Sunday, September 1, 2013

Idealism under duress: Obama delays Syria strike

(1 September 2013)  President Obama pulled back from the brink yesterday as he decided to delay a possible missile strike on Syria in order to seek approval from the US Congress.  The surprise about-face ended a week of increasing war rhetoric as the White House sought to make its case for hitting the Assad regime after its recent use of chemical weapons during the two-year old civil war with insurgents.  Obama had been boxed in by his own "red line" ultimatum against the use of poison gas and was feeling isolated after UK support for a missile strike was defeated in the British Parliament.

Obama's horoscope is under considerable pressure at this time.  Transiting Saturn and Rahu (i.e. North Lunar Node)  are both conjunct his 10th house Neptune indicating possible obstacles to his role as leader.  Any planet in the 10th house is associated with status and reputation and we should not be surprised that the double whammy of these two malefic planets Saturn and Rahu should correspond with situations where his leadership is called into question or where events do not play out smoothly. 

The added dimension here is that Neptune is a planet that symbolizes idealism so the encroaching influence of Saturn (limit, loss) and Rahu (distortion, disruption) reflects the difficulty Obama has had in reconciling his preference for negotiation and peace with a need to be firm in the face of a violation of the international norms of warfare.   With Neptune placed in his 10th house, Obama 's leadership style is one based on moral values  -- he did win the Nobel Peace Prize after all -- rather than confrontation and military intervention.  The problem is that Obama is in uncharted territory now that he has been forced into a situation where his Neptunian idealism has been called into question by awkward circumstances as represented by Saturn and Rahu.  The Commander-in-Chief may have to act according to the wishes of Mars in order to defend the Neptune's moral high ground. 

While Saturday's change of heart has been criticized by some who see it as weak or indecisive, many are also praising it for its political and even military advantages.  Several normally hostile voices in the GOP have welcomed the move.  Congressional approval solves his legitimacy problem on the strike and also provides him with a political cover should they reject his request.  Obama's transits for this decision indicate it was a victory of sorts at least on a subjective level.  Mars (action, energy) was conjunct his Mercury (rationality, communication) reflecting the intensity of the decision.  Also key was the exactly trine aspect of Venus (happiness, popularity) to his Ascendant (self).    Venus is therefore also conjunct his equal 9th house cusp (authority, philosophy) reflecting how the decision to go to Congress upheld Obama's adherence to democratic principles and thereby provides a better justification for military action.  Given the idealism contained in Obama's 10th house Neptune, it is all the more important for him to seek popular authority before engaging in a "just war".
But where does this all lead?  Obama wants only a quick and punishing attack on the Assad regime that makes it think twice before deploying chemical weapons in the future.  Obama has been clear that he does not want any boots on the ground or a regime change.   We can see that some kind of military action is very likely in the coming days since the Saturn-Rahu conjunction will indirectly activate Mars both in his chart and in the chart of the USA.  In Obama's chart Mars is situated at 29 Leo.  The Saturn-Rahu conjunction occurs at 14 Libra -- exactly 45 degrees away.  This is not a full strength Vedic aspect but it is a geometric fact nonetheless since 45 degree aspects are significant through their mathematical relationship with the 360 degree circle.  The strike may be launched when Mars approaches its conjunction to his Sun and the Sun conjoins his Mars on the 15th to 17th. 

In the USA chart, we can see that Saturn is currently exactly aspecting the natal Rahu in the 8th house.  This is usually a difficult transit that reflects unexpected obstacles or setbacks that force us to change our plans.  But Mars (0 Gemini) is also prominent here through indirect aspect, this time the 135 degree aspect with Saturn and Rahu.  In a national horoscope, Mars symbolizes violence and military action so it is entirely appropriate that it should be activated at a time when the US is set to attack another country.  Transiting Mars will conjoin the natal Rahu on September 9th or 10th and will complete the ongoing Mars-Saturn square aspect.   This is another likely time when an attack is likely.  It is a few days before the key transits in the Obama chart so that is a bit of a puzzle.  It suggests that the situation will likely not unfold in a smooth or predictable manner.  It may mean that the US attacks on the 9th but that there are complications (collateral damage, anyone?) or even Syrian reprisals for the attacks against US targets several days later.  These transits suggest that this will not be a simple matter without consequences for the US and Obama. 

Interestingly, this military strike may occur right around the time of the next Fed meeting (September 18th) in which Ben Bernanke is due to announce a possible tapering of the controversial QE program of buying bonds.  This clouds the picture somewhat since financial markets have been put on edge by this geopolitical uncertainty.   It is possible that some of the tension and stress in the USA and Obama horoscopes may also be due to financial circumstances, perhaps as a result of the Fed meeting on the 18th.   Also, markets would likely decline is there was a Syrian counter-attack on the US.  Obama and the USA therefore may have to contend with the negative fallout of both the Syrian attack and the next Fed meeting. 

As anxieties over Syria mounted, US markets declined last week, although Indian stocks staged a rebound after more volatility. As expected, we did some early week gains on the Venus-Jupiter aspect and then sentiment worsened after that.

It is hard to get too optimistic given the approaching Mars-Saturn aspect (exact on September 9th) so some more negativity looks likely this week. However, Mercury is in alignment with Venus so that could provide enough of a boost to produce some brief gains.  Perhaps the late week is better in this respect given that Venus leaves Virgo and enters the more commodious confines of sidereal Libra on Friday.