Why did Gorbachev choose the United Nations as his forum for this speech?
The speech of Gorbachev in the United Nations in 1988 was not accidental. The fundamental tasks of the United Nations are the following ones, namely strengthening peace and providing security for the global community. Any speech that is declared in the United Nations plays a significant role in a foreign policy of a country and is reflected in the seriousness of the intentions of the country that declares the speech.
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Such statements become known across the globe and guarantee that the world’s powers, the members of the United Nations, can hear this speech. On the 7th of December 1988, Gorbachev highlighted the fact that a new legal framework for the world order should be formed (Aslund, 2014). The new order could be based on the human values and refusal from the state interests that were in priority.
What did Gorbachev mean by “de-ideologizing relations among states? What implications did this have for superpower relations?
Gorbachev pointed out that progress in the modern world is impossible in case human rights and freedom are violated. The question regarding the idealization of the state was the reason for multiple problems for the internal and external environment in the country (Savranskaya, Blanton, Zubok, & Melyakova, 2010). The reason can be found in the dimension of governmental ideas. The government aimed to create the illusion of the ideal and perfect state that is capable of making a human being happy and accomplish any goals and objectives.
However, with the idealization of the state, the government is idealized as well. It consequently leads to the usurpation of the government, and it impacts the population as it suffers from the totalitarian regimes. De-ideologizing the relations among the states means that the nations should get rid of totalitarian regimes, reduce the number of political wars, and end the arms race, which can lead to irrevocable consequences, such as nuclear war and Caribbean crisis. Gorbachev stressed that society and the government should focus on human value and find new acceptable methods of cooperation.
Why did he say that “force no longer can…be an instrument of foreign policy”? What implications did this have for the Soviet bloc?
Gorbachev did not see any possible way towards development and innovations in case the totalitarian regime was dominant. First and foremost, he highlighted that hard power should not be used in the modern world as it used economic and political pressure for the achievement of the goals that were set by the government. Gorbachev noted that power and force should not be the fundamental tools used in foreign politics.
The transition to the flexible politics that would base on the involvement of all the parties and desire to cooperate voluntarily was the message that Gorbachev wanted the countries to perceive. Later, such a position was determined as soft power. Gorbachev assumed that the avoidance of the idealization and attraction of new allies would change the politics (Savranskaya et al., 2010). He stated that there was no point to follow the hard power. Capitalization, the involvement of the foreign business in the territory of the Soviet Union, cultural influence, and transition to democratic values stimulated the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of the democratic and independent states (Elliott, 2012).
What did he foresee as the future role of the superpowers in the world and the future relationship between them?
Gorbachev assumed that the superpowers would fight for the dominant position. The superpowers are doomed to the constant competition where the role of a human being is insignificant. This struggle can lead to a global disaster, like the usage of nuclear power and world conflict. Thus, Gorbachev’s speech contributed to the establishment of peace in the world and he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1990.
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Aslund, A. (2014). Great rebirth: Lessons from the victory of capitalism over communism. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Elliott, D. (2012). Changing worlds: Vietnam’s transition from Cold War to globalization. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Savranskaya, S., Blanton, T., Zubok, V., & Melyakova, A. (2010). Masterpieces of history: The peaceful end of the Cold War in Eastern Europe, 1989. Budapest, HU: Central European University Press.