the late cold war era. my name is amanda moniz. on the curator of philanthropy at the smithsonian national museum of american history. until recently, i was associate director of the national history center of the american historical association, which sponsored this afternoon's
panel. amanda perry is the new assistant director. we are grateful to sarah snyder for organizing this panel. panelistsroduce our all together and then we will hear their papers, which all look at human rights in the late cold war era and then looking at activists and policymakers who were active in a number of different areas, including korea, cuba and iran. some really fascinating and rich papers. this is matthew shannon, assistant professor of history at emory and henry college. his work on iran has been -- he has also published original research in an international history review.
he has a book forthcoming later in 2017 with cornell university press titled "losing hearts and minds." the research for this conference paper grew out of the research for that manuscript and is part of a second book project that explores the ways in which the meaning of iran changed during the 1970's and 1980's in the united states and the broader world. sitting next to him is sarah snyder, an associate professor at american university school of international service. was arst book transnational history of the helsinki network. her second book on u.s. human rights activism during the long 1960's will be published by columbia university press. next to her is vanessa walker, -- she received a
phd in u.s. international history from the university of wisconsin madison and is the recipient of several awards, including a graduate fellowship at the miller center for public affairs at the university of virginia. she is the author of several articles on the carter administration's human rights and foreign-policy and is currently completing her manuscript on diplomacy in the western hemisphere during the carter administration. finally, petra is the associate professor of history and the director of the center for humanities at temple university. her phd from northwestern university in 1995 and is the author of "gi's and germans." published by yale in 2003.
she is the coeditor of the human rights revolution, published by oxford university press in 2012. it is part of a series published in coronation with the national history center. she's written other works on cultural globalization, among her other publications. she is completing final revisions on a book manuscript of the global discourse on peace during the cold war, which is forthcoming with oxford university press. she is finishing up a second book, a cultural history of international relations from the 19th century to the present. i will turn it over to matthew. >> thank you to everybody for all the work that has been done to put together this panel. i will talk today about the transformation in the american
mind regarding human rights in iran during the late cold war. the way ine that which americans thought about iran would transform in response to revelations -- the human rights revolution of the 1970's and the iranian revolution of 1979. during the 1970's and with accelerated circulation of information and a confluence of june political and economic elements such as the 1970 oil shock thrust iran into the matrix on american thinking. iran meant a lot of things to a lot of people. imaginaryan oscillated between the extremes of what scholars aftes have terd aphobia. in the 1970's, human rights was the mediator through which americans defined iran.
americans attempted to make sense of the rapidly unfolding events in iran through the lens of human rights. a perspective that produced a variety of imaginings. in addition to contribute into the literature on perceptions of iran, my talk today addresses silences into other bodies of literature. the literature on the human , the emergingion consensus that has been constructed by many of the panelists here today that human rights helped shape the contours of the increasingly interdependent world of the 1970's through a commendation of policies and activism pushed political and civil rights and especially the rights of the individual and the curtailment of repressive state power into the forefront of the global dialogue on the relationship between citizens and their states. this assessment also holds true for iran. thatd, despite the role human rights played in
conditioning international responses to the iranian revolution, the literature on u.s.-iran relations remains primarily diplomatic and state centered. i will offer a corrective to that today. the human rights revolution in iran -- first, we have to look at the ruler of iran from 1941 to 1979. for most of the cold war, his approach to modernization which was known as the white revolution gave him an image in the u.s. as a benevolent ruler whose ties to the west second arising secularizing reforms and -- theven growth pressures of the cold war and the development list you those of the era allowed the shah to equate development with rights. it seems counterintuitive to think the shaw of iran was considered a promoter of human rights. many considered him just that. u.n. chose iran
-- it was the abuses of state that animated a coalition of rights activists overseas and tarnished the monarch's image in the u.s. it is within this context that a reconceptualized the relationship between rights and of a woman in iran and brought the human rights revolution to the country. amnesty international is one of the most important ngos. iran in 1965 to call for a fair trial for a group of young british educated iranians charged with conspiring to kill the shaw. most observers agreed that the arrests were politically motivated. particularly aggravating to the shaw was amnesty international's assertion in 1975 that no country in the world has a worse record if human rights in iran.
thanf human rights va iran. the red cross went to survey the situation. another ngo was the committee for artistic and intellectual freedom in iran. they criticized the shop or his suppression of free speech and the torture of political dissonants. manymiller was one of the literary politicos in the organization. she remembered her work in the organization which often included educational events on college campuses as one of the most important things i've done. ed irann academics form focused organizations as well.
they engaged the american public to the u.s. people's committee on iran. this group evolved out of two local support committees that were based in berkeley and philadelphia. whose collective work culminated in april 1977 when one of their members became the first american in five years to attend a political trial in iran. the human rights revolution also made advances into the u.s. government -- by the mid-1970's, scaling back arms sales and pressuring allies to reform were among the top priorities of the so-called new internationalists in congress. with a worldview much different from cold warriors with a group of young public service began to investigate human rights abuses of anti-communist dictators such as the shaw. subcommittee held hearings on human rights in iran, one in 1976 and another in 1977, its members learn to violationsrned that
of political and civil rights and torture outweighed the social gains and economic growth that came with the shaw's revolution. certain quarters in the jimmy carter administration realized that prior to the revolution that the achilles' heel was human rights. the most forceful advocate with patricia darian. she generally urged that the united states ship its attitude towards iran -- shift its attitude towards iran. she surrounded herself with young and passionate activists in her bureau of human rights. they sought out to challenge the realpolitik of richard nixon's presidency. they had allies and tried to pursue a policy of this association to pressure undemocratic allies to reform or else lose american backing. neverlicy of dissociation
came to fruition because the white house opposed it. had become a major concern for a range of activists and nongovernmental organizations and intellectuals and politicians and policymakers in the united states. by the late 1970's, american thinking about iran moved from this balance between rights and the element to a concern about protecting women and religious minorities while iranian women's rights entered the american imaginary in the mid-1970's. the question of religious minorities became a concern only with the ouster of the shaw. while the shaw's modernization scheme integrated the women into an iranian state in unprecedented manner, the use of torture provided rights the spaceabroad with
to use women's rights to highlight abuses of power in iran. during the 1970 from iranian women were among the increased number of political prisoners tortured in jails because of the role in the girl a movement. this guerrilla movement. five years later when the international tribunal on crimes against women was held in brussels, a testimo testimoniese featured prominently. fourast word was a plea sisters throughout the world to raise voices and do something about your sisters. that plea was heard and in summer of 1977, feminist leaders in the united states issued an appeal to american women that urged them to support a revolutionary movement against the shop. many american feminists rejected the government promoted women's rights. the shaw was a pseudo-liberal on women and an absolute tyrant.
