The Art of War
Sun Tzu’s Art of War, and the Philippines under Duterte Administration’s Allegiance to China
There was a period in China termed the Age of Warring States. This event was an age of great conflict and uncertainty as seven states fought for survival & control of China. For these states to win, they sought out any means of gaining an advantage over their opponents; those with knowledge on strategy & leadership was especially sought after. It was during this time that there arose a general from the state of Ch’i known as Sun Tzu. His ability to win victories for his warlord gained him fame and power.
To hand down the wisdom he had gained from his years of battles, Sun Tzu wrote a book, The Art of War, which became the classic work on strategy in China. His book, which details a complete philosophy on how to decisively defeat one’s opponent, has given guidance to military theorists and generals throughout the ages. In The Art of War, military readers found a holistic approach to strategy that was powerful and deep – it is truly a masterpiece on strategy. As the former U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, “I’ve read the Chinese classic The Art of War written by Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu has been studied for hundreds of years. He continues to give inspiration to soldiers and politicians. So every American soldier in the army knows of his works. We require our soldiers to read it.”
Today, Sun Tzu’s appeal has extended beyond the military realm into the world of business. Because business by definition deals with competition, Sun Tzu’s principles are ideally suited to competitive business situations. Because business, like warfare, is a contest of wills, dynamic and fast-paced, based on both morale and machines, and deals with the effective and efficient use of scarce resources, many business people across the globe have found value in Sun Tzu’s teachings.
Sun Tzu’s art of war can be summed up in this statement, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” (Sun Tzu). According to Sun Tzu, it is better to finish a war instantaneously rather than prolonging a campaign for it will merit no one because the casualties will only increase. He also said that a warrior’s goal is to finish the war not to prolong it. Thus, Sun Tzu is against a prolonged war and introduces the basic principles of his art of war. Now before we go to the arguments I wished to present we must first know the principles of Sun Tzu’s Art of war.
Sun Tzu’s Art of War
First is the principle of knowing the weakness and strength. Sun Tzu put much emphasis on this principle. According to him, one must know the weakness and strength of the enemy and his own army. For if one knows the strength and weakness of the enemy, he can easily avoid the part where the enemy is strong and strike where the enemy is weak. In addition to that, one can prepare a counter attack to the enemy if he knows what the enemy will do. Sun Tzu’s cleverness in finishing the battle as soon as possible makes him a great and simple tactician. In the same manner, if one knows the strength of the enemy he will know when and not to engage and prepare his army well and strengthen his power if deems necessary.
Second is the principle of knowing the terrain. According to Sun Tzu, this principle is one of the most important principles in his art of war. According to him knowing the land, weather, and directions are basic necessities for war. Thus, if one is going to war he needs to know the basic elements which include these things. We must remember that during this period of time their weapons are bows and arrows and swords, not as accurate and precise as the guns. Thus, arrows are lighter and travel not as fast as the bullets therefore; winds can change its trajectory instantaneously. Thus, weather is important for war during this period. One must also remember that fire is also one of the weapons they used during this time. Thus, if one knows the flow of the wind they can used it for their advantage when using arrows with fires or simply arrows and fires. In addition to that, one must also know the terrain and used it for their advantage such as, the elevation of land, the positioning of one’s army and where to lay traps and alike. If one can fully master and use these things it can guarantee victory.
Third is the principle of knowing of offensive strategy, Sun Tzu’s art of war states that one must learn how to strike the enemy, after knowing the enemies strength and weaknesses and knowing the terrain, one can now plan how to attack. This principle serves as two roles in his art of war. If one is capable of knowing how to attack and how to strike the enemies weaknesses it will also serve as your basic defense for the neighboring kingdoms that plans to attack you. Knowing that your general is great at offensive strategies it will instill fear to neighboring countries, thus it can then lead to alliance in fear that you will attack them. With that, one can build larger forces together with alliances. In addition to that, Sun Tzu claims that there are 5 circumstances in which victory may be predicted: (1) he who knows when to fight and when not to fight will be victorious. (2) He who understands how to use both large and small forces will be victorious. (3) He whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious. (4) He who is prepared and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious. (5) Lastly, he whose general are able and not interfered by the sovereign will be victorious. Thus, Sun Tzu claims, “know thy enemy and know thyself; in a hundred battles you will never be defeated.” Here Sun Tzu there will a great general will order to attack. We can see how goal oriented the art of war of Sun Tzu is, regardless of the procedures he intends to finish the war in simple and fastest way.
