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Timeline of U.S. Diplomatic History
1977-1980
  

1977-1980

The Quest for Peace

President Jimmy Carter came into office determined to follow a more idealist foreign policy, in the grand tradition of Woodrow Wilson. He intended to broaden the scope of U.S. foreign policy to include the promotion of human rights around the world. To this end, the Carter administration successfully forged a tentative peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, and negotiated an agreement over the future of the Panama Canal that ensured continued American access to the important commercial route. It also completed the process of recognizing the People's Republic of China begun by President Nixon. Despite these successes, the spirit of détente with the communist world faded with renewed crises in the Third World and a breakdown in arms negotiations between the superpowers. By 1980, a combination of a weak domestic economy, a continuing hostage crisis in Iran, and increased tensions with the Soviet Union contributed to Carter losing his bid for re-election.


Key Issues and Events

  • Human Rights, 1977-1980
  • The North-South Dialogue and Economic Diplomacy
  • Trilateral Diplomacy: the United States, Western Europe, & Japan
  • Carter and the Camp David Accords, 1977-1978
  • Panama Canal Treaty, 1977
  • Recognition of China, 1979
  • Nicaragua, 1979-1980
  • Iranian Revolution & U.S. Hostages, 1979-1981
  • The Second Round of Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT II), 1979
  • Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, 1979
  • Olympic Boycott, 1980

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