women's rights would remain an issue after the shaw's fall. amid this transformation, the veil became the symbol of everything many americans found wrong with the new republic. reversed the mandate that decreed that all revail.women prevail -- shortly after the revolution, she described the veil as dusty. the first sight of them was terrible. like blackbirds, like death, like fate, like everything alien. foreign and dangerous and unfriendly. the long, terrible avail, ancient, powerful when i letting us. -- annihilating us.
the demonstrators read a statement outside of the ministry of justice that began with universalist declaration that all human beings are created free regardless of gender, color, race the language and opinion. that statement concluded with the more specific gender --sertion the loss were implemented an itrican feminists considered a remarkable thing. now considered it a tragedy. that is a story that scholars tell quite well. while american activists placed women's rights within two different frames, religious rights became an american concern only as the state collapsed.
throughout fall of 1978, most americans tended to juxtapose the known shaw with an otherwise unknown islamic society. the inference was the shaw kept the lid on the complex social -- that absent a strong ruler would explode into religious violence. we find quotes in national and jewish newspapers across the nine states saying things such as iranian jews have nothing to fear while the shaw is in power. they reasons to be increasingly nervous in a wave of muslim fanaticism. the recount the rise of anti-semitism during the revolutionary years. faiths would be safe in the islamic republic -- his public views hardened once is power was secured. their social position remained uncertain.
there was the populist anti-imperialist and anti-zionist nature of the iranian revolution that placed jews in a precarious position. this would have tragic consequent is for abib. he introduced plastics to iran and became one of the wealthiest iranians in the country. he was among one of the 29 sympathizers killed over a five-day period in may of 1979. his execution operated comparably to the ayatollah's mandatory veiling order. for its part, the carter administration understood the execution created a great sense of anxiety and the rumors and spread like wildfire about the general safety of iranian jews. official u.s. assessment of the jewish question remain cautiously optimistic and the
carter administration's actions were prudent through 1979. admit it difficult for carter to balance his strategy of engagement toward the islamic republic with the human rights concerns of the american public and especially of congress. i borrowed the concept of engagement from christian emery who has shown that carter's relations after the shaw's fall made that policy untenable. of 19's of unite he sponsored senate resolution 164 -- in may of 1979, he sponsored senate resolution 164. the justice to which they were "barbaric and beyond the imagination of us all and evidence of the outlaw conduct of the ministration of
iran." ofiew that spared the exile the shaw -- the revolution would have profound consequences on the carter administration's to dramatic efforts to engage revolutionary iran. the iranian foreign minister wrote to secretary of state to formally declare the double standard of american politicians the cry of human rights violations in iran and supports those who have committed the most shameful crimes are more than half a century. the most significant consequence was that the u.s. embassy in -- sullivan left his post in april of 1979. iran's provisional government refused to accept a new appointment.
that "themembered revolution was the coup de grace of my efforts in tehran to sustain cordial the medic relations after the shaw's departure." it looks specifically at how conceptions of governance informed american thinking on leadership torture them of the rights of women and the safety of religious minors. these issues animated a group of policymakers during the final decade that coincided with the human rights revolution. the human rights revolution decoupled the concept of rights from development and challenged the shaw's image in the u.s. as a so-called modernizing monarch print the iranian revolution of 1979 transformed the human rights discourse overseas and moved it away from rock concerns
about torture and state-sponsored oppression, concerns relevant to all parts of the world, to one that was framed in islamic terms and directed specifically toward the world's first islamic republic. iran's move from imperial monarchy to islamic republic precipitated a shift toward more negative views of iran in the late cold war. these that continue to dominate american thinking on iran today. thank you. [applause] >> hello. thank you all for coming this afternoon. of burgeoning interest in the history of global human rights politics, recent works have focused largely on the 1970's as a period of emerging concern about human rights
abuses, a time of increased activism and growing attention to the issue of u.s. policymakers. americans turn to human rights as a result of jimmy carter's election because it of guilt ovr the war in vietnam. my paper identified transnational connections in the long i 60's as the foundation for human rights activism. transnational connections united with other americans motivated by broader international and the mystic movements -- domestic movements and the activism they produced ushered in the institutionalization of human rights in u.s. foreign policy and the expansion of human rights activism in the unites states in the late 1970's, 1980's and beyond. today, i will talk about three key figures. how transnational connections shaped their activism. first come i want to give a general outline about my argument about significance of
transnational connections. what led americans to care about international violations of human rights in the long 1960's? it was a decade of decreasing costs for international travel and increasing advances in television and satellite ,ommunication and quite often human rights activism was motivated by transnational connections. the 1960's offered new opportunities for americans to andel and work abroad returning peace corps volunteers, missionaries and that mimics were often attracted human rights activism by their international experiences. motivation was moral, political and religious. the americans motivated by transnational connections were entrepreneurs in a growing movement for human rights. other americans were drawn to throughghts activism
broader changes taking place internationally and within the united states in the long 1960's. it primes them to care about human rights violations. internationally, decolonization increased demand on the united states to take account of racial discrimination in its own practices and foreign policy. andhe international domestic level, the increasing influence of nongovernmental organizations, some of which focused on human rights, also includes growing american activism. , movements or african american freedom and against the war in vietnam thinkingericans' about the policies of their government and led many to push for newer approaches to human rights in u.s. policy. support for human rights internationally also was closely linked with domestic concerns about civil can a, economic and social rights during the 1960's. economic political,
and social rights during the 1960's. this included the 19 625 intervention in the dominican republic. -- 1965 intervention. as the consensus weekend commend members of congress asserted themselves more forcefully in the policymaking process. at times, used their control over the appropriations process to wield influence. to break down the cold war consensus, producing a degree of democratization in foreign policymaking. nonstate actors have always played influential roles in shaping u.s. foreign relations. we heard about some of those today. opened in the 1960's space for them to have an enhanced role of policymaking which had been dominated by a closed elite group who