Next is war as an art of deception. Together with all the above mention, war for Sun Tzu is a test of strategies. According to him, those who are able to strategize well are the only ones who can enjoy the victories of wars. For according to him, war is test of minds of the two leaders. Whether or not the enemy will eat the bait or not and whether or not the one is ready for the counter attack the enemy will bring. It’s all about deceptions. Thus, a country must have a great general and this general must at all cost not be interfered by the sovereign otherwise the chances of victory decreases.
Next is the artful use of the unexpected, for Sun Tzu, the general must also use surprise attacks where the enemy is incapable of defending itself for it will lead to a fast and simple victory. Thus, Sun Tzu mentioned that the general must use unexpected strategies for there lies the weaknesses of the enemies. Where they will catch the enemy off guard and steal victory for their country.
Next is the art of fighting well, this principle prioritizes the army’s capabilities and strength. A general cannot just observe the enemies forces he must also have a sharp understanding of how his armies fought. Thus, Sun Tzu also put emphasis on the fighting capabilities of the army, for what can a great general accomplish even though he has the greatest of the great strategies if he does not have the right men to carry the plans? Thus, both the general and the army must be in sync in order to create an opening and increase the possibility of victory.
Next is the art of being a great general. Now that everything is set, a country must also have a great general where he can encourage his men by his voice and lead them to victory. A great general must be followed at all times by his subordinates and are capable to lead a few or large forces. He must be able to put the confidence of his army on his shoulder and encourage their hearts to fight with him. He must also be able to put the faith of his comrades in him. Sun Tzu put emphasis on this principle, for if a country has all the necessary preparations to war but has no capable leaders to lead them it will ensure no victory and will lead to the downfall of a country.
Lastly, the art of spying, Sun Tzu also put emphasis on this principle, according to him, spying is a simple and yet a very effective tactic for war. One can take advantage by knowing where and when the enemy will attack and where their weakness is. Thus, Sun Tzu stated that one must not disregard this principle for above everything this principle ensures the possibility of victory like no other principles. It will also guarantee the general to have a tactic that will be simple and effective in obtaining victory.
With that, we will now proceed to the main argument which is the problem of the allegiance of the Philippines under the Duterte administration to China. Some Filipinos say that it is good thing because at least the China is treating the Philippines as their friend, unlike the America. However, with the past events such as the west Philippine Sea and South China Sea dispute it does not seem that the China is treating the Philippines as their friend. For me it is more of harsher than the America. The navy of China threatened the fishermen of the Philippines that if they do not leave they will shoot at them. Is that what they call friends? Moreover, if we compare China’s treatment to Philippines and America’s treatment to the Philippines we can see the real goal of China is not to befriend the Philippines but use it only for its advantage. During Duterte’s campaign against the terrorist in Mindanao, the China offered to give the Philippines firearms for its campaign but then, we can also see during the latest incident of Xi Jinping’s visit in the Philippines how he shows superiority by walking in front of the president of the Philippines, which has never done by the other state leaders who visited the Philippines. Thus, we can consider that Xi Jinping’s help during those times was his strategy in obtaining the trust of the president of the Philippines. We shall then proceed to the arguments how I concluded that China’s hospitality towards the Philippines is a basic strategy to strengthen its power in the east.
