Sunday, December 30, 2012

Predictions for the USA in 2013

The coming year is predicted to be more challenging for Americans than was the relatively uneventful year of 2012 - as was accurately predicted. The key pressure points in the national life in the coming year are described in this article. While most of the events that take place will have a limited duration, the intensity of the problems will likely come as a surprise. To identify the nature and timing of the events a reading of the 20° Cancer rising SAMVA (Perpetual Union) chart for the USA is done with a focus on i) the natal potential of the chart, ii) the trends indicated by the planetary periods and iii) the transit influences seen. The problems are mainly seen to come from transits involving the slow moving planets. There will be a number of transit-to-transit aspects and transit-to-natal aspects to contend with in 2013.

Trends in the national life
The USA is a great nation on the world stage and this is seen in the SAMVA USA chart. However, often times problems develop in the domestic arena, linked to the unequal position of various groups - whether it is along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, income strata or lifestyle. Moreover, the active foreign engagements of the USA tend to draw the country into conflicts. When the wars are not perceived to be just, the involvement of the USA reduces the communal harmony and produces anti-war protests. If the conflict is over incomes or taxes, there can be rebellions, strikes or protests, like the Tea Party protests of 2009 and 2010 and Occupy protests of late 2011 and early 2012. In the present VENUS major period the emphasis is on cleaning up after the housing bubble and bust and resultant collapse of the banking system. The inequality in the burden of adjustment was highlighted by the Occupy protests. Moreover, President Obama's effort in 2012 to raise the taxes on the wealthiest Americans is aimed to share the burden. As the Venus major period runs until April 2016, these issues will likely continue to be worked out before some progressive resolution is implemented, restoring a greater sense of communal harmony to the public life in the coming Sun major period

In the MERCURY sub-period since April 2011, the gaze of the USA is focused on both internal and external freedom of action and technological advances. An emphasis on intelligence and communication is also likely to be noted in the national life in this sub-period. Indeed, the high tech sector has been in the spot light in recent years, also due to the transit of Saturn through Virgo, ruled by Mercury, during the Saturn sub-period. At that time, it became clear that the USA was a leading force in the world for new products, bringing advanced computer and telephone products to mobile consumers around the world. The US also showed its technological superiority in 2012 by landing a large remote controlled scientific rover on the planet Mars and by conducting a high tech parachute jump from the edge of space. As has been described on this blog, the recent successes of the US foreign policy based on a smart power strategy has gained importance in 2012 due to its evident successes in bringing market and  democratic reforms to other countries, such as in the Arab world and Burma in recent years. Importantly, these results were obtained without the direct application of US military force, as was the hall mark of the controversial hard power strategy in foreign policy of President George W. Bush'(2001-2008). The above noted tendencies are expected to continue into early 2015, when the Venus-Ketu period begins.

In addition we should note that when slow moving planets change signs and houses, this alters the nature of the developments. Until June, 6th lord JUPITER will continue in the sign Taurus and 11th house. The energy of conflict concerning income and ideals will thus continue into the summer. After Jupiter moves into Gemini and the 12th house, the energy of conflict will take on a foreign dimension, with losses likely. SATURN, as 8th lord, will continue in its sign of exaltation, Libra and the fourth house in 2013. While this has the potential to bring easy gains to 4th house indications, including housing, natural resources or basic education, based on such things as mining and traditional industries, it also has the potential to bring events that disrupt the domestic harmony, especially as the 4th house is the weakest house in the chart. According to the eminent vedic astrologer & author V. K. Choudhry, the fourth house rules
"...the masses, nation's natural resources, agriculture, mines, minerals, landed properties, peace, general and political stability, natural calamities, educational institutions, law and order, housing and communal harmony."
Indeed, recently, the prospect for oil independence based on the exploitation of shale oil in the USA has made analysts predict the US will become a net exporter of oil in a few year's time. This is very much in line with Saturn, which rules mining and oil - and easy gains - entering its sign of exaltation which happens to rule over natural resources. However, as Saturn is the most malefic planet in the SAMVA USA chart, we should also be prepared for dangers accompanying the extraction practice of hydraulic fracturing, which may have the potential to increase seismic activity, as well as pollution. Of course, significant geological events mostly have natural causes. However, it is conceivable that such human activities on an industrial scale can produce relatively small events that could nonetheless act as triggers for larger adjustment along tectonic fault lines. The main point is that when malefic contacts increase on specific indications in a horoscope, the likelihood of adverse results in the affected areas is also seen to increase.  

On January 15, the malefic Moon's nodes, RAHU and KETU, will move out of their signs of debilitation, Scorpio and Taurus, and enter the signs Libra and Aries, respectively, where they will encounter their natal placements at 17° 47' Aries and Libra, respectively. While it is helpful that the nodes move into signs offering normal strength, their transit through the 4th and 10th houses can be difficult. Moreover, when transit FM Rahu joins 8th lord SATURN in Libra and 4th house, these two first rate malefics will together move into the MEP of the 4th house, which will likely place severe strain on the indications of this vulnerable 4th house, especially as they will encounter the natal nodes there and for Ketu in Aries and the 10th house to aspect natal Venus in the 6th house. As a result, we should expect some setbacks for those indications in the coming year. With transit KETU in Aries and the 10th house the executive government, Congress, law and order and foreign trade are also seen to come under stress. There could be financial difficulties for the government or manipulations of powerful vested interests being exposed in relation to the legislature.