subscribed to a consensus view of u.s. policy the growing interests of americans and human rights mobilized by this array of issues i've outlined led to a broader base movement in the late 1970's. with the broader intellectual and political context of the long 1960's in mind, i will turn to talking about the paths of three key activists. first, i will talk about james beckett. traveling to europe in 1958, james beckett met maria, a greek woman who later became his wife. they settled in geneva and knew of the coup in greece and the subsequent repression there spurred them to action. it was his personal background as well as his marriage to maria that primed him to become active on greece. he highlights th extensive time he spent in chile -- the extent
of time he spent in chile and his having attended harvard law school at the time of the civil rights movement as shaping his left-wing political views. together, james and maria reached out to amnesty international and everyone who might be interested in the wake of the coup. the two traveled to london to meet with the head of amnesty international, sean mcbride. mcbride proposed a mission to greece. beckett's goal was to get greater attention for the repression in greece. they were engaged in a battle for public opinion in europe and america. beckett went on to co-author amnesty international's first report on torture in greece. torture is carried out by the security police and the military police. a detailed 12 different physical methods being used to torture political prisoners there. reporting inspired a range
of actors to oppose ongoing u.s. wasort for the regime and instrumental in keeping attention focused on human rights abuses in greece. the beckett family was involved in -- at least lived in connecticut. elise lived in connecticut. one of the first questions, why does elise beckett care about human rights? it was very exciting for me when i put this all together and even had the opportunity to interview james and he said that this i had seen the countless letters she had written to members of , but she even took her lobbying directly to the halls of congress and would rollerskate around the halls in order to enhance her effectiveness. the second person i want to talk about is philip habib. philip traveled to south korea in 19 tuesday to to serve as a
political counselor -- 1962. he remembers "i used to play poker with the premise for every sunday afternoon. i knew everybody in the country." he would build upon and extend his connections in 1971. as the leader moved toward authoritarianism, habib urged washington to disassociate from his regime. maintained a public position of noninterference and non-association. stanley zuckerman was the information officer and press a tie shape 1971 and 1973. your members how his friends who were journalists might be arrested by the korean cia after printing unacceptable stories and suffered torture. habib knew many of these
journalists and communicated firmly that oppression was a strong irritant in our relationship. and even more brazen attack by part's regime participated more forceful involvement by habib. south korean agents kidnapped the opposition political leader from his hotel room in tokyo. he was driven to osaka and put on a high-speed boat. restrained with weights, kim expected to be tossed into the sea. instead, habib made forceful appeals to south kern government to save his life. -- the south korean government to save his life. in seoulse occurred five days later. inib intervened personally his usual forceful way and pointed out the damage that any retribution on kim would do to u.s. republic of korea and relations. korea.-republic of
relations. habib made a representation to the korean government saying it is your own agency that has done this and you better keep them alive or it will do huge damage to our relations. habib and the west country director for korea quickly mobilized an effective campaign that was outside the normal chain of command at the state department. i beat continued to lobby the south korean government on human rights. his freelancing did not go unnoticed in washington. according to donald bernard, henry kissinger admonished habib treaties to the south korean government -- habib returned to washington to serve as secretary of state for eastern affairs -- he sought to
draw high-level attention to problems in south korea by speaking about the issue at length in a meeting with kissinger and other senior state apartments that. he saw a reevaluation of american objectives in south korea arguing when faced with the reality of oppression come i think the united states has to make clear that it is not on the side of oppression. convinced thatot the human rights abuses had produced instability that might threaten u.s. interests. "first comesponded in general come i try to abolish the political science department in the state department which tries to restructure the domestic situation of other countries from especially allies, because either we are involved because we have american foreign-policy interests or we should not be involved at all." was deeply connected with
south koreans through professional and personal ties. these connections, along with long-standing concerns about repression based on his family's and his own personal history, led habib to fight for the rights of south koreans facing abuses under park. i would argue that habib really stretched the parameters of his official role to address human rights concerns wherever possible. finally, joseph eldritch was one --the washington office that he served as a methodist missionary in chile for several years before the 1973 coup. his path to human rights activism began in segregated tennessee. manifested itself in protests against segregation and the war
in vietnam and was influenced by the liberation and his missionary training expenses. -- after with other the coup and the rest of two seminarians, eldritch left the country. opposition ton by the nixon administration's actions in july. -- hised by knowing objective was to influence u.s. policy toward latin america. he remembers talking with journalists regularly that he hopes to influence from introducing them to latin american dissidents and sharing leads with them. he also monitored congressional hearings, collected information and met regularly with members of commerce and a staff. trip to chile in
march of 1976. representative tom harkin, george miller and will be moffett -- toby moffett traveled with eldritch to chile could tom harkin had a particularly eventful visit to san diego. they managed to get inside in infamous torture upon their return, they declared, during our stay it became clear with all the sincerity and conviction imaginable, he rules with terror. we found pervasive fear and all segments of chilean society, the oldest of latin american democracies. eldridge was able to press a greater attention to chilean human rights violations. in eldridge's view, what he did was to quote, take a prophetic view of latin america and translated into the language of
washington, legislation and lobbying. joseph james beckett and eldridge, and others including henry jackson, william butler, ,rank newman, donald fraser discussed in my larger book project, take action in support of human rights? the 1960's were a. in which the relationship between the americans and government were transformed. more significant is harry frankfurt has written quote, when a person realizes that what he cares about matters to him not so much, but in such a way that it is impossible for him to forbear for mr. to course of action. each came to activism through personal connections. depend heavilys on political entrepreneurs, their scale and effectiveness.
