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SEptember 2007

Condoleezza Rice

by Alex Miller-Mignone

“Nobody saw it coming.”

~ Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, stock answer to the crisis of the moment, viz. the 9/11 attacks, the Iraqi insurgency, hurricane Katrina, the election of Hamas in Palestine, etc.

Condoleezza RiceUS Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is somewhat of an enigma. Seemingly sensible and straightforward, she is nevertheless another example of an individual who has risen to a station probably exceeding her capacity or merits, much like fellow Bush team member Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, not to mention George W. Bush himself. Not as visibly incompetent as Gonzales, Rice has little in her background to commend her for the important office she holds, beyond Bush family patronage and loyalty to the regime.

Born 14 November 1954, Rice is the only child of John Wesley Rice, Jr, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife Angelina. Rice (whose first name Condoleezza is a corruption of the Italian musical term “con dolcezza,” meaning “with sweetness”) is an accomplished musician, a pianist who still plays with a chamber orchestra and once accompanied cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the 2002 National Medal of Arts Awards. Rice is both the second African American and the second woman to head the State Department, and this sense of being not quite at the front of the line pervades her career. She holds a BA in political science from the University of Denver, a Masters in the same field from Notre Dame, and a PhD, also in political science, from the Graduate School of International Studies in Denver. While in Denver she took a course in international politics taught by Josef Korbel, whom she later termed “one of the most central figures in my life.” Oddly enough, Korbel was the father of Madeleine Albright, one of Rice's predecessors at State. Rice's interest in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union led her to a position as Senior Director for that region in George H. W. Bush’s National Security Council from 1989-1991, although originally, as a Democrat, she worked as an intern in the Carter administration’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

She accepted a position as Assistant Professor of political science at Stanford University in 1981, becoming an Associate Professor in 1987, full Professor and Provost, the university’s chief financial officer, in 1993. As Provost she transformed a $20 million deficit into a $14 million surplus in under two years—perhaps she would have been better placed in the Bush administration at Treasury. In 2000 Rice took a year’s leave of absence from Stanford to advise candidate George W. Bush on foreign policy, formally resigning in January 2001 to become his National Security Advisor. Rice was among a coterie of State Department and NSC officials to essentially ignore not only warnings about al Qaeda from outgoing Clinton administration members, but the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.”

After the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, Rice was firmly in the Neo-Con camp pushing to use the tragedy as a pretext for invasion of Iraq. In December 2002, after Iraq’s forced disclosure to the UN of its weapons of mass destruction programs and stockpiles, she went so far as to contribute an op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled “Why We Know Iraq is Lying.” In January of 2003, just two months before the war began, she famously stated to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Hussein] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Rice’s “mushroom cloud” remark was replayed endlessly on conservative mouthpiece organizations like Fox News, as well as more mainstream outlets, and became a leading argument in the justification for war.

In congressional testimony after it became apparent that Iraq had been honest in its disclosure documents to the UN and did not have WMD, Rice averred that although Hussein’s Iraq had no direct role in the 9/11 attacks, it was “festering and unstable, part of the circumstances that created the problem.” She also characterized the August 6 2001 PDB as “historical information,” “based on old reporting,” stating that it was “incomprehensible” that the administration would have ignored any genuine threat. Many judged her testimony to be less than forthright, prompting Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to state: “I personally believe—this is my personal view—that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.”

Secretary of State RiceAfter Bushy/Cheney’s “re-election” in 2004, then Secretary of State Colin Powell resigned, and Rice was promoted to the position, winning Senate confirmation by 85-13. Although that may seem an overwhelming approval, in fact no nominee for the position had received more "nay" votes since 1825. Under her direction, the State Department has focused on the rather nebulous goal of “Transformational Diplomacy,” which Rice defines as working to “build and sustain democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.” So far, it has been an unqualified failure, with the US continuing to support autocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, while decrying democratically elected governments in Lebanon and Palestine, and continuing its monumental ineptitude in Iraq.

Rice has been an active, engaged, “hands-on” Secretary of State, in just two and a half years logging some half million miles on visits to 64 countries, but many of her initiatives have fallen flat in the face of international dislike and distrust of George W. Bush’s America. Worse, initiatives that were deemed “successful” at the time have been proven to harbor within them the seeds of even greater turmoil.

