ABSTRACT

After having observed Mikhail Gorbachev in the role of General Secretary for more than four years, Western analysts have still not reached a consensus on the extent to which there is something new in Soviet foreign policy. While these analysts agree that Soviet policy has certainly become more innovative and flexible, and that the Soviets have adopted a more effective diplomatic style, they differ in their assessments of how much has changed substantively in Soviet policy. In Asian relations, the Gorbachev leadership has implemented policy changes which could well result in significant alterations in the international arena, including their withdrawal from Afghanistan and concessions to the People’s Republic of China designed to improve bilateral Sino-Soviet relations.