Sunday, September 15, 2013

Putin emerges the winner in face-off with Obama and US

(15 September 2013)  Russia's President Vladimir Putin seems to be the big winner in the recent war of words over Syria's chemical weapons.  The agreement between the US and Russia to remove all of Syria's chemical weapons by next year emerged after a series of missteps by the US administration.  President Obama's lack of political support for a military strike ultimately paved the way for the agreement which allowed the beleaguered Obama to save face.  Seeing the unworkable position Obama was in, Putin seized the moment by brokering the deal with Syria's strongman Bashar al-Assad.

The disarmament deal came as a surprise as I thought the odds were quite high for a military strike.  Obama's horoscope looked heavily afflicted for September.  Saturn in Libra is undermining his Cancer Sun (leadership, confidence) and thus he was more likely to fare poorly in this affair. I had thought the current transits to Obama's 8th house Mars in the last degree of Leo would be more likely to bring about military action.  However, it turned out that Obama's Mars was not very inclined to violence.  All those minor aspects to his Mars may have simply have reflected the awkwardness of his situation and the humiliation he has suffered.  The 8th house is symbolically associated with setbacks and embarrassments.

By contrast, Putin's horoscope appears to be more much sounder footing.  Putin's time of birth is uncertain but I have used the popular 9.30 a.m. time here.  The chart derives a lot of its strength through the planet Venus.  Venus is in its own sign of Libra and is conjunct benefic Mercury which is situated in the first degree of Libra and very auspiciously conjunct the star Spica (Chitra).  Both Venus and Mercury are also aspected by Jupiter in Aries thus providing them with more strength.   But all roads lead back to Venus.  Putin's Moon is exalted in Taurus which is ruled by Venus.  Putin's Sun is conjunct Saturn in Virgo.  This may give him that need for control but since Sun-Saturn is closely aspected by Rahu the need to control may be somewhat excessive.   This is pretty much what one would expect from a former head of the KGB.  But the other thing to note is that the Sun-Saturn is in Virgo which is ruled by Mercury.  That again takes us back to Mercury's sign of Libra (and Spica!) and its powerful ruler, Venus.  We may not know Putin's ascendant or house placements for sure, but even the Chandra Lagna chart looks quite good.


At this time, transiting Jupiter (22 Gemini) is aspecting Venus quite closely.  Saturn and Rahu are in proximity to Venus now.  I think it is likely a positive thing that they did not conjoin exactly on his Venus thus providing some breathing room.  Venus receives the square aspect from Mars this week, perhaps foreshadowing some anger or disputes from an adversary such as Obama.  The other question is what happens when Saturn exactly conjoins Venus in October.  I think it is likely that Putin will come under increased scrutiny at that time.  At the moment, Putin's natal Venus is being partially supported by the fact that transiting Venus is also in Libra.  Once transiting Venus enters Scorpio on 2 October, his natal Venus may become more vulnerable. It will be less likely to withstand the impact of the conjunction with Saturn without harm.  It remains to be seen if this Saturn-Venus conjunction will impact the Syria situation, however. 

Markets generally applauded the negotiated settlement as US and Indian stocks added to their recent gains.  Gold and oil suffered significant declines, however, as the risk premiums came off as the military threat subsided.  I thought we might have seen more damage to stocks in the early week on the Mars-Saturn aspect but the underlying strength of Venus in Libra may have been sufficient to reverse the polarity of those malefic planetary influences.

All eyes are on the Fed this week as it appears as if Ben Bernanke will announce the beginning of the QE taper.  The Fed is expected to reduce the amount of bonds it is buying on Wednesday.  This could mark the beginning of the end of the controversial quantitative easing program which was aimed at stimulating the economy.  Given the modest growth rates in the US these days and raging inflation across most of the developing world, it is unclear how effective it has been.  Interestingly, the Fed decision this week occurs just as Venus (money) is conjunct Saturn (restraint) and Rahu (breaking boundaries).  The prominence of Saturn here suggests that tapering is more likely. 

But Rahu's presence here is a bit of wild card and opens the door to a possible surprise by Bernanke.  When Rahu (North Lunar Node) is involved, we are often faced with situations of change and disruption.  At very least, it would seem an appropriate pattern for the Fed to reverse its loose money policy.  But it is also possible that Bernanke could surprise the markets in some way.  And as noted last week, the Venus-Saturn-Rahu conjunction this week occurs in a significant spot in the NYSE horoscope so that could translate into a significant market reaction to his announcement. 

India's new RBI governor Raghuram Rajan is due to make his first policy announcement on Friday.  The tight conjunction of Saturn and Rahu would similarly appear to favour an anti-inflation bias which aims to protect the Rupee.  Depending on the exact nature of what is announced, this seems like it could create problems for stock market investors.