On June 1, 2013, transit 6th lord JUPITER will enter Gemini and the 12th house. This could involve the US in conflictual issues abroad, maybe a war, which could entail losses, more so when Jupiter is mutually aspecting natal Ketu and transit Rahu in the 4th house in August. Sudden problems in public health are also possible. Banks, which are ruled by Jupiter and the Sun, could also have a more difficult time while Jupiter is transiting the house of losses.

Transits in early 2013
As the year opens, transit SATURN, as 8th lord of obstacles and endings, is in an applying conjunction with natal KETU at 17° 47' Libra and the most effective point of the 4th house, since December 3, 2012. The conjunction of these malefics and the opposition of Saturn to RAHU at 17° 47' Aries and 10th house MEP are difficult aspects, which will peak in the third week of February, when Saturn reaches 17° 28' Libra, where it will be one-third (0° 19') of a degree away from an exact conjunction and opposition, before going retrograde and separating from these aspects in mid-May (see transit graph 1). Ketu is placed in a highly sensitive area of the SAMVA USA chart, suggesting scope for violent or explosive events, possibly linked to inequalities and injustices in the national life. Ketu rules separations and sudden explosive events, with searing heat. By comparison, Saturn rules cold things. This combination is thus seen to bring together extremes of heat and cold - which can be explosive. Ketu is placed in the most effective point (MEP, +/- 5 degrees from rising degree) of the 4th house, which rules housing, communal harmony and natural resources. Venus, as 4th lord, is weak in the 6th house of conflict, (ill) health and financial (in)stability. This is more so as the 6th house is aspected by natal RAHU in Aries and MEP of the 10th house, which adds an element of confusion to the issues of the houses it touches (10, 2, 4 and 6). Unlike the other houses, the areas of life indicated by the 4th house are especially weak and vulnerable to setbacks. When transit Saturn becomes conjunct natal Ketu and opposite Rahu, notably in February 2013, the weather could turn extremely cold or stormy. There could also be sudden explosive events. As Saturn is the most malefic planet in the horoscope, ruling over obstacles and endings, many fatalities are possible. Spiritual, diplomatic or drug dealing people could be involved. Older people could also become isolated or abuses of them come to light. 

The conjunction of transit 8th lord Saturn at 13° 58' Libra and natal FM Ketu at 17° 47' Libra was already felt on December 14, 2012, when a young man murdered 27 people at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut. Other transits, notably involving 6th lord Jupiter were also present. In late December there has been a modicum of controversy over the film 'Django Unchained' by director Quentin Tarantino. African American's have objected to the casual manner in which slavery is presented and the excessive use of the word N*gger in the film which they find demeaning. Of more importance is the fact that Republicans in the US Congress are emphatically fighting President Obama's effort to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, as part of averting the fiscal cliff. If the Republicans prevail, this could be an issue that inflames the sentiments of Americans concerned about a fairer burden sharing following the increased indebtedness of the US government in order to save the US banking system from complete collapse in 2008 - an act that benefitted more the wealthy citizens of the country.

Another malefic transit is the station of JUPITER as 6th lord of conflict at12° 20' Taurus and 11th house in January and February. In this placement, Jupiter aspects natal MARS as 10th lord of government and laws, at 10° 07' Scorpio and 5th house of management, young people and creativity. This transit could arouse debate over the government or legislation, possibly involving such things as taxation or gun control. However, as Mars, who also rules courage, weapons and industry, is natally strong in the SAMVA USA chart, no setbacks are seen for these areas of the national life. In other words, any gun control legislation will not be seen to infringe on the rights of citizens granted in the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. More likely, the focus of the debate over gun control will be diverted to inequalities or failures of social, family or individual life that may engender such extreme behavior as shooting indiscriminately at innocent strangers with the intent to kill as many as possible. Indeed, as most such killers have been young men, found to have been isolated and mentally deranged, the focus could shift to a more proactive mental health care system. During this time, Jupiter will more closely aspect natal MERCURY, as 3rd lord of communication, enterprise and high tech activities, at 12° 05' Capricorn and 7th house of foreign policy. This is likely to intensify the debate about foreign policy and civil rights in the country or abroad. Prominent litigation involving high tech companies could also take place. Conflict or financial difficulties involving an ally could also be the source of the debate, as transit Jupiter is in the 11th house. Given its natal strength in the SAMVA USA chart, no major setback is expected for the indications of Mercury as a result of the tensions that arise in the opening months of the year.

