COMPLEXITY OR INCONSISTENCY
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Jimmy Carter established the foundation for present-day American foreign policy instruments regarding human rights. However, his foreign policy regarding human rights is widely debated. Carter’s foreign policy has been criticized as inconsistent by many contemporary authors, while modern day authors argue that inconsistency is mistakenly seen as complexity. This master thesis has researched the intra-administration decision-making of Carter’s foreign policy regarding human rights in Central America. This study aims to give a more nuanced view of Carter’s foreign policy on human rights, since this research has used new archival material which is only declassified as recently as 2017. This study has used three case studies in order to analyse whether Carter’s foreign policy was indeed inconsistent. The new sources indicate that the foreign policy regarding human rights was indeed inconsistent, but this was due to its complex situation where the administration had to assess other factors alongside human rights. Since this study focussed on intra-administration decision-making, further research is needed to assess the influence of the Congress and domestic audience on the decision-making.