Case Study: Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1988 UN Speech
If the pace of improving US-Soviet relations seemed rapid, Mikhail Gorbachev’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly would shift the process into overdrive. In this remarkable oration, which you can find by clicking on the link below,Gorbachev emphatically declared that all nations must have the freedom to choose their own destiny, that ideology had no place in foreign affairs, and that great powers should renounce the use of force in international relations. Review his speech and answer in essay form the following questions:
- Why did Gorbachev choose the United Nations as his forum for this speech?
- What did Gorbachev mean by “de-ideologizing relations among states? What implications did this have for superpower relations?
- Why did he say that “force no longer can…be an instrument of foreign policy”? What implications did this have for the Soviet bloc?
- What did he foresee as the future role of the superpowers in the world and the future relationship between them?