First of all, before China helped the Philippines during its campaign of wiping out the terrorist in Mindanao, Duterte is against the American’s treatment to the Philippines such as, giving them second hand firearms which according to the president himself are much older than the firearms being used by the terrorist. And as an ally, the president cannot stand how they treat his country. This during the Second World War has fought with them side by side and put their lives on the line to help them conquer Japan. Thus, when Duterte tried to ask China for help, China thought that this is a very good opportunity to widen its territory by making a simple act of kindness such as offering them firearms. Here one can see how the China has checked the status of the Philippines which is slowly getting away from the grips of America. And as a rising superpower country it is necessary for them to have as many allies as possible for them to have the status of a superpower country. But then they cannot just start a war because this will lead to an expensive campaign to establish its superiority to other nations and will lead to a prolonged war. Thus, having one country by a simple kind of generosity sounds a great plan for China. He can gain the trust and friendship of the Philippines by donating a very small amount of Firearms. Afterwards, they decided to strengthen the bond between them and the Philippines by having few visits and meetings. However, it does not seem that the intention of China is to be friends with the Philippines. It seems that President Duterte is becoming inferior to this relationship. Now, we see the real intention of China, it is indeed not to be friends with the Philippines but to make the Philippines feel they are indebted to them. Thus, if the Philippines feel like China has helped them in a great deal they can easily manipulate the Philippines and little by little start to gain its territory.
As a Filipino, I feel like the American’s treatment to us is indeed wrong and not fitting to be called friends. However, never has an American tried to threatened one of its ally to get out of their territory otherwise they will shoot at them. With the relationship of the Philippines to China, I think it is much worse than the America’s treatment to the Philippines. I am not saying that we should be contented with it, but we cannot also accept this kind of relationship which is slowly becoming a property of China.
With that, we will now then look at the relativity of these actions to Sun Tzu’s art of war. First the China looks at the status of the Philippines which is slowly becoming anti-American. The same with Sun Tzu’s principle of knowing the enemy, China observes that the Philippines are desperate to win its campaign and America’s low tech firearms have caused the leader of the Philippines to lose its trust to them. Thus, asked China for help, and to gain the trust and confident of the Philippines with China, they helped the Philippines. In addition to that, I would like to emphasis how Xi’s visit to the Philippines is different compared to the other state leaders’ visit such as Prime Mister Abe of Japan, Papua New Guinea’s O’ Neill, Brunei’s Sultah Bolkiah, and Indonesia’s Widodo. In these four visits the Philippine Flag is the only flag that marches together with the 2 state leaders, the flag of the hosting country. However, during Xi’s visit to the Philippines it was the China’s flag that is marching with the state leaders. This emphasizes the supremacy of China to Philippines. “Many noticed the absence of the Presidential Standard – the flag that bears the official coat of arms of the President of the Philippines. It is present wherever the chief executive is present, especially during the review of guards” (Rappler, November 2018).
“To substitute a foreign flag is to very obviously relinquish symbol of command and substitute it with the symbol of sovereignty of another nation,” Quezon said. Thus, we can see that even Malacañang knew and accepts the superiority of China over its state given that the Malacañang issued this protocol. Given that, it is clear that China’s intention is not just to befriend the Philippines but there must be some hidden intentions that they helped the Philippines, if not to take it. According to reporter Nagy, this visit may be trying to “woo” Philippines away from the US; it is because as a fellow part of the ASEAN it will weaken the hold of US in the Southeast Asia and strengthen their hold on Scarborough shoal. However, according to Nagy said, ‘I do think China has made some gains within the region, but pulling Manila away from Washington is very, very difficult because of cultural issues, values and … the strong ties that both countries have had for more than 70 years,’ explaining that there are still joint training exercises between the Philippines and the U.S.
With that, we can see how China’s action up to now is slowly turning into a kind of political conquest that will later consume the Philippines and use it if deems necessary. Indeed, Sun Tzu’s principle of Victory as the goal and his supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. And from here on we can say that China will be making a move faster as ever in order not to prolong the victory over this territory.
In conclusion to that, this paper claims that China’s friendly act towards the Philippines has something deeper intentions with it. And if the above statements is true, the Philippines must do something in order to protect its land and its allegiance to other ASEAN countries and United States. For centuries America has offered help to the Philippines that is why they lasted their relationship for more than 50 years. Thus, it is wrong and absolutely dishonoring their partner by making contracts to another third party which in this case is China without its partners consent.