these individuals became entrepreneurs for human rights activism in the united states. they engaged in contentious , defined as, interactions in which actors make claims, bearing on someone leading torests, coordinated efforts on behalf of shared interests and programs, in which governments are involved as targets. these activists efforts temperature of a -- part of a broader movement devoted to human rights. thank you. ♪ [applause] >> thank you for coming, thank at for organizing this panel
the national history -- and the national history center for sponsoring it. when president obama announced of 2014 that the united states would restore full diplomatic relations with cuba, to mystic critics charged him -- domestic critics charged him with legitimizing an oppressive regime. stated that, the normalization of relations quote, undermines the quest for a free and democratic cuba. president obama responded saying that he quote, shares the concerns of human rights activists and this is a regime that impresses his people, but he also argues that quote, the whole point of normalizing relations is that it gives us opportunity to have influence on that government. he pointed out that after 50 -- 50 years of isolation had not produced a result and it was quote, time for a new approach.
while he shared a commitment to freedom in cuba he said, the question is how do we uphold that commitment? i do not believe we can continue doing the same thing for five decades and expect a different result,". this seems like a benign exchange for washington these days, but it struck me how closely mirrored the debate -- debates almost four decades earlier when president carter sought to normalize cuban relations during his first month in office. most of us would agree that the world is a dramatically different place, especially with the end of the cold war, collapse of the soviet union. the debate about normalization and human rights played out most identically in the carter administration as it has today, and begs the question for me, why does this remain so fixed as the world around it has changed so dramatically? moreover, how should we understand the relationship between human rights and normalization for a relationship
with cuba? panel and manyis people in this room, there is relatively little written about human rights and u.s.-cuban relations, that is starting to change. it is surprising given cubans overwhelming presence in regional relations, and its prominence in u.s. foreign policy. are a few elements that make it logical that scholars have looked to other countries first. first there is the question about the pervasiveness of human rights in cuba. the cuban government had human the 1970's,ems in prominently the issue of political prisoners, which i will talk about today. political prisoners are a semblance of more extensive political restraint. by the human rights moments of the mid-1970's, those abuses work familiar after a decade and
a half of castro's rule, and paled in comparison to a balance and shocking and sudden wave of violence of the military dictatorships in the southern cone and central america. cuba's human rights situation was familiar by the 1970's. that is for the politics of u.s. human relations were. joe eldridge, one of the most active groups in latin america in the 1970's, recounted that it did not focus on cuba because it did not have a good hook. things were established there. welld, cuba does not fit within the western hemisphere's paradigm of military dictatorships, with the united states which, historically embedded. this meant that no material support in the form of economic or -- military it existed, and , the u.s. was responsible to underpin the
activism in the region, in cases of chile and argentina. the lack of a implies a lack of influence leveraged to influence per -- of problems. a congressional reporting mechanism of the 1970's only applied to countries receiving u.s. aid. there is a historical record around cuba, rather than this robust annual debate. finally, some scholars including myself argue that some people used human rights in the 1970's paradigmsge cold war of national security, particularly in the global stash decolonization of the global south. it makes sense that the carter administration would deemphasize the importance of cuba and its regional relations. you add this to carter's --
, iter's normalization failed have given you good reasons why my paper should be uninteresting and unimportant. , about i want to argue .com -- carter's human rights policy that reveals deeper logic and dynamics at play. latin america i argue, was central for the carter administration's conceptualization of human rights. a right-wing military government in dictatorships, such as those in chile, symbolized failings of cold war security paradigms and the legacy of u.s. ,.terventionism early in his term, carter sought out to have an interventionist relationship with cuba, with human rights as his backbone.
much of the recalibration of reading -- regional relations in anticipated by report 1976, which articulated concern for intervention that exacerbated human rights file actions associated the united states with problematic military dictatorships. this urged the recognition of the intertwined principles of national sovereignty, and ideological pluralism. this encouraged u.s. policymakers to tolerate first approaches, not dismiss left-leaning initiatives. one of the sections to cuba was subtitled, a lingering panama,.sm behind meaningfully advance u.s. interests, and these interests might be better byved, more effectively
server -- international relations. it argue that engagement rather than a straight -- constraints meant would coax interventionism and eliminate soviet influence. it recommended that the united states take a process of normalization. the report argued that normalization would make it possible for the united states to raise cuba's concern for human rights,". the slaves normalization to a disavowal of terrorist attacks, the easing of the embargo, and entering its negotiations with issues, including the release of u.s. prisoners. carter took up the mantle of the commission report, and in his address to the oas general assembly, carter presented the framework for a new policy for latin america, many elements familiar with -- another report. advocating for new
channels of communications with cuba. carter said, the normal conduct of international affairs requires communication with all countries in the world. we are seeking to determine whether relations with cuba can be improved. had alreadyration entered into a new initiative less than two months into its administration. a presidential directive issued on march 15, 1977, established this intention to pursue them allies relations. the administration is committed to opening quote, direct and -- direct talks which would lead to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the united date and cuba, which will advance the interests of the united states respect of human terrorism, human rights, and cuba's interventionist -- interventionism. human rights is the first issue other issues among including releasing american prisoners and immigration rates.
