Obama’s Afghanistan War Plans: Mars Retrograde in Leo
Last week on Tuesday, December 1st at 8 pm at West Point Military Academy in New York, President Barack Obama revealed his plans to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan, and to withdraw American troops beginning in July 2011. This announcement comes as Mars (the bringer of war), is becoming brighter in the night sky as it slows down toward its retrograde station in Leo, right on Obama’s natal Descendant. Mars goes retrograde on December 20 and will remain so until it stations direct around March 10, 2010.
Many people in the media and in the general population have compared the continuation of war efforts in Afghanistan to previous military blunders by the US in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. As astrology would have it, these comparisons are not far off.
The Mars Retrograde Cycle
Mars operates on a 15-year cycle, based on its position relative to the Sun, also called its synodic cycle. It goes retrograde about every 26 months, in roughly the same area of the zodiac every fifteen years.
So the imminent Mars retrograde period is related to the Mars retrogrades of 1995, 1980, 1965, 1950, and so on.
Lets see what happened during those retrogrades, and if there are any lessons we can take from history about what is happening today.
Mars Retrograde, February 12th-May 3rd 1950, 11 Libra-22 Virgo
The Korean War marked the first proxy war of the Cold War, where Soviet Russia and the United States faced off against each other indirectly by supporting and fighting in wars in different countries either trying to spread or contain communism. At the end of World War II, boundaries of territories occupied by the Allies were redrawn all over the world. Soviet Russia took North Korea above the 38th parallel, the US took the South. When the Soviets left North Korea, they left a well-equipped communist regime in place. When the US left South Korea, they were virtually powerless.
The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed on February 14, 1950, two days after transiting Mars stationed retrograde in Libra, emboldening North Korea’s plans for an invasion of the South, which it began to prepare for that spring, as Mars was becoming brighter in the night sky.
War did not break out until June 25th 1950, when North Korea finally invaded South Korea. UN and US forces intervened on South Korea’s behalf. This occurred at the Sun’s square with Mars directly following the retrograde period. After 3 years the war came to a stalemate, with the North and South separated at the 38th parallel.
A ceasefire was signed on July 27th 1953. There was no clear victory for either side, but one could argue at least that communism was successfully contained in this case. However, after 3 years and thousands of lives, the question of if these kinds of wars were worth fighting would reappear in subsequent periods.
Mars Retrograde, January 28th-April 19th 1965, 28 Virgo-8 Virgo
On August 2nd 1964, Vietnamese ships allegedly torpedoed a US ship on an intelligence mission in the Gulf of Tonkin, known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In response, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7th 1964, which authorized the President to use military force in Southeast Asia without a formal declaration of war.
President Lyndon Johnson was in the middle of the 1964 elections, but once he was elected and inaugurated on January 20th 1965, he officially escalated combat operations in Vietnam on the morning of January 31st 1965, just three days after transiting Mars stationed retrograde in Virgo.
As everyone knows, this conflict turned out to reveal the limits of American power to contain communism. Extreme tactical advantages could not overcome fundamental strategic weaknesses. Nearly 8 years to the day that Johnson escalated the Vietnam War, the Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27th 1973, ending it. 8 years is the synodic return of Venus, (the bringer of peace).
Soviet War in Afghanistan
Mars Retrograde, January 16th-April 6th 1980, 15 Virgo-25 Leo
The young Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was having troubles with the Islamic Mujahideen Resistance movement. So they asked Russia for help. Some Soviet leaders worried that it would become the Soviet Union’s “Vietnam”.
Soviet Russia invaded Afghanistan on December 27th 1978 as Mars was slowing down and brightening in the night sky. In the early months of 1980, something unexpected (or expected, depending on your point of view) happened. The Soviets banked on their presence pacifying the country. Instead, it stirred up nationalist sentiment against the Russians.
Russia controlled main cities and strategic locations, but the Mujahideen split up into small groups and waged a guerilla war. Despite the Soviets having the superior military and weapons, they soon found themselves significantly challenged by fighting random urban uprisings, tribal armies and sometimes against rogue sections of the Afghan army.
The Mujahideen were funded and supported by the US government and other western countries. (Ironic, because the Mujahideen would eventually give rise to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban). It was another proxy war between the US and Russia, except this time, the shoe was on the other foot. Just as Vietnam had shown the limits of American power to contain communism, Afghanistan had shown the limits of Soviet power to spread communism.
Russian War in Chechnya
Mars Retrograde, January 2nd-March 24th 1995, 2 Virgo-13 Leo
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Boris Yeltsin was elected Russia’s first President on a wave of high expectations in Russia and across the world as a populist liberal democratic reformer. However, an outstanding issue of Chechnya’s sovereignty dragged Yeltsin into an unpopular war which his popularity never survived.
On December 11th 1994, Russian federal forces invaded the former Soviet province of Chechnya, just as transiting Mars was slowing down toward its retrograde station, glowing brighter in the night sky.
The federal forces went in with a far superior military, but in just a couple of months were quickly overwhelmed by the guerilla tactics of Chechen militants while Mars was retrograde. Yeltsin privately admitted that he was afraid going into Chechnya would become a “second Afghanistan”.
US Escalation of War in Afghanistan
Mars Retrograde, December 20th 2009-March 10th 2010, 19 Leo-0 Leo
We know the story. 9/11 happened. On October 7th 2001 the US invaded Afghanistan (Sun square Mars following a retrograde period). Nearly a Mars return later, George W. Bush called for an invasion of Iraq (which has its own astrological story we’ll get to in a future article) and got distracted by that for 6 years, leaving a mess for the next guy.
Barack Obama came into office with a wave of international support for change. Over Venus’s synodic return of the initial invasion of Afghanistan, he weighed and balanced all the options, agonizing over the worth of the war. The turning point in his deliberations occurred after visiting Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, November 11th 2009. Mars was just two days away from his Sun in Leo. He knew what he had to do.
Finally, President Obama boldly called for 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan and a withdrawal date of July 2011, indicating a dip in-dip out strategy. These troops are to be deployed in early 2010, during which time, Mars will be retrograde in the same part of its cycle as previous difficult wars were waged under. Instead of communism, the threat is terrorism. The policy still appears to be containment.
Now what is interesting here is that the media is comparing the military episodes listed above to Obama’s plans for Afghanistan. Oftentimes the best astrological insights can come from people who know nothing about the subject. People naturally connect the dots between certain periods of time, without knowing that they are simply pointing out the iterations of a planetary periodicity. People talk astrology all the time without knowing it.
Unfortunately in this case, this part of the Mars cycle seems to carry a cautionary message to superpowers fighting against ragtag insurgencies: David can beat Goliath. Let’s hope it all goes well.
.Thanks to Nick Dagan Best and Chris Brennan for research and graphics assistance.