All the good feeling at the White House at President Bush’s early birthday party on July 4 couldn’t hide the fact that the president finds himself in a world of hurt.
A grinding and unpopular war in Iraq, a growing insurgency in Afghanistan, an impasse over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, brewing war between Israel and the Palestinians — the litany of global crises would test the fortitude of any president, let alone a second-termer with an approval rating mired in Warren Harding territory.
And there’s no relief in sight. On the very day that Bush celebrated 60, North Korea’s regime, already believed to possess material for a clutch of nuclear weapons, test-launched seven missiles, including one designed to reach the U.S. homeland.
Even more surprising than the test (it failed less than two minutes after launch), though, was Bush’s response. Long gone were the zero-tolerance warnings, “Axis of Evil” rhetoric and talk of pre-emptive action.
Instead, Bush pledged to “make sure we work with our friends and allies … to continue to send a unified message” to Pyongyang. In a news conference after the missile test, he referred to diplomacy a half dozen times.
If you’ve missed my earlier articles on the President, one of the hallmarks of his chart is un unaspected Mars (meaning that the planet Mars makes no major aspects to other planets in his chart). Because Mars is the planet of aggression and warfare, when it is untempered by other planets in the birthchart it tends to operate as a loose cannon. Bush also has a stellium of four planets in Libra (hence the famous charm) including Jupiter which squares his Sun. The square aspect tends to brings out the more challenging qualities of a planet, and with Jupiter, the planet of faith and optimism, we tend to see a self-righteous arrogance when squared to the Sun.
Bush has just concluded a transit of Saturn to his ascendant challenging his relationships (ascendant/descendant axis) and partnerships and forcing him to let go of old friends and cronies. A transit of Saturn to his Mercury has also just ended – an event which can cause significant mental (Mercury) distress. Jupiter with its expansive tendency towards arrogance is still in challenging aspect to Bush’s Pluto, creating an impatient (Jupiter) desire within him for more power (Pluto).
Over all of these difficult cycles, however, transiting Pluto (transformation) has been in a harmonious aspect (trine) to the Midheaven in Bush’s chart. The Midheaven is the point of highest aspirations, and because it is the cusp of the tenth house of career and public life it is associated with the way one expresses oneself in the world. With a positive Pluto cycle to the Midheaven we tend to see an opening up of a new sense of power and one’s ability to effect positive changes in the world. I have been wondering how this Pluto/Midheaven cycle would affect the President, and it appears that he is actually beginning to make significant changes in the way that he operates in his role as leader of the free world.
After September 11, Bush and his handlers sought to portray a tough America – following in the footsteps of John Wayne, Bush swore to capture Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.” Now the CIA has closed its division that was looking for bin Laden, and North Korea has set off a missile that could reach the US. But the aggressive rhetoric is gone and the Bush administration is struggling to learn at this late date the art of diplomacy.