the memo directs the attorney general to take all steps to prevent anti--- terrorist or legal action launch against cuba from within -- within the u.s.. i find this interesting. the terrorism issues detailed did not refer exclusively to cuban terrorism directed towards the united states, but rather, extended to radical groups operating within the united states, directing tax back towards cuba, the self reflective element of this policy. as new cuban policies developed in tandem with regional policy and the administration's brother human rights framework, the draft presidential review memorandum, human rights issued in july of 1977, cuba is found not in the section of latin america, but in the section of strategy for communist states, with china. the strategy outlined was a nonpolitical approach that accepted the limits of acknowledging the
results were limited. it argued the united states tried to -- would try to encourage improvements, including areas of family reunification and political prisoners. this leads up to [no audio] were conducted -- united states made it known that it hopes to discuss with cuba, withoutprisoners. this leads up preconditions, the range -- of issues between our countries, such as repatriate -- repatriation. carter allowed press corps restrictions to expire, and is respect -- restrictions on u.s. dollars spent on travel extensive to cuba. the united states opened their
first intersection of neutral embassies, and established and -- established some form of relations. normalization of human rights were inseparable elements of a new approach to cuba. internal policy briefing the and of march, the administration detailed logic for normalization, arguing that it was consistent with the administration's commitment to universalistic principles and policy, as well as practical interest of the united states. it asserted that it would advance quote, issues of concern to private american citizens, aliens,t residents, corporations, and foremost among these are the questions of human rights and the release of prisoners. review, it also -- stressed the importance of private citizen groups, cubans and cuban-americans. carter's initiative rested my cooperation. the younger generation of cuban
x in the u.s. ready to rethink their relationship with the island. many cuban and cuban americans have participated in the counterculture and civil rights movement of the 1960's, have begun to form their own played forns, which increase rights to travel to cuba. talksecame part of direct between castro and a portion of the exiled community in the night at dates. these groups clearly shared carter's ascension that engagement would do more to advance interests of both countries. that cubansognition in the united states could be an asset rather than a threat helped to music human rights initiatives -- helped to move human rights initiatives forward. in 1977, with the question of political prisoners was included. 3600 prisoners were released,
more than 1000 of whom moved to the united states. castro made no reciprocal demands an exchange for this. the national security agency argued that with this gesture, castro was seeking to court the cuban exile community and the carter administration to keep normalization moving forward. u.s. overture to castro, public and private, can emphasize the importance of political prisoners, particularly u.s. national. castro was intractable on the africa. cuban groups in he made constant incremental movements on human rights issued -- issues pressed by the administration. the carter administration constructed normalization, with a clear human rights logic. not everyone agreed with this, surprisingly, i am sure. a valid case could be made for maintaining an embargo on human as was done by conservative politicians and
cubans. it is not surprising that many would be opposed to normalization. what is striking is the use of human rights language to make a case against normalization from the earliest days of the carter and ministration. in february, the mayor of miami wrote, i am against the castro government, since castro's the most oppressive dig -- dictatorship in the western hemisphere. he worried that quote, even the -- a passive approval by the united states is that country tremendous credibility. and another lengthy letter to carter in march, 1977, earl smith expressed a deep concern that the administration was -- there policy was counter to u.s. interests. he asked if the administration was ready to accept castro abolishing freedom and human rights, and that political ,risoners should remain in jail
imply normalization reinforced these problems. he concluded quote, it is our prevent obligation to the entire caribbean from becoming a red light. two caudal castro means to surrender to communism, on acceptance of fidel's vilification against the united states, instead of 10 -- tampering castro it seems to me we should play political warfare in the nation at our doorstep. the miami lions club circulated two 1970 newsletters as a reaction to officials in the united states saying, the united states has opened it start to the main violet or of human rights in the western hemisphere. the language of these watchers is revealing, calling cuba, the hemisphere's main violator in objective terms. there are so many worthy candidates for that title in the 1970's. these letters all underscore double standards and reestablishing relations with cuba, while the unit dates is seeking to distance itself from
white -- right-wing .ictatorships the carter administration stressed its ongoing commitment to human rights, arguing that one of the considerations of our new policy is that direct communications will unable to effectively articulates the cuban government -- cuban government our concerns. the carter administration's toorts to normalize want 1978, as cubans continued , andvement in africa cubans inflamed mistrust on both sides. ,he issue was not human rights the administration got significant movement on key move -- issues of political prisoners. despite its failures, i think this 1970 intervu to shed light on several dimensions of u.s. human rights policy, both of the carter administration and beyond . first, human rights considerations are emigrated into the administration to approach with cuba.
curtis of inconsistent -- inconsistency and double standards existed. exile people made their case for continuing the embargo on the basis of human rights. they wanted to distance the united states from repressive regimes rather than draw them closer, isolate them in the international community. despite running against the grain of the human rights think thef a -- a carter normalization policy is consistent in its reconceptualization of relations , with the idea of ideological pluralism and nonintervention. and nonintervention. in cuba, the administration pursued moderate changes. in cuba and chile, the goal of the administration was not regime change, not in the short term, but rather change regimes,
modify behaviors. second, this reinforces the way in which carter's human rights initiatives were embedded in a larger community. the carter administration built on and amplified grassroots efforts. the first years were only a moment of opening for governmental relive -- administrations. carter's policies operated in tandem with liberal useful elements in the exiled community , that sucked a medication with the cuban government. the exchange between government and cuba -- added tension. the question of what is an effective -- is what is an effective strategy? is it about constructive engagement? the answers are more revealing about the responses to political persuasions than effectiveness. those in defense of carter's policies can point to thousands of political prisoners released in the pursuit of normalization, as well as greater freedoms and
movements and travel. the lack of systemic reform in the cuban government was the root cause of human rights violations there. -- it wasmalizations famously articulated by j kirkpatrick and others, which cast communism as a threat to human rights. with the reagan administration's policies in 1981 imposing soviet imperialism and communist political systems, is part of the human rights policies, as an expansion -- this is the most fundamental threat to human rights and the contemporary world. in the contemporary world. the national correlator insist that the ultimate guarantor in vehicle for human rights is liberal capitalist democracy. this belief in the role of market forces persist well beyond the boundaries of the bipolar world. this has been supported by human rights watch and the chamber of commerce. based onalliance
widely held assumptions among --tern nations that both economic systems bring with them "ecosystems based on democracy and individual freedom. more cubansat the see the benefits of u.s. the more that telecommunications is opened up, and cubans are getting information uncensored, the more you are leading the foundations for bigger changes that are going to be coming over time. marco rubio has countered this point by charging the entire policy shift, saying it is based on a lie, but more commerce and access to money and goods will translate into political freedom for the cuban people. all of -- all this is going to do, rubio charged, is give the the opportunity to manipulate these changes to perpetuate itself in power. it is a hypothesis that will be tested in the coming years, as cubans -- as cuba opens its border more.
