Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1988 UN Speech

Why Gorbachev chose the United Nations as his forum for this speech

Gorbachev chose the United Nations as his forum of speech because he considered it an institution that brings the world together. According to him, his message of unity for the world could only be delivered in a forum where people felt they belong despite their ideological differences. The United Nation was that institution.

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The United Nation was, and still is, a forum that brings together nations all over the world irrespective of their ideological differences. At this time, the world was sharply divided into two ideological groups (Savranskaya, Blanton, & Zubok, 2010). To Gorbachev, the United Nations was the best forum because it was considered neutral ground. He knew that his speech of unity had no better forum than the United Nation because at that time the world was highly polarized.

What Gorbachev meant by “de-ideologizing relations among states” and the implications it had for superpower relations

Gorbachev meant that no single ideology should be considered superior to the other. He believed that each nation has its ideologies that may be beneficial to other nations, but there should be no attempt to force other nations or coerce them into adopting a given ideology.

De-ideologizing relations among states, according to Gorbachev, meant a deliberate effort by the superpowers to avoid forcing their ideologies to other nations around the world and the need to learn to share values of different countries through mutual interaction. The impact of de-ideologizing relations, according to him, would be a world where people are free to share their social values without one group being considered superior or inferior to others.

Why he said that “force no longer can…be an instrument of foreign policy and the implications it had for the Soviet bloc

According to Gorbachev, foreign relations should involve the sharing of ideas between different nations and finding a way of working together in a manner that would bring mutual benefits. In such contexts, he believed that force was no longer a tool because the relations involved sharing of ideologies in a mutually beneficial environment (Clark, Feldbrugge, & Pomorski, 2011). This led to a reduction of the nuclear arsenal in the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev believed that force can no longer be an instrument of foreign policy because he envisaged a world where peace, mutually beneficial relations, and understanding prevailed over the use of military power or economic coercion. According to him, the world needed peace and understanding, and foreign relations had to be based on these virtues. The implication of this great speech was the disarmament of the Soviet Union (Negroponte, 2012).

What he foresaw as the future role of the superpowers in the world and the future relationship between them

According to Gorbachev, the role of the superpowers in the world and future relationships is to foster peace. As nations with great military and economic potentials, they have the responsibility of ensuring that the freedom and sovereignty of other nations are respected (Gorbachev, 2011). That is the only way through which unity and mutually beneficial relations can be maintained.

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In his speech, Gorbachev foresaw a future where the superpowers play a major role in promoting peace and unity around the world instead of using their military and economic strength to achieve personal benefits. He argued that the world would rely on these superpowers to offer guidance where necessary and promote unity. He also saw a situation where these two superpowers worked very closely to promote peace.


Clark, R., Feldbrugge, M., & Pomorski, S. (2011). International and national law in Russia and Eastern Europe: Essays in Honor of George Ginsburgs. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Gorbachev, M. (2011). Mikhail Gorbachev: Prophet of change: from the Cold War to a sustainable world. Forest Row: Clairview.

Negroponte, D. V. (2012). Seeking peace in El Salvador: The struggle to reconstruct a nation at the end of the Cold War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Savranskaya, S., Blanton, T., & Zubok, V. (2010). Masterpieces of history: The peaceful end of the Cold War in Europe, 1989. Budapest: Central European University Press.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, March 10). Mikhail Gorbachev's 1988 UN Speech. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/mikhail-gorbachevs-1988-un-speech-essay-3/

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"Mikhail Gorbachev's 1988 UN Speech." StudyCorgi, 10 Mar. 2021, studycorgi.com/mikhail-gorbachevs-1988-un-speech-essay-3/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Mikhail Gorbachev's 1988 UN Speech." March 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/mikhail-gorbachevs-1988-un-speech-essay-3/.


StudyCorgi. "Mikhail Gorbachev's 1988 UN Speech." March 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/mikhail-gorbachevs-1988-un-speech-essay-3/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Mikhail Gorbachev's 1988 UN Speech." March 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/mikhail-gorbachevs-1988-un-speech-essay-3/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Mikhail Gorbachev's 1988 UN Speech'. 10 March.

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