26th Apr, 2014

A Shifting World

The historical cardinal cross of April 2014 is now just beginning to wane. It has brought no major earthquake or volcano or tsunami in its wake. But it has brought with it a seismic shift in the tectonic plates of the world’s geopolitical reality. Established international norms accepted since the end of World War II and codified in various treaties have been breached by a newly assertive Russia, which is presently aspiring to a revival of the more glorious stature and heft of its Soviet antecedent.  Besides the obvious peril of this sudden emergence of Russian aggression to the stability and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, and potentially several other former Soviet states, the Kremlin’s not-so-covert provocation and bullying tactics threaten to sabotage certain pillars of international law. Essentially, those who aspire to be a part of the community of nations have long agreed that seizing the territory of another sovereign nation is forbidden. Will crossing the border to “protect” ethnic cousins now become normalized if Russia manages to do so with relative impunity? The ramifications if this becomes the new standard could become a significant challenge to global stability.

At present, the Western alliance does not want to even contemplate a military response to Russia’s intrusive tactics in Ukraine. This is likely to change only if Vladimir Putin decides to actively move against a member of NATO. Economic sanctions, on the other hand, are the weapon du jour, and President Obama is orchestrating a punitive sanctions plan with Europe should Moscow refuse to deescalate the volatile situation it has engendered.

There are, however, some difficulties in establishing an effective sanctions regime. Europeans rely heavily on Russia’s oil and gas exports which make tailoring sanctions against Russia’s lucrative energy sector potentially damaging to Europe’s economy. Moreover, there are several global energy corporations with billions invested in Russian oil and gas projects that may not be beholden to any national interests and will simply pursue the maximization of their profits irrespective of any geopolitical concerns. It is possible that these two factors will conspire to limit the impact of any punitive plan created to thwart Russia’s expansionism.

In the near term, the tension building between Russia and the US seems likely to build through much of May, with the Pluto station continuing opposite the US Sun USchart(13Cancer19) through May 19, the Pluto square to the Russian Spring Equinox Ascendant (13Libra28) continuing through May 10, and the Pluto quincunx to Obama’s Sun (12Leo33) continuing through late June. These Pluto transits suggest that all parties to this Cold War-esque conflict are walking a razor’s edge path between too much aggression that might cause a backlash and too little aggression that might allow the adversary to exercise too much power. Moreover, this intense struggle, a hallmark of Pluto, is fraught with anxiety and manipulation. Pluto will return to aspect these sensitive degrees, as well as Putin’s Sun (13Libra56), in December 2014 and January 2015, and from June through November 2015, likely igniting other periods of intensified wrangling and power struggle between Russia and the US.putin

The good news for now is that Jupiter, the planet of success and expansionism, has passed the square to Putin’s Sun as of April 23, and Uranus will move past the opposition to Putin’s Sun and the square to Russia’s Neptune (13Capricorn48) after April 29. This may begin to calm Putin’s willingness to defy established norms (Uranus) in the immediate future, while it also quiets some of the more provocative appeals to Russian nationalism and hyperbolic expressions of Russian grievance (Neptune) in the immediate future.

Transiting Uranus, however, will return to oppose Putin’s Sun from late September 2014 russiathrough mid-February 2015, simultaneous to its return to the square of Russia’s Neptune during roughly the same period.  We can expect another round of nationalistic fervor and righteous grievance fueling whatever drama is unfolding at that time.

Another aspect of great significance is the progressed Russian Sun conjunction to natal Jupiter (15Cancer13) from August 2014 waxing through August 2015. Moreover, this progression will be strongly charged by transits from both Uranus (15Aries) and Pluto (15Capricorn) during the same period, and continuing to impact the waning progression through 2015.  This suggests a time of growing strength, expansion, and economic success for Russia that will not begin to diminish until late 2015. By 2016, when transiting Uranus moves into a square to Russia’s Saturn (24Capricorn12), and Pluto moves to square Putin’s Saturn (17Libra27), limitations and difficulties will be experienced. With the end of the strong stimulation of Russia’s Neptune by late 2015, disillusionment after unrealistic expectations also seems likely.

Besides the continuing Pluto opposition to the US Sun from February 2014 through November 2015, denoting this ongoing tension and power struggle, the US will also have a prolonged transit of Uranus square its Sun (13Cancer19) from October 2014 through early February 2015 pointing to unexpected challenges and volatility during the same period when many of the above described situations will occur, since the same Uranus and Pluto transits will be impacting Putin’s Sun, Russia’s Neptune, and to some degree Russia’s Jupiter.

During much the same time-frame, transiting Uranus will be opposed to the US Saturn (14Libra48) while Pluto will be in square to that point. As of April 26 through May 16, we are in the first crossing of the Uranus square to US Saturn.

My sense of these two transits to the US 10th house Saturn from late April 2014 through December 2015, is that the US will undergo a significant transformation of its global footprint, becoming leaner and more limited in definition, but ultimately more focused and effective.  This process will coincide with and seems likely to be related to the ongoing struggle with Russia that has been unleashed in the past few months. It also seems likely that President Obama will receive a great deal of criticism over the limitations and restructuring of American power from May 2014 through April 2015 due to Saturn transits to the Moon/Mars square in the Inaugural chart (late April to mid-May and September 2014), as well as Saturn transits in his own chart including the prolonged sesquiquadrate to his Venus (June 12 through August 3, 2014) and the opposition of Saturn to his Moon (January through April 2015).  By 2016, a softer wind is likely to ease many tensions that are impacting President Obama, and he will begin to be appreciated for all he has done, including navigating us through this mini-Cold War that Russia has recently thrust upon us.

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