i think it is worth noting that the strained debate over normalization is human rights. those against lifting the embargo used human rights point which to shore up their positions. both sides instantly used human rights to rationalize and justify positions, reinforce the way in which human rights has become the label fronts of the age, even if it specific meaning of policy applications, has become increasingly contested. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much for organizing this panel at the national -- and the national history center for sponsoring it. thanks for three really wonderful papers. the history of human rights has
become integral to our understanding of cultural political and economic globalization. if you think i'm stating the obvious, i would like to point out that this was not so is the case. it was candace camille, one of the pioneers of the new human rights history, who first articulated this connection. essay, which most of us still return to when we are trying to understand, or undertake new research projects , heted to human rights stated that and i quote, the chapter about globalization together with the end of the cold war had given rise to a new .uman rights history human rights historiography has involved significantly since then, and we now have a much more diverse body of literature and a more nuanced understanding of the theoretical and practical political aspect of how human rights functions in international politics. these three papers that were
given today are evidence of the vibrancy and maturity of the field. wey are also indicators that might not have entered into the revisionist stage of this. let me explain what i mean by that. two of the three presentations give us a much more sober view of human rights politics than what the case -- then was the case 10 years ago. this shows that as the human rights discourse moves into high politics it lost some of its idealistic change. it was increasingly used towards were not in the spirit of human rights activists of the human rights activists of the 1970's. we get a much more utilitarian image of human rights as a political tool. lined upee papers neatly, chronologically is automatically.
sarah's paper, the most optimistic of the three, which is perhaps because she takes us to the 1960's. she offers the necessary correctness to the overemphasis on the 1970's, as the decade when human rights advocacy came into its own. sarah's undoubtedly taking about a with same coin, who has made a strong case for ruling civil the 1970scourse before is failed. she is right to challenge both the narrow definition of human rights as an affront to individual rights and mornings feel that human rights is a card in the 1970's only -- only after other utopias failed. sarah brought in that definition of human rights and identifies defenders of the human rights cause in the united states, that have been overlooked by others. in particular, causes, that's make comments on the for the carter administration put them on the agenda.
political repression in greece, north korea, and chile, are three case studies. because the ardent rest on how one chooses to find human rights become humanhould rights causes, we need her to lay out a better definition here. in we her paper, earlier today, i discovered the definition tucked away in the first footnote. it was at the end of a lot of scholarly references. see.s hard to contested nature of human rights particularly as they relate to individual and political rights, is vital to her argument, and deserves a more prominent place in the paper. i present it will have a more prominent place in the book project. furthermore, those who argue that the 1970's represented a breakthrough for the human rights agenda might not disagree with sarah's argument. the moment when
human rights politics became a major feature. activists of the 1960's work through non-governmental channels, though they were looking at it to the in circle policymaking. her case study confirms that in the 1960's, human rights distinction --he between individual and collective rights, not as clear-cut as some scholars contest. it is often seen, the international, as spearheading the ship on focus of collective and individual rights, but focusing on individual cases of torture in various countries. it was founded in 1961, very active already through the 1960's. even if we agree with pointed others definitions of human was a cleare evidence of human rights activists prior to the 1970's. she's absolutely right about that.
i wanted to know more about how these biographies contributed to service broader project. with a always available short presentation, maybe sarah can tell us more in the q&a about how she sees the particular activists when the groundwork, contributing to the political human right agenda of the 1970's. venice -- vanessa and matt have given us similar arguments. they present a more contested and less rosy picture of human rights advocacy's in the 1970's-19 80's. at the moment when we are witnessing the breakthrough human rights in politics, we see a disservice for other old terrier political objective. vanessa argues that human rights abuses in cuba received little attention for much of the 1970's, and when the carter administration addressed concerns, they were closely tied to discussions about mobilizing
relations with cuba. carter wanted to use the promise as an incentive to improve -- others argue the opposite, that this should come after cuba had looked at record. of how iteement should fit into the carter's administration policy agenda reveals the political expediency of human rights in the 1970's. regardless of whether carter tried to universal idea of human rights once he made part of his foreign-policy agenda, it came in political tool in the service of you -- a utilitarian objective. as we know, carter's human altered onrations the -- on political restoration. we see this is the part of the tragedy of carter's presidency, but maybe he never meant to employ human rights is universal guiding principle.
maybe yours had a much more pragmatic view of human rights -- human rights, and maybe here decided that during the. of detente in the 1970's, human rights advocacy was a better political tool than other ideals, such as freedom and andcracy, like the 1950's 60's,, which likely to ask what the differences between advocating for freedom and democracy, and human rights in the other. that might be a long discussion. scopeould be beyond the of this panel perhaps. max paper asserts a more cynical view of human rights on the global political arena, by comparing the human rights debate of the pre-and post revolutionary. she should is concerned shifted to the united states about iran's human rights record before focused on torturing
political oppression. after the revolution, it shifted to women and religious rights. wasrole of women in iran ambiguous. women enjoyed relative freedom and economic opportunities, as the shop promised to build a modern-day oriented tool of the west. its the u.s. organized first winning conference in mexico city in 1975, the shop said -- sent its twin sisters to represent iran. and it's official rhetoric, the shaw regime was friendly towards human rights. hadhe same time, they political oppression. in pointing up the shift in the way the human rights agenda was framed regarding iran, not shows how important political context is to the international human rights agenda. wanting to know more about those
who push the agenda before and after the revolution, did people and her cohort of congressional activists moved from one agenda to the next? anti-shaw activists continue to protest the regime? nti-shaw demonstrations were happening throughout the 60's and 70's, usually from the left. did those protesters disappear along with the shop? in conservative politicians the 1980's take up the mantle of human rights activism the political left? vanessa made an interesting point early in our presentation. paidrgued that americans little attention to cuban human rights violations in the 1970's cuba is not a right-wing military -- and she has a point.
