Sunday, August 31, 2014

Russian invades eastern Ukraine

(31 August 2014) Russian troops invaded eastern Ukraine last week prompting calls for tougher sanctions against the Putin government.  Putin denies that any invasion took place but evidence is mounting that the Russian adventure in Ukraine has entered a new phase.  Some observers are suggesting that Putin wants a land connection to Crimea, which Russia already took control of several months ago.  Thus far, US and EU sanctions have had little effect in deterring Russia and the eastern Ukrainian rebels.   Putin continues to bank on the unwillingness of the West to stop him militarily.  Meanwhile, newly-elected Ukrainian President Poroshenko is calling for NATO membership and armed intervention by the West. 

In a previous post in July, I suggested that Putin was likely to do something unpredictable and likely unsuccessful in August and September.  I noted that transiting Rahu (North Node) conjoined his Saturn at 24 Virgo.  I also thought that last week's Mars-Saturn conjunction at 23 Libra could also signify important developments in this crisis since it would align with Putin's Saturn.  Thia invasion would seem to fulfill some of that planetary symbolism as Putin is revealing himself as a law unto himself without regard for international opinion.   We can see that the invasion occurred when transiting Mars and Saturn were square his natal nodes.  This is a classic signature for unrestrained aggressive action without consideration for consequences.  Putin's tendency to act suddenly and unpredictably is further indicated by the exact Uranus opposition to his Sun. 

In the July post, I thought that Putin's chart did not look good given the Rahu and Saturn influences.  Not only is Rahu conjunct his Sun-Saturn pairing, but transiting Saturn (24 Libra) is moving up to oppose his Jupiter (26 Aries) and aspect his natal Ketu at 26 Cancer.  Of course, it is a matter of interpretation whether Putin is getting what he wants at this point.  Ukraine has not yet taken back eastern Ukraine although it has made gains in the past weeks against the Russian-backed rebels.  And the Russian troops have not yet gained a clear advantage or even engaged the Ukrainian army in a significant way.  Putin likely expected the current level of Western outrage but short of arming Ukraine, the West likely hasn't done anything that he wouldn't have planned on.

Given the tightening of the Saturn aspect to Jupiter and Ketu in the next several weeks, I would expect Putin's efforts to be opposed quite strongly.  The US may well decide to send arms to Ukraine.  And it may also decide to send NATO troops into the nearby Baltic states as a deterrent measure against possible future Russian attacks. In keeping with Saturn's tendency to deny one's ambitions, both of these moves would be a step backward for Putin's plans of resurrecting the Soviet Empire.  With Putin's chart looking afflicted in September, I would expect his troubles to continue with stronger Western actions quite likely. 

Putin's fortunes will likely improve, however, by November.  Saturn will have moved away from its affliction to Jupiter and allow for more of his plans to be realized.   This could include presenting a better case to the international community to justify his actions, or it may mean divisions among Western nations.  And it may also include military success.  I don't know if there will be a full-scale war with Ukraine.  Certainly, that is still possible given how unstable Putin's horoscope is in the coming months, even if his birth time is unknown.  He is capable of acting quickly and will not shy away from a fight.  If there is going to be a war, I think it is more likely to occur in early 2015. That may be the most dangerous time as Uranus conjoins Ketu (South Node) from December 2014 until March 2015.  

Financial Markets Update

Despite the rising risk of war and economic disruption in Europe, stocks inched higher last week.  The Dow closed at 17,098 while in Mumbai the BSE Sensex hit another all-time high of 26,638.  I had expected a little more action in the markets last week given the Mars-Saturn conjunction on August 25th.  As sometimes happens, a multi-planet alignment can coincide with gains even if malefics like Mars and Saturn are prominent.  Monday and Tuesday saw Mars align with Saturn but also with Uranus, Mercury and Venus.  The alignment reminds me of a famous five planet alignment that occurred on 24 August 1987 -- the very day the US market made a high after a long six-year rally. Less than two months later, the biggest crash in history took place that saw 25% of the value of stocks erased in a single day.  Only time will tell if last week's alignment will have a similar historical importance.  While I do not foresee an imminent crash, I still think the current planetary alignment is hostile to further gains. 

The planets this week offer a mixed bag.  There could be some early week strength as Venus enters Leo on Monday.  Wednesday's Sun-Jupiter alignment may also bring about some optimism.  The late week is more troubled as Mars enters Scorpio, however.  Underneath it all, Saturn is moving closer to its alignment with Rahu (North Node) so there is a rising risk here.  Even if stocks manage to stay aloft this week, there should be some turbulence quite soon.