Why did Gorbachev choose the United Nations as his forum for his speech?
Mikhail Gorbachev’s address to the United Nations in 1988 represented a comprehensive departure from what had obtained as Soviet policy and the way the Soviets viewed its relationship with the West. The world had conducted foreign affairs on a tit-for-tat basis for the better part of the last 40years and it was significant that unless one of the two super powers made a move towards ratcheting down the political temperature, the world would certainly be marching toward a third global conflagration.
It was instructive that Gorbachev was making his speech at the United Nations, as it would serve as a signal to the world at large that the Soviet Union was in the business of openness and was ready to take its place as part of the leadership for global peace. This was similarly punctuated by his own domestic political experiment of glasnost and perestroika, which drove the reform of the Soviet Communist Party. Having successfully restructured the party, and promoted the transformation at home, Gorbachev recognized that it was equally important to parlay this approach to the wider international community; a policy that appreciated the existence of spheres of interests that were both similar and different.
What did Gorbachev mean by “de-ideologizing relations among states? What implications did this have for superpower relations?
Gorbachev stated in his address to the United Nations, “freedom of choice is a universal principle to which there should be no exceptions” (Gorbachev, 1988, para. 9).   The long-held view that the world existed through the maintenance of ideologies worked at suppressing not only the creativity that drove development, but also the suppression of people’s rights and freedoms.   Gorbachev used the term “de-idologizing relations among states”(Gorbachev, 1988, para. 10), to explain that in this new dispensation, it is necessary for...

Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the...