Israel’s disengagement from Gaza is a case in point. In the spring of 2005 Rice criss-crossed the Middle East, building support for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip, and the opening of the border crossings between Palestine and Israel for commerce. By that autumn the agreements, negotiated in separate meetings with both delegations, which were loathe to meet face-to-face, were in place. Israel formally withdrew from Gaza and opened the borders, but in practice much remained the same. So many Palestinians were blacklisted by Israeli authorities for suspected terrorist ties that the borders remained effectively closed, placing a stranglehold on the Palestinian economy which caused increased privation and opened a window for radical groups such as Hamas to gain political ascendancy in Gaza via their humanitarian efforts with the population.

By January 2006 and the Palestinian election, Hamas was in a position to capture a significant portion of seats in the new legislature, prompting Israel to withhold foreign aid for the Palestinian state. Modeling itself on Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which had gained political power in the south of that country by providing free health and educational services for the impoverished residents, Hamas began a campaign of infiltrating local town councils and regional governing bodies, to the extent that by the spring of 2007 the governance of Palestine’s two primary regions was in different hands, with Gaza reverting to Hamas while the West Bank remained in control of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah government, successor to Arafat. Far from leading to a regional solution, Rice’s policy of unilateral disengagement by the Israelis and free Palestinian elections has led to a further fracturing and factionalizing of local authority.

The debacle of a Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections led to a further erosion of the administration’s support for democratic reforms in Egypt, governed in a virtual dictatorship by Hosni Mubarak since Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981. In February 2005, Rice had cancelled a visit to Cairo in protest for the jailing and brutal interrogation of opposition Party leader Ayman Nour, prompting his release in March. Nour then mounted a campaign for the presidency, which was unsuccessful, and following the election that December he was again imprisoned. But the Palestinian elections intervened in January 2006, showing the rather inconvenient implications of allowing the citizenry to determine their own governments. That February when Rice again visited Egypt, she did not so much as mention Nour, enabling Mubarak to report to a government-owned paper that Rice “didn’t bring up difficult issues or ask to change anything.” The Bush administration also continues to wink at human rights abuses and the slow pace of democratic reforms in ally and oil partner Saudi Arabia, while simultaneously excoriating these same shortcomings in unfriendly Syria and Iran.

Rice has also been accused of not putting enough pressure on North Korea to roll back its nuclear weapons program, by opposing bilateral talks; and of refusing to condemn Vladimir Putin’s steady erosion of Russian democracy. The most Rice would say in response to increasing autocratic tendencies in Russia was that “there have been some setbacks, but I do still think there is a considerable amount of individual freedom in Russia, which is important.” Rice reserved her official opprobrium for Venezuela’s populist president, caustic Bush administration critic Hugo Chavez, whom she accused of being a “democratically elected leader who governs in an illiberal way.”

Forbes magazine nominated Rice as the most powerful woman in the world in 2004 and 2005 (in 2006 she took a back seat to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bush’s unwilling massage partner), and she is one of only three individuals to be ranked among the world’s most influential more than three times by Time magazine, in 2004 through 2007. But the unflappable, self-effacing Rice has declared that her dream job would be as Commissioner of the NFL, which she describes as an “important national institution.” Unmarried, with little dating history, Rice regularly works out with George W. Bush and at a dinner party in April 2004 referred to him as her “husband” before correcting herself. One thing is certain. Whatever her private fantasies about the leader of the free world, there is very little daylight between Bush and Rice.

Born 14 November 1954, Rice’s nativity shows considerable galactic activity. The Sun and Venus at 21 and 22 Scorpio are opposed the Black Hole at 24 Taurus and square the Quasar at 25 Aquarius. The solar Black Hole/Quasar combination is a powerful one, affording as it does both the ability to manipulate and control events, often from behind the scenes or in an indirect way (the Black Hole), and a natural affinity with success and accomplishment, allowing unique visibility and a perception of skill or merit (the Quasar). There is an attraction for power and a strong desire to wield it. Black Hole Suns also have the ability to remake or reconfigure themselves to suit their audience. Chameleon-like, they are highly adaptive and can assume a broad variety of guises.