Following the problems signaled by the conjunction of Saturn and Ketu in the opening months of the year, transit RAHU will become stationary in the MEP of the 4th house from March 24 to June 25. The peak of the nodal station occurs in mid-May at 22° 45‘ Libra. It is helpful to recall that transit Rahu was stationary at 19° Libra and Ketu at 19° Aries during the Rahu-Ketu period in 1929. In October of that year, all hell broke loose on Wall Street heralding the Great Depression of the 1930s. Fortunately, this station is further removed from the natal nodes and the periods are those of functional benefic planets, so a major financial market upheaval is not expected at this time. However, Rahu is in the MEP of the 4th house while transit KETU aspects natal 4th lord VENUS at 23° 50' Sagittarius and 6th house (see transit graph 2). The aspect is applying in February and becomes exact on March 23, just before Ketu becomes stationary in the MEP of 10th house at 22° 45‘ Aries. According to V. K. Choudhry, the planet Venus rules
"Resources, hotels, women folk, cinema industry, arts and leisure industry. It acts as significator for the seventh house."
During this time the above noted general indications of the weak and vulnerable Venus, as well as its functional indications as 4th lord, are likely to experience setbacks. There could be sudden problems developing concerning the housing sector, natural resources or communal harmony. Venus also rules women folk, artists, lifesaving drugs, aviation and enjoyment in life. All these areas of life would be vulnerable to sudden setbacks during this transit. The weather could also become erratic due to these influences. Moreover, the fast moving planets will also become conjunct transit Ketu while it is stationary around 23° Aries and 10th house MEP. Transit 4th lord VENUS will pass over this point on April 29. As Transit Ketu will still be afflicting natal Venus at 23° 50‘ Sagittarius and 6th house, this aspect means that Venus is afflicted both natally and in transit, which is likely to further aggravate its indications, as enumerated above.

On May 7 (see transit chart 1), transit 2nd lord SUN, ruling the status and wealth of the nation, as well as the President, will move over transit stationary KETU, when transit MERCURY as 3rd lord of communication and transportation, the sub-period lord, will be passing over natal KETU along with transit MARS as 10th lord of government, laws and foreign trade. Meanwhile, transit JUPITER as 6th lord of conflict will be aspecting natal Sun at 23° 44' Capricorn and 7th house and natal 8th lord Scorpio. In fact, transit Jupiter will be in aspect to these planets for most of May. These multiple transits afflictions in early May suggest tension for the above indications, including the possibility of violence. In one sense, the transit of Jupiter in May 2013 evokes the configuration seen during the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. However, there are two important differences. The highly malefic Jupiter-Saturn period was operating at that time and transit 8th lord Saturn was afflicting natal 6th lord Jupiter. Despite the other difficult transits seen in May 2013, the more favourable period suggests that an event of that magnitude and repercussion is not now likely.

That said, the transits in May 2013 are no easier than those of the preceding month. There is a recent historical event they do bring to mind, the Virginia Tech massacre, where 32 young people were killed and 17 were wounded, which was accurately predicted in the first prediction made on the basis of the SAMVA USA chart on December 30, 2006. The transits on April 16, 2007, had transit Ketu at 21° 36' Leo and MEP of the 2nd house in aspect to natal Venus and the 6th house, while transit Rahu in Aquarius and 8th house MEP aspected the 4th house. Meanwhile, transit 6th lord Jupiter at 25° 38' Scorpio was conjunct natal 8th lord Saturn. An important additional factor in the deadly shooting was that the Venus-Jupiter period was operating. This exacerbated the dual malefic impact of the transit of Jupiter and brought out the impact on young people, which is another general indication of Jupiter.

In 2013, the focus is on the general and functional indications of Mercury. According to V. K. Choudhry the general indications of Mercury include
"Strategists, advisors to head of state and intellectuals. It acts as significator for the fifth house."
However, aside from the early affliction of transit Jupiter to natal Mercury, the sub-period lord, and its house, the 3rd house, or its house of placement, the 7th house, only configure fleetingly in the major transits of the year. Nevertheless, as the transit influences always supercede the period trend influences, some adverse significant event is likely during these transits and it will likely be of the nature discussed above.
Transits in the summer of 2013
The transits in June and July will likely see some easing of conditions as no difficult transit stations are seen. However, transit 6th lord Jupiter in Gemini will aspect transit 8th lord Saturn in Libra in July (see transit graph 3).This transit always raises the likelihood of violent acts. Transit Rahu becomes conjunct natal Ketu and transit Ketu becomes conjunct natal Rahu on August 8, 2013. As the nodes are moving at normal speed, less intense problems are expected from this aspect than otherwise would be the case. 

In August 2012, transit 6th lord Jupiter will be in mutual aspect with transit Rahu and natal Ketu. This is a difficult transit combination, but fortunately all planets involved will be moving at normal speed lessening the intensity of the impact. The transit aspect becomes exact around August 16 (see transit chart 2). We could recall that transit Jupiter was at 17° 42' Gemini and 12th house in aspect to natal Ketu at 17° 47' Libra and 4th house when the 9/11 attacks took place during the Venus-Moon period, almost 12 years ago. At that time, the focus was on the identity of the country, as the Moon rules the 1st house of self. "God bless America" became a rallying cry and the American flag flew high. Moreover, following the attacks, transit Jupiter became stationary at 21° Gemini and the MEP of the 12 house in aspect to the 4th, 6th and 8th houses, consistent with the US invasion of Afghanistan and the Anthrax mailings. During the current Venus-Mercury period, the similar transit of Jupiter could bring problems for the USA at home or abroad. Some difficult to diagnose public health issue could bring concerns. There could be losses of life due to foreign military involvement, violence on the Mexico-USA border could erupt or the US banking system could run into financial difficulties. Such problems are also likely in February and March 2014, when transit Jupiter becomes stationary at 16° 23' Gemini. Fortunately, as Jupiter will not be in aspect also to transit Rahu at the same time it aspects natal Ketu, the complexity of the problems will be reduced, while their intensity is increased.

