How was Carter's foreign policy different from that of Nixon's and Ford's?
It was more respectful towards human rights
Carter is famous for restoring the respect of human rights in foreign policy, the iage of the United States had been tarnished by the atrocities of the war in Vietnam and Carter helped improve that situation.
Nevertheless some historians such as Howard Zinn or Murray Rothbard claim that it was only a smokescreen. Indeed they blame him for continuing the arms' race, maintaining the support of dictatorships of countries such as Iran(the Shah regime). Rothbard criticized him for being the president who had the Trilateral come into power with Brzezinski(its president) becoming a national advisor.
He was blamed later for the support of terrorist groups in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion of 1979, they were mostly islamists and Brzezinski himself took the initiative to fund them and help them.