This combination of deep space energies allied to Venus can be very acquisitive, as the Black Hole seeks to draw monetary gain to itself and the Quasar aids in stabilizing what might otherwise be a very rocky financial ride. Taken on its own, Black Hole Venus can be highly unstable in money matters, absorbing vast sums but also accruing vast expenditure, but the Quasar performs a moderating function here, assuring that Rice is well compensated for her efforts, and encouraging the formation of a solid financial foundation. This galactic Venus served her well as Stanford’s provost; when she took charge, its $20 million deficit was considered a structural liability, one which would have to be lived with. But the Black Hole’s ability to perceive unique solutions and the Quasar’s knack for getting things done allowed Rice to not only eliminate the deficit, but to post a $14.5 million surplus within two years, an exceptional feat in the circumstances.

On a more intimate level, Black Hole Venus may account for Rice’s lack of romantic entanglements. Black Hole Venus natives tend to have unstable relationships, moving from one unexpected mesalliance to another, often failing to establish committed, lasting bonds until well into adulthood. Secretive and loathe to confide, they tend to keep what affairs they have under wraps, and can be quite adept at concealing their private lives. There can also be a vivid fantasy life, which may explain Rice’s unthinking reference to George W. Bush as her “husband;” on some level, she is his committed partner, and there may be a part of her that takes this to its logical conclusion, whatever the actual content of their interactions. But again, the Quasar contact suggests that ultimately, she is capable of forming a stable union, albeit she may have to kiss her share of frogs before she finds her prince.

Mercury at 2 Scorpio is conjoined the Quasar at 4, and exactly square the Black Hole at 2 Leo. Black Hole Mercury can be very persuasive, and is not above bending the facts or exaggerating a circumstance, as is exemplified by Rice’s notorious “mushroom cloud” comment regarding the level of threat from Hussein’s Iraq. Ordinarily with this linkage, there is a danger that one’s message may be trapped within the confines of the Black Hole’s supergravity, unable to reach its audience, but the Quasar contact precludes this, making Rice’s pronouncements very visible. As these two work in tandem, it is vital to look beyond the surface, or apparent reality, of what Rice says, to a deeper meaning or hidden agenda. Misdirection or downright duplicity is common with Black Hole Mercury, and depending on the skill at subterfuge which the native possesses, the Quasar may illumine the deception, or gloss it over in a barrage of empty rhetoric designed to further obfuscate the true issues.

Mars at 16 Aquarius is conjoined a Pulsar at 15 and exactly square the Black Hole at 16 Taurus. Mars tied to a Black Hole again indicates a likelihood of hidden or secretive sexual involvements, or sexual energies taken to extremes, whether those be excessive activity or a total lack of sexual outlet, as celibacy. Given the newsworthiness of Pulsar contacts and the high profile position which Rice enjoys, it seems improbable that she has been very active sexually and this has gone unnoticed, so a more celibate existence punctuated with random contacts seems most likely. Rice is noted for her adherence to a rigid work-out schedule, another common manifestation of Black Hole Mars, which can adopt an almost martinet stance regarding exercise regimens and commands considerable focus in its physical exertions.

As with any female public figure who is unmarried and has no heterosexual dating history to speak of, there are persistent suppositions of lesbianism with Rice. This is another manifestation of Black Hole Mars, which encourages speculation and hints at hidden truths to be revealed (Hillary Clinton, who shares a Black Hole Mars in opposition to Rice’s from 14 Leo, is also dogged by these rumors, despite her marriage). There does not seem to be more than conjecture either way with regards to Rice’s sexual orientation, though many Black Hole Mars natives do engage in sexual activities which are viewed as socially unacceptable, taboo, or out of the mainstream.

Natal Jupiter and Uranus at 27 and 29 Cancer straddle the Black Hole at 28, forming a Grand Cross with additional Black Holes in square at 27 Aries and 28 Libra, and opposing the Pulsars at 26 and 28 Capricorn, which conjoin the USA Pluto at 27. Jupiter and Uranus conjunct ably depict Rice’s political philosophy of expanding freedom and democracy globally, and the Black Hole indicates the stunning reversal in the status quo which a successful implementation of this policy would create. Unfortunately, the opposition of this pairing to the USA Pluto also indicates the means by which the policy would be pursued—with relentless, coercive zeal—though democracy can not be conferred at gunpoint. The Black Hole also describes the morass in which this flawed implementation has mired us, as well as the staggering costs in blood, treasure and the USA’s reputation on the world stage.