Transits in the fall of 2013

As the fall arrives, the difficulties would be less as transit 8th lord SATURN will be stationary  from June 2 to August 13, 2013. Peak of station will be at 10° 46‘ Libra on July 8. In this placement, Saturn does not afflict any natal points. Transit RAHU will become stationary from September 16 to December 18, 2012. Peak of the nodal station is at 13° 40‘ Libra on November 10. Transit KETU will then be stationary at 13° 40‘ Aries. In these placements, the nodes do not aspect any natal planet or point in the SAMVA USA chart, hence the problems are expected to be less. However, transit 8th lord SATURN will become conjunct transit RAHU in Libra from August 18 to October 26, 2013 when transit Saturn moves from 12° to 19° Libra while transit Rahu moves from 17° to 14° Libra. The planets become exactly conjunct at 14° 30‘ Libra on September 17. The indications of Saturn and Rahu are likely to become strained. Some problems are likely to emerge internationally with these transits. Transit 8th lord SATURN will become exactly conjunct natal KETU at 17° 47' Libra on October 17, 2013 after which time the issues that emerged at the beginning of the year will begin to find closure. Throughout the fall, faster moving planets will become conjunct transit 8th lord Saturn and transit stationary Rahu in Libra. This is likely to create brief problems for the indications of the planets involved.

In particular, the transit on September 18, 2013, when SATURN, VENUS and RAHU become conjunct in transit at 14° 30' Libra, while Jupiter at 22° 42' Gemini will be opposite natal Venus, is likely to be difficult for the indications of Venus (see transit chart 3). Transit 3rd lord MERCURY, and sub-period lord, will three times become briefly conjunct transit stationary RAHU at 13° Libra - and transit 8th lord Saturn - in early October, end October and mid-November. During those times, the indications of Mercury, such as initiatives, transportation and communication with a focus on housing, natural resources or communal harmony, could be thrown into some brief crisis. The work of government intelligence officials and strategic advisors could also become diffcult.

Transits in late 2013
Transit 6th lord Jupiter will become stationary from October 13 to December 2, 2013. Peak of the station is at 26° 27‘ Gemini on November 7. Transit Jupiter will then aspect natal Venus at 23° 54‘ Sagittarius and 6th house. This suggests that any conflict, especially abroad, may disturb the communal harmony in the USA. Moreover, transit 8th lord Saturn in Libra and 4th house will be in applying aspect to natal Venus in November, while it is under the aspect of transit stationary 6th lord Jupiter in Gemini and 12th house, with both planets aspecting natal and transit 4th lord Venus in Sagittarius and 6th house. The time in late November could bring a tragic event (see transit chart 4).

Some sudden violent event is possible in early 2013, when also intense conflict in the domain of foreign policy or communication is likely. The issue of fairness is also likely to become prominent in the national debate during the year. A tragic event involving significant fatalities is likely in the spring and early summer and it will severly disturb the communal harmony. In 2013, pronounced problems involving legislative matters, the executive government, fairness, housing or natural resources is likely. In August, losses involving foreign military involvement, public health or banks is possible. During the fall and in late 2013, communal harmony is likely to continue strained due to conflict abroad or some tragic events.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rise of US smart power diplomacy in the Mercury sub-period

In President Obama‘s first term, a new foreign policy strategy has emerged and taken hold, a so-called ‘smart‘ power strategy. This strategy focuses on using both ‘soft‘ and ‘hard‘ power approaches to advance American influence in the world. The policy evolved as a reaction to the hard power strategy of President George W. Bush, notably his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As predicted on December 30, 2011, in the Mercury sub-period of the SAMVA USA chart (Perpetual Union), which began in April 2012, the use of US foreign policy has become more important, along with an increased emphasis on the use a soft power strategy. In part, this is due to the realisation that information technologies are enabling the public to play a bigger role in political decision making in countries around the world, especially where power has been centralised. Arguably, President Obama‘s foreign policy has been influential in bringing about the Arab Spring in early 2011 and the democratisation of Burma in August 2011. The killing of Osama bin-Laden in May 2011 and the use of force in Libya are hard power components of the smart power approach, while the closer cooperation of the USA with ‘strategic partners‘ like China and Russia reflects the soft power emphasis. Interestingly, in 2012, the Republican presidential candidates were all vehemently against this foreign policy approach, favouring a more hard power policy strategy, especially in resolving the problems faced by Israel in the middle east. However, their policy approach did not resonate with the American public and their candidate, Mitt Romney, lost the election to President Obama. Moreover, due to the evident successes of the foreign policy, the celebrity role of Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, has increasingly come into view in the second half of President Obama‘s first term, especially as she gets ready to step down. Arguably, her successor, Senator John Kerry, will bring more traditional eminence to this role. The prominence of Clinton as Secretary of State is now reminiscent of the role of Henry Kissinger in this capacity during the Mercury-Mercury period.

The key moments of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State are helpful to show how the domain of US foreign policy shifted into high gear in 2011, as the Mercury sub-period approached.[1] Meanwhile, the prominence and successes of US foreign policy have been highlighted by Clinton's decision in early 2012 to step down after Obama's first term.

