The USSR was once one of the world’s most powerful, formidable superpowers. The Communist nation was pure brawn, bravado, bravery and Bolshevik. In the early to mid part of the 20th century, the countries on Earth were a virtual chessboard and the Soviets were sly, savvy, secretive and succinct in their communication with the outer world.
They trumped the US by sending the first satellite into outer space and the nuclear arms race was very real. So was a far-out video-game-like defense system called Star Wars. So, what happened to all of that might?
Well, a man who was able to tap dance around dissension tuned into the collective consciousness of his people — Mikhail Gorbachev — and he realized that the good of the many outweighed the good of the few and the one, to paraphrase Mr. Spock from Star Trek. He yielded to mercy and compassion and reached for that olive branch extended by forward-thinking and downright kooky Aquarian US President Ronald Reagan. The Berlin wall came down, the paper-tiger Soviet empire collapsed and the reigns of a new Russia were handed off to Boris Yeltsin, a jolly drunk who became friends with former US President Bill Clinton.
Okay, so what’s the point? This is not a short history lesson, it’s to illustrate an interesting truth. In order for the Soviets to transform they first needed to be humble. Who better to be humble than a pair of Sheep? Gorbachev and Yeltsin were both born in the Chinese year of the Sheep, which is interesting considering Russia’s deep ties to Communist China. These two men were creative and compassionate enough to see through the veil of illusion and they glanced and focused on the very essence of human decency. That, my friends, is the true meaning of diplomacy — compassionate kindness. It’s enough to tame a feared superpower.