human rights advocacy -- add -- activists paid less attention to human rights violations in the communist world in the 70's. the question is why not? was it helsinki, detente? to what i see is the central issue of the panel, politicized best be asian of human rights in the 1970's. i want to conclude with three observations. good, even though it was a thing that human rights concerns became part of the foreign-policy agenda of the 1970's, we have to ignore instead of the same time it became a tool that was used actively and selectively to .chieve political goals second, the fact that human rights became a political tool in the 1970's does not present as much of a contrast to earlier periods as scholars have generally claimed. i would argue that the 1960's activists that sarah discusses
also followed a political agenda that went beyond -- that included concerns about human rights, but went beyond and had thatd included concerns were political in nature. that leads to the third point, maybe the most sober, or cynical one, that human rights causes have always been a negotiation between universal vegetables and political expedience -- political expediency. our is intimately tied to political views, our political agenda, and to what is possible within a project -- particular political environment. human rights became an explicit political tool as early as the first world war, not just in the 70's, possibly earlier. representative united nations argued on the human rates platform when he protested the soviet brigade.
as some people pointed out in the 1980's, reagan was not shy of accusing the soviet union of violating human rights, while he supported right-wing dictators in latin america. we want to think of human rights as a universal concept applicable to all people and human rights supporters, as applying those universal principles universally. .hese papers chose otherwise human rights revisionism has already gone underway over the past few years, pointing out the flaws of the concept of human rights, and the bigger flaw in their implementation. these papers further push in that direction, which is a good thing. i do not want to end on a cynical looked, arguing that human rights concerns are nicely dressedan up new geopolitics. thesooner we realize political expediency behind the human rights regime, the better we can make the political
expediency work for human rights causes. we need to focus on making politics work for human rights, rather than human rights work for politics. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. do any of the three of you wants to respond before we open up for questions? we will open up for questions. >> [indiscernible] you have a lot of different individuals that you talked .bout [indiscernible] certain strategies help change policy more?
>> is challenging question, not one i thought of in this way before. i would point to a to think each achievementsteir were. beckett's greatest achievements co-authoring the first amnesty international torture report. in terms of the extent to which that report affected the practice of torture in greece or u.s. support, i do not think as hee was as successful might've hoped. in terms of shaping amnesty international activism, particularly their increasing practice of undertaking this type of the -- investigative reporting, it was successful. think he had an important effect, not when we can see clearly reflected in u.s. policy or the practices within greece.
in terms of philip david, -- habib, his greatest success was sitting the life of this politician i talked about who became president of south korea, winning the nobel peace prize. in terms of korean politics, he is -- his intervention was quite important. i would say that within u.s. , the greatest steps taken to try and address u.s. support for the top korean regime were congressional efforts limiting assistance to that country, which were not the results necessarily of his efforts. i think he had a great impact in a particular case, but did not necessarily shape u.s. policy as much as you might imagine that
the assistant secretary of state might have been able to, because he was constantly butting heads with henry kissinger. aldrich, andoe part because of the position he had in washington, at the head of this organization that became incredibly influential, particularly with members of congress, had the greatest impact on u.s. policy in the long-term by doing things like suggesting witnesses to testify, writing questions, helping draft legislation like the harken amendment. a lot of the achievements as we might see them of human rights , wevism by the mid-1970's can -- they are not immediately apparent, but we can dig in and see his fingerprints on them. i think that is partly that he was located within washington,
but from the outside of ,overnment at a time in which because he was outside of government, he did not face the type of resistance that habib faced with kissinger. i would not necessarily say it is the elements of personal biography, but when he came to sit that led him to have the greatest effectiveness. >> normalization fails with a whimper rather than a shout. there is not a clear marker where they give up. there is a number of things, you go through jimmy carter's presidency, 1980 is a really bad year by any standard for president. normalization starts to fall threw in late 1978, when there has not been any payoff for normalization in terms of curtailing cuban troops in .frica there is a big brew-ha ha-ha ha
were doing.soviets they got a lot more attraction on human rights through normalization ban they did on various geostrategic goals. in terms of the sandinistas, i would say that normalization has teetered up by the end of 1978, where's carter is working ofsely with all sites nicaragua at that time. it was not instrument of their for the ending of normalization -- there for the ending of normalization. this makes them think about what question you raised, about ofention on the soviet world communists -- coming as violations. i do not know that there is less attention, but within certain joe aldrichthe cohort in the western hemisphere, a lot of human rights movements are given by a sense of u.s. complicity in the human rights abuses taking place
there, there were people like joe of is savvy chilean q -- cu as a product of u.s. foreign policy, interventionism, support of military dictatorships. because there is a sense of complicity, there is a need to address those problems. there is also material you can pull that worked differently. cannot cut off military aid to get them to do something for human rights i can with chile or argentina or nicaragua. you do not have the same mechanisms in place. there is a sense of complicity of material structures, things , andthe 502 b legislation congressional instruments for implementing human rights policy before carter comes office. he said, leverage as part of his policy, it targets allied regimes. some of this has to do with the what sarah and i are talking about, this sense but criticizing the soviet union for human rights abuses is
nothing new. to criticize the soviet union for its lack of human rights. what is new to is -- is to criticize her allies in the 1970's for their lack of individual freedoms and rights in a broader spectrum. questioning that goes on, you can advocate for human rights in a cold war context against the soviet breed -- union, or a non-cold war context. war you question the cold security paradigm, that leads to criticisms of your own closest allies in a lot of cases. i think that is part of the reason you have that focus and material support that cuba lacked. you cannot pull that military aid and make a big statement about how you are no longer --porting cuba become a bit because at ship has sailed. what leverage do you have left to entice changes in behaviors?