  • Dec. 1: Nominated by President-elect Obama.
  • Jan. 21: Confirmed by Senate in 94-2 vote.
  • March 6: Presents Russian foreign minister with “reset” button, but the Russian word used translates to “overcharge.”
  • July 27-28: Convenes first U.S.-Chinese Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington to advance diplomatic ties between the two powers.
  • Oct. 20: Persuades Afghan President Hamid Karzai to accept second round of elections after first round is marked by low turnout and allegations of fraud.
  • Nov. 2: Urges Israel to go further in restraining housing settlements in the West Bank.
  • Jan 12: Catastrophic earthquake in Haiti leaves more than 300,000 dead, presenting challenges for State Department’s Agency for International Development.
  • Sept. 1: Middle East peace talks in Washington bring key leaders to Washington, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but little progress is made.
  • Nov. 28: Wikileaks releases a quarter-million confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, forcing State Department to repair damaged relations with allies.
  • Jan. 4: Death of Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire sparks beginning of Arab Spring.
  • Jan. 13: Warns in Qatar that region’s foundations “are sinking into the sand.”
  • Jan. 26: Public uprisings begin in Syria.

  • Feb. 11: Mubarak government falls in Egypt weeks after Clinton called it “stable.”
  • March 11: Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan presents new challenge for U.S. relief efforts.
  • March 19: U.S.-led bombing campaign in Libya, a multination coalition Clinton helped assemble.
  • May 1: Killing of Osama bin Laden, monitored in real time by Clinton and President Obama
  • Oct. 20: Moammar Gadhafi captured and killed in Libya.
  • Dec. 1: Meets dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma.
  • April 24: Clinton is named in Time magazine’s list of world’s 100 most influential people.
  • May 5: Ties Madeleine Albright’s record for most countries visited with trip to Bangladesh, her 96th country.
  • May 18: First U.S. ambassador to Burma since 1990 named, and bans eased on business investment there.
  • January 21: Hillary Clinton steps down as US Secretary of State and is replaced by Senator John Kerry.
Hillary Clinton's diplomatic legacy
Analysts have pointed out that "Clinton's to pull allies and even adversaries into more and deeper alliances so that as the world turns, U.S. values and interests are advanced." Clinton herself has stated "We want a seat at every table that has the potential for being a partnership to solve problems." She added "I think it's a smart but necessary approach in the 21st century, where we are all so networked and where we don't have the luxury of picking and choosing. We have to be engaged everywhere". One analyst noted that Clinton restored "diplomacy that's so sure-footed, you don't notice."[2] Other observers have noted her diplomatic and political success.[3]  Some have emphasised her approach to "look at diplomacy through innovation and the eyes of the people...Clinton approach has been nothing but contagious, pushing governments around the globe to embrace technology and social media tools to different degrees...Ediplomacy is certainly an area where innovation – rather then technology, per se – play the central role."[4]

A 'celebrity' as Secretary of State
On December 21, 2012, as Clinton gets ready to step down, CNN offered this verdict on her performance as Secretary of State.
"Anybody who follows Clinton would have some pretty big shoes to fill. Clinton was not just the most popular member of the president's Cabinet for the past four years, she had celebrity status and respect almost everywhere she went around the world."[5]
This is reminiscent of the celebrity of Henry Kissinger, who became Secretary of State in 1973, during the Mercury-Mercury period, and who is credited with inventing "Shuttle diplomacy" and, along with Richard Nixon, carrying out a policy of "detente" (thaw) with Russia and China.

Smart Power

"In international relations, the term smart power refers to the combination of hard power and soft power strategies. It is defined by the Center for Strategic and International Studies as "an approach that underscores the necessity of a strong military, but also invests heavily in alliances, partnerships, and institutions of all levels to expand American influence and establish legitimacy of American action"...According to Chester A. Crocker, smart power "involves the strategic use of diplomacy, persuasion, capacity building, and the projection of power and influence in ways that are cost-effective and have political and social legitimacy" – essentially the engagement of both military force and all forms of diplomacy... In light of 9/11 and the war in Iraq, the Bush administration was criticized for placing too much emphasis on a hard power strategy... Obama's "2011 May Speech on the Middle East and North Africa" called for a smart power strategy, incorporating development, in addition to defense and diplomacy, as the third pillar of his foreign policy doctrine."[6] 

Joseph S. Nye, foreign policy advisor to President Obama, has advanced his thesis that there are
" Two important power shifts [.] occurring in this century -- power transition and power diffusion. Power transition from one dominant state to another is a familiar historical event, but power diffusion is a more novel process. The problem for all states in today's global information age is that more things are happening outside the control of even the most powerful governments. In an information-based world, power diffusion is a more difficult problem to manage than power transition.[7] 
Nye argues that smart power becomes a necessary strategy to cope with such changes in the world of realpolitik. However, the Republican candidates for President in the 2012 primary and presidential debates would have none of it. As one analyst phrased it:
"On foreign policy, the platform shared by Republican candidates for president can be encapsulated in one phrase: the war on smart power... The Republican candidates yearn for another American century."[8]
American Century
Indeed, the American Century was a key objective of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other important luminaries in the administration of George W. Bush. This concept is characterized as the 20th century having been largely dominated by the USA in political, economic and cultural terms.

"The United States' influence grew throughout the 20th century, but became especially dominant after the end of World War II, when only two superpowers remained, the United States and the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States remained the world's only superpower, and became the hegemon, or what some have termed a hyperpower... The American Century existed through the Cold War and demonstrated the status of the United States as one of the world's two superpowers. After the Cold War, the most common belief held that only the United States fulfilled the criteria to be considered a superpower...America's military strength was an essentially naval-based advanced military with the highest military expenditure in the world...America had one of the largest armies in the world. America had one of the two largest air forces in the world. America's powerful military allies in Western Europe (NATO) had their own nuclear capabilities. America possessed a global Intelligence network (CIA).[9]

Clearly, the emphasis here is on the military might of the USA, the hard power aspect of foreign policy.

