Thursday, July 7, 2016

Are diplomacy and cooperation endangered arts? Astrology & the NATO Warsaw Summit 2016
There may be some who feel that NATO isn’t playing a useful role in today’s world, in which diplomacy and cooperation seem like lost arts, but is the alternative palatable? ... 
Should it be every nation for itself, come what may? 
We may think we don’t need any allies (an astrologically absurd thought), but what happens when we do?

Normally my eyes would glaze over at the news of an impending Warsaw NATO Summit, but with an astrologically volatile year ahead (see 5/3/16 post), my interest was piqued this morning when President Obama laid the groundwork for his trip to Warsaw by announcing that the number of troops coming home from Afghanistan by the end of his presidency would be reduced from 4,300 to 1,400. The remaining force of 8,400 would continue assisting the Afghan military against the combined threats of ISIS and a resurgent Taliban. From today’s press conference:
"I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again," Obama said, adding that over the years he has made several "adjustments" in their strategy. ""The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious. I strongly believe...that it is in our national security interest that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed."
Obama also characterized “assessing Afghan and Middle East strategies” as a major goal of the Summit, and when NATO meets about a specific threat, it’s probably good to pay attention. This is doubly intriguing during a political year when NATO’s relevance has actually been questioned by Republican candidate Donald Trump. As with most issues, Trump’s gripe with NATO is financial: he complains that other nation members take advantage of the U.S. and don’t pay their fair share.
“That means we are protecting them, giving them military protection and other things, and they’re ripping off the United States. And you know what we do? Nothing,” Mr. Trump said at a subdued rally here on the outskirts of Milwaukee. “Either they have to pay up for past deficiencies or they have to get out.”
“And if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO,” he concluded.
As with so many issues Trump has raised, he grossly oversimplifies the situation, but he does somehow raise points that resonate astrologically. After all, in this Capricorn Uranus-Neptune cycle (a major factor in today’s global economy and security issues), it’s a safe bet that any issue will resonate with the collective if it’s grounded in perceived financial injustices and laced with fear. When NATO was first founded in 1949—with WWII a very fresh memory—few would have questioned the need for such a defense alliance, whatever the cost.
In fact, the U.S. built its superpower status in the wake of WWII by taking on great responsibilities for defending its allies from 1) a resurgent Germany (West Germany wasn’t invited to join NATO until May 1955; and 2) the other emerging, but suddenly not-so-friendly superpower, the Soviet Union.
In all fairness, Trump’s claim that NATO “was really designed for the Soviet Union, which doesn’t exist anymore” is true, but what he’s not acknowledging is that as the perceived threats have morphed with the times, so has the organization.
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the 2014 Summit “delivered a faster, a stronger, and a more ready Alliance…We now need to take the next steps. So at our Summit in Warsaw, we will agree to further enhance our military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.”

Since a number of Eastern European countries were invited to join NATO after the 1989 breakup of the U.S.S.R. and its Eastern Bloc, Russia, under strongman Vladimir Putin, has become more belligerent and eager to recreate its lost empire. Ukraine’s recent experiences with Russian aggression in Crimea have raised a red flag for several former Eastern Bloc NATO members now within the Alliance.
Trump reportedly admires Mr. Putin, so maybe he thinks NATO should simply dissolve to let Putin have his empire? Trump also claims that NATO “wasn’t designed for terrorism”—again, true for the original organization, but as war and terrorism have become so entwined since 9/11, the organization has adapted, and as Obama pointed to above, strategies for addressing threats faced by Afghanistan and the Middle East are on this week’s Summit agenda. Even cyber threats have demanded NATO’s attention:
 “On June 15, 2016, NATO officially recognized Cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.”[62]

NATO’s astrological outlook
It wouldn’t be surprising if an organization founded 67 years ago, after WWII, was overdue for a makeover, or for some crisis of evolution. The European Union is going through a crisis, dealing with the massive outpouring of refugees from Middle Eastern and African countries, Brexit, and other possible renegade members; it’s only logical that NATO—charged with defending the U.S. and most of Europe—might be feeling that stress. Besides, organizations go through stressful passages just like anyone does.
So, is NATO at a critical astrological moment in its evolution now? Let’s consider a triwheel between NATO’s founding (its radix chart), this same chart progressed to this week’s July 8th Warsaw Summit, and the 2016 Warsaw Summit chart itself:

Triwheel 1: (inner chart) Radix, NATO, April 4, 1949, 12:00 p.m., ST, Brussels, Belgium; (middle wheel) Progressed, NATO, July 8, 2016, 12:00 a.m. GMT, Brussels, Belgium; (outer wheel) Radix, NATO Summit 2016, July 8, 2016, 9:00 a.m. DST, Warsaw, Poland.