The Main Ideas of The Art of War
Sun Tzu was a Chinese military strategist, general, and philosopher who wrote an instructional manual for the military called The Art of War. The purpose of this book was to guide and prepare the military to be successful in war. In the Chinese tradition, warfare was very important because it determined whether an empire would rise or fall. In Sun Tzu’s manual, war was managed by five crucial factors: moral law, heaven, earth, the commander, and method/discipline. Moral law was deemed law of the land because the people would follow their rulers no matter if their lives were at stake. Heaven signified the external environment of a conflict regards of its internal nature. Earth signified distance, size, various levels of danger, grounds for battle, and levels that determine life and death. The Commander signified wisdom, authority, courage, and order. Finally, method-discipline signified dividing armies into proper divisions, ranks, performing road maintenance in order to get supplies where they need to go, and control of military funding. Generals would use Sun Tzu’s manual as a model in order to assess military conditions and whether their armies met the requirements.
In the manual, Sun Tzu said, “All warfare is based on deception”, and that was as true then and it is today. In today’s world, drones, espionage, cyber ware, and other such technology are utilized to deceive our enemies into providing information as well as allowing information to be gathered… Warfare was based on deception in other historical time periods such as medieval times, the American Revolution, Cold War, and WWII. Deception brings disorder and disorder brings victory if done the correct way. To do it right, Sun Tzu said we have to fake weakness which in return, the enemy will become arrogant and at ease. At such time, attack the enemy with force. In addition, the leader of the armies determine the people’s fate as provisions are lost, along with their spirit, and armies have to raid homes to replenish and take, in total, four-tenths of revenue. This would drain all of the people’s resources so instead, the army decided, according to the manual, to plunder the provisions of their enemies to replace their drained revenue.
Sun Tzu also thought it would be more beneficial to take an enemy’s country, army, or regiment by the whole rather than destroy it. Breaking the army’s resistance and overthrowing kingdoms internally was the way to victory; this was called attacking by stratagem. The general had four different ways to fight and conquer an enemy: undertake an enemy’s plan, prevent enemy forces from joining collectively, attack in the field, and the worst one of them all, siege city walls. Sieging city walls was considered the worst due to long preparations, high casualties, and that the town was still untaken at the end of the siege. Furthermore, Sun Tzu noted the five essentials for victory were to know when to fight and when not to, know how to deal with both larger and lesser forces, have an army animated with spirit, be prepared himself and ready to take on an unprepared opponent, and finally, have military knowledge and not be hindered by the king.
Also noted in the manual was the fact that knowing the opponent’s weak and strong points could help the army overcome their enemy. For example, identifying when the enemy starts to show weakness and exhaustion would be the prime opportunity for the army to make a strong offensive move and claim victory. Being on defensive showed the army’s lack of strength and agility. Anyone can conquer territories, towns, and people if they are willing to master their military expertise and learn the art of deception. To be deceptive, the general must have tactical maneuvering, which means encircling the enemy and then trying to reach strategic goal secretively. Sun Tzu specified that armies had to be deceitful and direct when bringing misfortune and chaos, as they were bringing opportunities to themselves. In the field of battle, armies originally would use words to help the maneuvering however, it wasn’t enough so the utilization of gongs and drums was introduced. Gongs and drums were also not enough because people could not see them very well so the use of flags and banners were implemented on the field. During night-time battles, signal fires and drums were only used.
The art of deception was critical to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War because warfare cannot be done without receiving beforehand movements or information about the enemy. That was where the use of spies was employed. In Tzu’s manual, the idea of foreknowledge was introduced by the king and his generals. Foreknowledge created networks of spies to gain backwater information about the enemies’ whereabouts and movements. According to the manual, there are five different types of spies: local consisted of the district inhabitants; inward, who were enemy spies; converted, which described an enemy spy that had turned into one of the “good guys” for the empire’s own purposes; doomed, “rogue spy” who gave false information to the enemy for the state; finally, surviving, those gave the state reliable news of the enemy. All of the spies depended on the army’s ability to maneuver and evade enemy territory so as not to expose their cover.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is still considered an instructional guidebook for many military organizations today because of its step-by-step descriptions and outlines of what not to do and what to do in order to be victorious in battle. However, the espionage and act of deception was the most important part of warfare during that time because historically, information was difficult to acquire; someone either had to steal the information, bribe someone to get it, or follow the person deemed to have the essential information. Spying was even more essential than the actual fighting because information was considered to be of great value and provide intelligence that would enable the battle to be won. Information led to the conquering of cities, nations, people, and resources. Without Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, the use of espionage in warfare probably would not been utilized or even acknowledged until later on.