Evaluating Obama's foreign policy
As described by the State Department, the foreign policy agenda of the US is
"to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community."[10]
This agenda is in alignment with the placement of a powerful Sun as 2nd lord of status on the MEP of the 7th house of foreign policy and the placement Mercury as 3rd lord of speech and action in the same house. 

Some have considered Obama's foreign policy "from Libya to its approach to Syria...[to have] been a disappointment[11], while for others it has been effective.[12]. In January 2012, the following assessment was made "Obama has made steady moves in support of democracy. After treating it like a dirty word in its first year and a half, the administration has returned to a pro-democracy posture not only in the Middle East, but also in Russia and Asia."[13] The smart power foreign policy, which involves a rebalancing of efforts in a new fiscal environment, has received growing acclaim at home and abroad. Some authors argue that "the rebalancing is the most valuable investment in U.S. foreign policy today."[14]  The reelection of President Obama in November 2012 has also reinforced the growing anecdotal evidence that his foreign policy in the first term has been a great success in terms of its agenda of spreading freedom and democracy around the world - as well as maintaining peace - in view of the role of the USA as the "World's policeman".

Prediction for the USA in 2012
On December 30, 2011 the following prediction was made for the USA based on the SAMVA USA chart:
"In April 2012, a change in sub-periods takes place, from the Saturn sub-period (February 16, 2009 - April 19, 2012) to the Mercury sub-period, suggesting a shift in the collective emphasis...As Mercury is 3rd lord and sun-like planet in the 7th house of the chart, from April a shift in emphasis is expected towards advances in high tech activities driving economic developments and increased diplomatic activities of the US government." [15]
Earlier it has been pointed out that the importance of foreign policy has increased during Mercury periods, with an emphasis on securing the freedom of action and speech around the world.

It can now be seen that this salient prediction for a shift in 2012 to an empahsis on US foreign policy, notably in terms of a growing recognition of its success, has been demonstrated to have been realised.

[1] What will Hillary Clinton's diplomatic legacy be? US Today - 5/17/2012 11:43 PM ET.
[2] What will Hillary Clinton's diplomatic legacy be? Richard Wolf, USA TODAY – 17 May 2012.
[3] Hillary Clinton using ‘Smart power‘. CNN - October 27, 2011.
[4] eDiplomacy: Hillary Clinton's legacy beyond 140 characters. Andreas Sandre, Dec. 14, 2012, 1:24 PM.
[5] Obama nominates John Kerry to be secretary of state. CNN - December 21, 2012, 2316 GMT.
[6] Wikipedia entry on Smart Power.
[7] In an information age, soft power wins, Joseph S. Nye, CNN- February 14, 2011, 1917 GMT.
[8] Stokes: The GOP war on 'Smart Power'. Jacob Stokes, CNN - November 21st, 2011, 06:18 PM ET.
[9] Wikipedia entry on the American Century
[10] Mission and Values: United States Department of State and USAID. 2007.
[11] The Top 5 U.S. Foreign Policy Screw-Ups of 2012.Matthew Feeney - December 14, 2012.
[12] Top 8 Foreign Policy Achievements of the Obama Administration.Madame Noire - August 31, 2011.
[13] Grading Obama's Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy - JANUARY 23, 2012.
[14] Shawn Brimley and Ely Ratner (2013). Smart Shift: A Response to "The Problem With the Pivot"
[15] Predictions for the USA in 2012 - December 30, 2011

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Summer of 2019

In the summer of 2019, an unusually difficult transit configuration will connect with a sensitive natal placement in the 20° Cancer rising SAMVA (Perpetual Union) horoscope for the USA. The Sun-Saturn period will be operating and transit sub-period lord, 8th lord Saturn, will become conjunct transit malefic Ketu, which will be stationary at 23° 30‘ Sagittarius and the 6th house of the horoscope, right on top of natal 4th lord Venus at 23° 50‘ Sagittarius. While the US is predicted to enjoy political stability and respect in global affairs during the Sun major period from April 2016 to April 2021, the summer of 2019, especially the months of May to July, suggest that an unfortunate series of events is likely that will be accompanied by a loss of harmony in the national life.

Astrology of the event
As the Saturn sub-period will be operating, the focus of national affairs will be on civil servants, low technology industries and mines as well as the indications of the eighth house, which include obstructions, fatal accidents, epidemics, capital gains, floods, earthquakes and storms. When Saturn joins Ketu, its indications of estrangement, separation, natural calamities and violent actions or events will also be activated.

Moreover, the main focus of this destructive energy will likely be directed at the indications of Venus, which include resources and the aviation, entertainment and leisure industries. As Venus rules the fourth house, its indications will likely be disturbed, such as the nation's natural resources, agriculture, mines, general and political stability, natural calamities, educational institutions, law and order, housing and communal harmony.

As this transit–to-natal combination takes place in the sixth house, the problems will likely involve relations with neighbors, general health of the public, political stability, the financial solvency of the country, judicial functioning, labour relations and communal harmony in the country.

Over the summer, transit 6th lord Jupiter will also be moving in retrograde motion over sub-period lord Saturn at 26° 46' Scorpio and 5th house. This aspect is seen to increase the scope for a violent event. Transit Jupiter will then becomes stationary at 20° Scorpio, where it becomes conjunct the most effective point (MEP) of the 5th house of creativity, universities and young people. From there, Jupiter also aspects the 9th house of luck, 11th house of income, friends and goals and 1st house of self. The conjunction of Jupiter introduces an energy of conflict to these house indications.