Interchart T-square: NATO Sun-Venus-Mars (Aries) oppose NATO Neptune (Libra) and square Summit Sun-Mercury (Cancer).  An air of crisis-driven purpose is likely to pervade the Summit and challenge the organization. The members may be individually challenged to live out the ideals (Neptune) of the organization by committing soldiers (Venus-Mars) to strategic initiatives.
Interchart T-square: Summit Node (Virgo) opposes Summit Neptune (Pisces); all this squares Summit Saturn (Rx, Sagittarius); Summit Saturn (Sagittarius) conjoins Progressed Chiron/Moon (Sagittarius). This aspect suggests it’s time for NATO to live up to its lofty ideals, adjusting those ideals to be more pragmatic and hands-on (Virgo). Summit Neptune also widely opposes Summit Jupiter, which conjoins this Node, so expansive NATO military interventions (Virgo) may be in the works. Jupiter also widely opposes Chiron (Pisces) in this chart--something I've come to associate with the terrorist threat. There’s more to this, however: Jupiter and Neptune form part of the following interchart grand-square, as well.
Interchart Grand-square: Summit Jupiter (Virgo) opposes Summit Neptune (Pisces); this axis squares Progressed Sun-NATO Moon (Gemini) opposed to Progressed Moon (Sagittarius). This does suggest a crisis point in NATO’s ability to serve its purpose (Progressed Sun) and the people it’s committed to (Moon-Progressed Moon). Jupiter-Neptune could well represent the enormous flood of migrants coming into Europe and this could end up taxing NATO’s capabilities indirectly, through heightened tensions across the continent. All this highlights the importance of strategic rigor (Saturn in Sagittarius forms a wide t-square to Summit Jupiter and its opposition to Summit Neptune in Pisces). Plans will probably need to remain fluid under these mutable conditions.
Summit Jupiter (Virgo) trines Summit Pluto (Capricorn); Summit Pluto squares NATO Sun-Venus-Mars (Aries) and inconjoins Progressed Sun (Gemini). Wars seem to happen when there is an expansive political/finance support system available (trine to Pluto in Capricorn), so this is another indication that war could be on the horizon; whether NATO can respond to such a challenge will depend upon how cohesively it can act. The square from Pluto to its Aries stellium suggests destructive internal divisions.
The likelihood of armed conflict is reinforced here with Jupiter in Virgo (a growing military). Summit Pluto is also at the Mars/Neptune (midpoint), which can be a precarious point denoting dissolution and/or destruction. Does this pertain to NATO itself dissolving or losing power, or to the possibility that the Summit runs aground on disagreements? Summit Pluto’s inconjunct to NATO’s progressed Sun does suggest frustrating disagreements; all things considered, these configurations feel like a critical threshold for NATO. 
Interchart T-square: Summit Venus (Cancer) opposes NATO Jupiter (Capricorn); all this squares Summit Uranus-Eris-Progressed Node (Aries); Summit Venus trines Summit Mars (Scorpio). NATO’s powerful radix Jupiter appears vulnerable here to a shocking, disruptive event (Uranus-Eris) that strongly impacts the organization’s direction (Node). A desire for peace and security, including financial security (Cancer Venus) could demand a powerful, large-scale (Jupiter) response that the present organization will be over-stretched to provide.

Wrapping it up
So, there may be some who feel that NATO isn’t playing a useful role in today’s world, in which diplomacy and cooperation seem like lost arts, but is the alternative palatable? Is it time to drop our alliances and adopt a “survival of the fittest” perspective regarding our former defense partners? Should big powers like Russia (or China, or the U.S., for that matter) be free to gobble up their lesser neighbors with impunity?  Is it every nation for itself, come what may? We may think we don’t need any allies (an astrologically absurd thought), but what happens when we do?

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 

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