Neptune also ties to this pattern, by square from 26 Libra, adding an aura of romanticism to her worldview: Rice is inherently incapable of dealing with global realities as they are, preferring always her idealized vision of what is possible. Its hold is absolute and prevents inconvenient facts from inserting themselves into policy making, or asserting themselves as practical realities that need to be acknowledged and dealt with. There will always be a sense of tilting at windmills and a vision much larger than actual conditions on the ground will permit her to enact.

Although Jupiter/Uranus is progressive in many ways, the contact with the nation’s Capricorn Pluto also suggests a degree of reactionary conservatism which irreparably colors its outlook on policy. Rice’s training was in the stark, black-and-white era of the Cold War; she is a specialist in Soviet affairs, and with the dissolution of that state, the required boogie man which gave the conservative movement its reason for being evaporated also. Rice and the administration’s neo-cons have seriously miscalculated in replacing the Russian boogie man nation state with the Islamofascist boogie man political movement. The two are different threats entirely, and international terrorist groups such as al Qaeda cannot be dealt with by the same conventional means brought to bear against the Soviets.

Saturn at 13 Scorpio is conjunct Pallas at 10 and reaches out to bridge the gap between Mercury at 2 Scorpio and the Sun at 21. With Saturn/Pallas, Rice is a born strategist, capable of envisioning and implementing a structured response to crises; unfortunately, her focus is on twentieth century solutions, not twenty-first century problems. The connection with Mercury affords a crisp, clear, concise intellect, and the ability to express herself cogently. Saturn’s contact with the Sun indicates a disciplined, motivated self-starter, but one too apt to find fault or become mired in criticism, both of herself and others. Saturn’s square to Mars could indicate sexual blocks or frustrations, celibacy, or engaging in proscribed activities. Saturn’s position ignites yet another Galactic Grand Cross, by conjunction with the Pulsar at 14 Scorpio, squares to the Maser at 13 Leo and the Black Hole at 12 Aquarius, and opposition to the Black Hole at 16 Taurus. This is a powerful but dangerous position for Saturn; able to manipulate reality to its own ends, to grab the reins of power and initiate decisive action, Rice is nevertheless incapable of ensuring a desired outcome. The unpredictability of Black Hole energies and the volatility of the Maser trump even the best intentions, and there is no telling what the results of her policy directives will be, though the media-oriented Pulsar ensures that these will be made clear to all.

A third Galactic Grand Cross is created by Pluto’s insertion, from 26 Leo, into a T-Square formed of the Black Hole at 27 Aquarius, the Quasar at 27 Scorpio, and the Maser at 27 Taurus. Pluto in a Fixed Grand Cross is unyielding and short-sighted, stubbornly unable to moderate itself in its short-term pursuit of long-term goals, often destroying all chance of successful attainment in the process. Its square to the Sun shows that Rice values and defines herself by her personal power, and is capable of utter ruthlessness in the pursuit of her goals. The less aware she is of these subconscious drives, the more dangerous she can be.

Condi RiceSeveral asteroids tie to this pattern, and may be illustrative of Rice’s effect on the world stage. Conjoined Pluto are Klotho at 27 Leo, Sisyphus at 22 Leo, and Phaeton at 20 Leo; while Nemesis lies in square from 23 Leo and Pandora opposes at 27 Aquarius. Klotho the Spinner is one of the three Fates, weaving the tapestry of life, just as Rice weaves her web of diplomacy and determines the fate of nations. Sisyphus is that resident of Hades whose punishment is to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep incline, only to have it roll back down again, necessitating the repetition of the action, an image of the utter futility of Rice’s efforts. Phaeton was a son of Apollo, who took on too much responsibility when he rashly attempted to perform his father’s duty of driving the chariot of the sun, and threatened mankind’s destruction when the task proved too much for him. Pandora unwittingly unleashed a legion of troubles upon the world when she opened her box, a not inapt image of the Iraq debacle. And Nemesis was the goddess whose job it was to punish mortals when they got above themselves, who pursued a policy of due enactment for their failings, ensuring that they always got their comeuppance. 

One final asteroid placement may prove illustrative of the effect Rice has had on the nation’s international standing, and perhaps its future. From 29 Capricorn, natal Damocles hangs atop the USA’s Pluto at 27 Capricorn, implying an impending doom associated with Rice’s exercise of the country’s power. We can but wait for the thread which holds Damocles’ sword to be severed.
Alex Miller-Mignone, photo
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at