Finally, around July 9, 2019, transit 2nd lord Sun will become conjunct transit stationary Rahu in the 12th house. This additionally suggests a tense few days for the President of the country.

Interestingly, the transits are seen to be difficult in the 24° 34' Cancer rising horoscope of Iran, which will be running Jupiter-Ketu period at that time. The conjunction of transit 8th lord Saturn and transit stationary malefic Ketu will be occuring in the MEP of the 6th house while transit stationary Rahu will be in the 12th house. Moreover, the transit nodes will be in close aspect to the natal nodes in the 2nd and 8th houses. The transits also suggest problems in the 23° 29' Cancer rising horoscope for the European Union with Rahu-Jupiter period operating. However, no natal planets are involved, so the problems would be less there.

The indications mentioned above suggest that there could be a violent man made or natural event involving mass casualties. Alternatively, there could be a sudden large scale financial disaster, a deadly epidemic or a major pollution accident. The USA could also find itself involved in a war or endure an attack on its own soil. Whatever, the event, the transits are malefic and long lasting enough to suggest a significant strain on the national life during the summer of 2019.

Saturn and Rahu in British imperial ambition

In view of the second Rahu major period beginning in the 16° Virgo rising horoscope for the UK on 1 January 2013, it is interesting to look to the events that transpired in the previous Rahu major period from 1 January 1893 to 28 December 1910. In an earlier article, the social strains in British upper class society over the trial of Oscar Wilde in this period have been described. Another significant event in the collective life of Britons is the Anglo-Boer Wars of the late 19th century, in particular the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, which was a protracted and difficult affair. The British empire, which had expanded across the globe, stood at its zenith. However, there were other European powers on the horizon, including Germany, which Britain viewed with suspicion.

The Anglo-Boer wars
The Anglo-Boer Wars, also known as the Freedom Wars in South Africa, were two wars fought during 1880-1881 and 1899-1902 by the British Empire against the Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic.

The First Anglo-Boer War was a brief affair, after Boers, mostly farmers began a rebellion against British rule in the Transvaal on 16 December 188, in an effort to re-establish their independence.The war, which ended on 23 March 1881, occurred against the backdrop of the Pretoria government becoming increasingly ineffective at dealing with growing claims on South African land from rival interests within the country. British expansion into southern Africa had been fueled by three things, i) a desire to control the trade routes to India, ii) the discovery in 1868 of huge mineral deposits of diamonds and iii) as part of a race against other European colonial powers in Africa. Four days after the Boers revolted and declared their independence from the United Kingdom, they ambushed and destroyed a British Army convoy on 20 December 1880. From 22 December 1880 to 6 January 1881, British army garrisons all over the Transvaal became besieged. Although generally called a war, the actual engagements were of a relatively minor nature considering the few men involved on both sides and the short duration of the combat, lasting some thirteen weeks and involving few men on either side and sporadic actions.

