A Conflict of Interests: National Security and Human Rights in American Foreign Policy towards Operation Condor
MetadataShow full item record
In the 1970s and 1980s, eight South American right-wing dictatorships cooperated in a clandestine state terror network called ‘Operation Condor.’ They abducted, tortured, and murdered students, journalists, and political opponents of whom it was thought or claimed to be communists. The United States played a central role in this campaign by covertly facilitating military training, financial help and communication services to the regimes in the context of the Cold War. Despite supporting these gross human rights violations, the 1970s were also a turning point for American foreign policy as human rights were considered increasingly important. This thesis elaborates on this complex relationship between national security and human rights during the Ford administration (1974 – 1977) by analysing the influence of the foreign policy decision-making process. This process has been analysed both at the level of the state, using the rational actor model (RAM), as well as at the level of key individuals using the bureaucratic politics model (BPM). In contrast to existing literature, these models have not been considered as opposites but as complementary. This approach differs fundamentally on three points from previous research: (1) the focus on the underlying process of foreign policy instead of the outcome, (2) its influence on the changing relationship between national security and human rights, and (3) by an analysis of new key actors and primary resources.