warming of relations could do that. >> additional questions? >> i am a professor of jewish cruz.s at uc santa i wanted to thank you all for a fantastic panel, and enjoyed all of your talks. i will start with a question for matthew, then one that may comments. petra's first matthew, i want to push you more on this transition of critiques within islam, and this shift within u.s. policy that you were gesturing to about torture, then what is this anxiety about islam. compare that outside of iran into the broader region. i work on in morocco -- there is
state ofifferent -- differen affairs, where morocco will repress leftists. islam does not mention this, i wanted you to think about this in the broader context of the same time. in the region. related to that, if you could expand on the position of jews and national politics. i know many of them were active in the communist party. you just are to them as subjects of conversation, but what is their agency among all of this, and how does that transition forward? finally, this might be applicable to all panelists, is the question of cynicism that petra raised can -- and i kept highlighting. also, the continuity of u.s. policy in a several of these domains. here i am speaking more about
islam him and this question of the veil and justifications of human rights and intervention in the middle east. more pointed perhaps it matthew, but i think you could all talk about it. thank you. >> the repression of the left in a ron is something that tends to occur on both sides of the revolutionary divide, going back to the 1950's, after the 1953 coup. there were cells discovered in the military and other segments of society that were cracked down upon severely. this is the. .hen sub aqua's being created by the time we get into the this is more or less eliminated from the political scene in iran. up armsho were taking against the shaw were motivated
by forms of leftist thought, groups that were fusing types of marxian thought with forms of islamist thought that were -- byted by thinkers like many thinkers. there is a debate amongst mert -- various leaders of the revolution as to how much to cooperate with various groups on the left. there it very useful at times, but by the summer of 1981, that continues cooperation is over. there was a bombing at the headquarters of the main political party, of the revolution, that killed many of the leading leaders come including the head of the judiciary. this vectors in a phase of traditional oppression that coincides with the cultural revolution, where it is difficult to see any good in the situation. and the of the left iranian state, tend to be on
both sides of that revolutionary divide, with the exception of the green. in the early revolutionary moment. jews and national politics, that's a good question. one reason i focused on the jewish committee and run rather than other groups is because it is more complicated. going back to the area of the constitutional revolution in the first decade of the 20th century, many jews were supportive of this, as it included the creation of a parliament and constitution, something that would safeguard , number can state that was the -- secular would protect them against violence, which can occur on local levels in the 19th century. that, andkeptical also during the iranian revolution of 1979, nothing good happened. the situation is clear for some, they never got the rights that iranian jews got as a result of
a constitutional revolution or any other development of the 20th century. by the time we get to the iranian revolution, there is good literature out there about the jewish community on the left, and being supportive of the revolution. there's a lot of writing in national newspapers in the united states, where members of and entireleft iranian jewish community are reaching out to the american public thing, iranians first, jews second. it should be played in the press the way it is. that began to change as we move into darker periods of the revolution, the hostage crisis, the new constitution being implemented, once the concept of the mandate of terraces is the law of the land. that question points to part of
my selection process but what i chose the jewish community in iran, as opposed to others. there is this question of perceived threats, as opposed to real threats. it goes from as many as 100,000 before the revolution to 20-25,000 by the time we get into the mid-80's. that is what stands today. it is a conflict question. thank you. > one more question. yes. the first one is for sarah. thank you all three of you for great -- a great panel. i am wondering how you picked the transnational activist that you decided to spotlight within your talk today and the longer list that you mentioned. i might have been wrong, but what i was struck by was the absence of women that you
decided to mention. my work in the 70's and 80's, looking at amnesty and american law, i was struck by the involvement of quite a few women in these groups. what i'm wondering is how you picked the actors that you decided to pick and whether this was maybe one of the differences between the 1960's and 1970's and 1980's in terms of human rights activism, or the this to be structural, or how you would explain it, i would be interested to hear more about it. for vanessa, thank you for a great paper, i was interested in how the emphasis on political prisoners came about during the normalization process. through my work on the southern cone, it seems like that is one of the continuities between carter's human rights policy, and cuba -- towards the southern cotton and cuba, with an emphasis on clinical prisoners.
i'm wondering whether this speaks to continuity in the region in terms of carter's foreign policy and human rights thinking that differs from matt's paper and the changing human rights concerns that we also saw plain card or broadly in his human rights policy. it's a something about what sarah was mentioning some of the influence of transnational activism on carter's thanking towards the region, following amnesty's very minimalist definition and focusing on political prisoners. thank you. >> i would say that i am conscious of the absence of women in the list in the manuscript. it is certainly different from my first project, where people he carried a, the executive , alsoor of helsinki watch saw that her gender enabled her
to undertake some of this work because she was seen as less threatening to the soviet regime, potentially. i think it is partially about looking at an earlier. in which there were less women in congress, less female foreign service officers. women may have been concerned heir own rights t rather than the rights of others at that point. certainly, i see people who moved from the civil rights movement to broader international human rights issues. wean see that that's why might see more women he were in theights activists late 1970's. if i just look at the particulars of the paper, maria prominents enormously within european debates. she is not american, so they .ery much worked as a team
up by greece and europeans who were active on this issue as a leading figure in the debates. for the purposes of her paper, i am looking at americans that she has left out of the story. there are broader structural issues that account for the relative lack for women in the project. thank you. time, please of join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching, american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like
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