The Second Anglo-Boer War lasted from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902. By contrast, it was a lengthy war—involving large numbers of troops from many British possessions, which ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies. These colonies later formed part of the Union of South Africa. The discovery of lucrative gold mines – contributing each year 7 billion Pounds in modern value -- added to the British desire for control over South Africa.The British fought directly against the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State, defeating their forces first in open warfare and then in a long and bitter guerrilla campaign, which was an innovation that has since become a standard part of modern warfare. Concentration Camps were also an innovation in British warfare. British losses were high due to both disease and combat. The policies of "scorched earth" and civilian internment in concentration camps (adopted by the British to prevent support for the farmers/Boer commando campaign) ravaged the civilian populations in the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State.
The war had three distinct phases.
  • First phase: The Boer offensive (October – December 1899) In the first phase, the Boers mounted pre-emptive strikes into British-held territory in Natal and the Cape Colony, besieging the British garrisons of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley. The Boers then won a series of tactical victories at Colenso, Magersfontein and Spionkop against a failed British counteroffensive to relieve the sieges.
  • Second phase: The British offensive (January -September 1900). In the second phase, after the introduction of greatly increased British troop numbers under the command of Lord Roberts, the British launched another offensive in 1900 to relieve the sieges, this time achieving success. After Natal and the Cape Colony were secure, the British were able to invade the Transvaal, and the republic's capital, Pretoria, was ultimately captured in June 1900.
  • Third phase: Guerrilla war (September 1900 – May 1902) In the third and final phase, beginning in March 1900, the Boers launched a protracted hard-fought guerrilla war against the British forces, lasting a further two years, during which the Boers raided targets such as British troop columns, telegraph sites, railways and storage depots. In an effort to cut off supplies to the raiders, the British, now under the leadership of Lord Kitchener, responded with a scorched earth policy of destroying Boer farms and moving civilians into concentration camps.
Towards the end of the war, British tactics of containment, denial, and harassment began to yield results against the guerrillas. The British offered terms of peace on various occasions, notably in March, 1901, but were rejected by Botha. The last of the Boers surrendered in May, 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging signed on 31 May 1902. Although the British had won, this came at a cost; the Boers were given £3,000,000 for reconstruction and were promised eventual limited self-government, which was granted in 1906 and 1907. The treaty ended the existence of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State as independent Boer republics and placed them within the British Empire. The Union of South Africa was established as a member of the Commonwealth in 1910.
Socio-political ramifications
Domestically, there was fallout. Although the 1900 UK general election, also known as the "Khaki election," had resulted in a victory for the Conservative government on the back of recent British victories against the Boers, public support quickly waned as it became apparent that the war would not be easy and further unease developed following reports about the treatment by the British army of the Boer civilians. Public and political opposition to government policies in South Africa regarding Boer civilians was first expressed in Parliament in February, 1901 in the form of an attack on the policy, the government, and the army by the radical Liberal MP David Lloyd George.
In South Africa, the Second Anglo-Boer War cast long shadows. The predominantly agrarian society of the former Boer republics was profoundly and fundamentally affected by the scorched earth policy of Roberts and Kitchener. The devastation of both Boer and black African populations in the concentration camps and through war and exile were to have a lasting effect on the demography and quality of life in the region. Many exiles and prisoners were unable to return to their farms at all; others attempted to do so but were forced to abandon the farms as unworkable given the damage caused by farm burning and salting of the fields in the course of the scorched earth policy. Destitute Boers and black Africans swelled the ranks of the unskilled urban poor competing with the "uitlanders" in the mines
The international reaction to the abuses was mixed. The vast majority of troops fighting for the British army came from the United Kingdom. However, a large number did come from other parts of the British Empire. These countries had their own internal disputes over whether they should remain tied to the United Kingdom, or have full independence, which carried over into the debate around the sending of forces to assist the United Kingdom. Many Irish nationalists sympathised with the Boers, viewing them to be a people oppressed by British imperialism, much like, in their opinion, themselves. Irish miners already in the Transvaal at the start of the war formed the nucleus of two Irish commandos. Stretcher-bearers of the Indian Ambulance Corps during the war included future leader Mohandas Gandhi. 
Astrology of the events 
The first thing to note in the 16° Virgo rising horoscope for the United Kingdom is the placement of Rahu at 22° 59' Pisces and 7th house. The 7th house deals with others and in mundane astrology this house is closely connected with foreign policy. The placement of Rahu, the indicator of shadowy and manipulative things in this house, indicates that the UK has strong desire in this domain of life, more so as Rahu aspects the 1st lord Mercury at 26° 28' Scorpio and 3rd house. Mercury is weakened in Navamsa chart by having its dispositor badly placed and debilitated. The 3rd house of speech and action, is itself further compromised by the aspect of 8th lord Mars at 20° 40' Aries and 8th house. Hence, the chart suggests that the actions of the British state may at times be motivated more by an desire for aggrandisement, dressed up in plausible arguments, than by a purely objective concern for others well being. When this is the case, the result may be less positive than hoped for and may even result in setbacks to the national pride.

It is interesting that both wars took place during the sub-periods of Saturn, the 6th lord of conflict, which is weak being in infancy and badly placed in the 12th house, while also debilitated and badly placed in the 12th house of the Navamsa chart. The 12th house rules losses, foreign things and far away places. The 12th lord Sun at 19° Sagittarius where it is in the most effective point (MEP) of the 4th house of land and in aspect to the 10th house of international standing is suggestive of the foreign reach of empire but also of the dramatic losses of the same. The first Boer War took place during the Moon-Saturn period. The second Boer War began during the Rahu-Saturn period and was concluded in the Rahu -Mercury period. The lesson here is that Saturn thus placed is not helpful for participation in conflict. Fortunately, 4th lord Jupiter is exalted and well placed at 10° 49' Cancer and 11th house, with 11th lord Moon at 28° 20' Gemini and 10th house. The UK has friends like the USA. However, the weakness of the Moon, also in view of the aspect of 12th lord Sun to the 10th house, suggests that the strength of such friendship has its limits. However, let us again turn to Rahu, as the second war took place in its major period. Interestingly, the war brought out guerrilla tactics by the Boers, to which the UK reaction was ruthless, adopting a scorched earth policy and concentration camps in order to win the war. The UK was attempting to maintain its grip on a far away country in the face of local resistance by both the Dutch colonialists and indigenous people. As for the transits, at the outbreak of the Second Boer War, transit 6th lord Saturn was exactly conjunct natal 1st lord Mercury in the 3rd house and closely conjunct transit Rahu. Transit Saturn had just completed a station at 24° Virgo while transit Rahu was about to settle into a station at 27° Virgo. While the UK won at significant cost, the gain was fleeting and the debate at home was highly divided over the methods used. For the balance of the Rahu period, Britain was free of participation in major wars, but the concerns continued. In the Jupiter period, which began well enough, the peace among the major powers was finally out in July 1914, when the first World War broke out. Again, the Saturn sub-period was operating. While, the result was not unambiguously bad for Britain, the power of the USA was in ascendancy. World War II, which broke out during the Saturn-Mars period, was more harmful to British global standing, as the Pax Americana replaced the prior Pax Britannica. 

In short, the British have a desire for importance in the world, linked to Rahu in the 7th house of their chart in aspect to their 1st lord Mercury. However, when they invariably get pulled into foreign conflict, the result is a setback to their dreams as shown by their weak 6th lord Saturn in the 12th house along with the 12th lord Sun afflicting their 4th and 10th houses. Looking ahead, the aspects during the summer of 2019, when the Rahu-Saturn period will be operating, look quite difficult for Britain.