The Summary of The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
The Art of War has been considered a masterpiece on military strategy and warfare. This piece was written in ancient china 500B.C..The author goes by the name Sun Tzu which means Master Sun. Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, philosopher, writer and military strategist who served under king Helu of the kingdom of Wu. His life span was from 544BC to 496BC.Through his legends and the influential “The Art of War”, Sun Tzu had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture.
One of the well-known stories about Sun Tzu which demonstrates his ability as a leader was before being hired as a general. The king of Wu tested his ability and skills by commanding him to train a palace reserved for women called a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two most favoured concubines by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the newly appointed commanders to march forward, they giggled. He responded and said that a general is responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the commanders giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king’s two favoured concubines. He explained that if the general’s soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that, once a general was appointed, it was his duty to carry out his mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies, now aware of the costs of further frivolity, performed their manoeuvres flawlessly. The book became popular during the 19th and 20th centuries when the Western Society saw its practical use in their culture and politics.
In chapter 1, “Strategic Assessments” it deals with the five fundamental factors of war which are the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management and seven elements that determine the outcomes of military engagements. By analysing, assessing and comparing these points, a commander can calculate his chances of victory. Habitual deviation from these calculations will ensure failure via improper action. The book stresses that war is a very grave matter for the state and must not be commenced without due consideration.
In chapter 2, “Doing Battle” Sun Tzu talks about equipment, provisioning and support of an army sent into battle. He emphases on using speed and decisiveness to win the battles and cannot be achieved without solid preparation and organisation ahead of time. Sun Tzu also stated that that generals of the past who ignored or miscalculated certain elements like hunger, thirst, attachment to accumulated loot or outrage at injustice would impair their ability to move with decisive speed.
In chapter 3 “Planning a Siege” takes into consideration the strengths and weakness of both armies before they engage in battle. A pragmatic and unemotional approach as apposed to a superstitious, anger or gracious one is fundamental to this.
In chapter 4 “Formation” Sun Tzu draws a clear distinction between defence and offence relative to what the general a control which is his troops and what is beyond his control which will be the enemy. He explains that the experts in defence conceal themselves and those skilled in attack should advance as they are both capable of protecting themselves and gaining victory. Sun Tzu also states that an easy and predictable victory over a clearly inferior force is no mark of skill. At the same time, he also warns that what may seem obvious may not actually be so, because victories won before the first clash of troops are sometimes hidden realities, made visible only in the course of battle. In other words, the wise commander prepares well ahead of time by any means possible, ready to take advantage of any opportunity.
In chapter 5 “force” is forging of troops into well-organized units that can be skilfully managed to act as a single, irresistible force against a more loosely managed opponent. This lays the structure of formation where the chain of command is created from a simple platoon, company, battalion, regiment, group and finally an army. At each level, a commander is appointed to obey his superiors and control his inferiors, with the commanding general at the top. Proper training and assignment of responsibility at every level is required for consistent functioning, so that control of the battlefield can be immediately established and maintained. Even though troops may be spread out in War, the subordinates and their officers never lose track of when to advance or retreat.
In chapter 6 “strengths and weaknesses” means forcing the enemy into a trap, Sun Tzu emphasizes that the best way to do this is to leave an opening to what looks like an escape route but it is actually a controlled route by which prisoners and provisions can be captured. Most significantly, as Sun Tzu points out, the first army to arrive at the field of battle has the advantage of time to rest, and to fully assess the best positions for their battalions. He also stats that A general who keeps his opponent in the dark about the details of his plans can a cause the opponent to attempt to strengthen one area at the cost of leaving another vulnerable. One way to guarantee success is to have the enemy attempt to defend in every direction because in so doing, its resources will be spread so thin that no single position would be strong enough to withstand an attack.
In chapter 7 “armed struggle” the second statement Sun Tzu makes at the beginning of this chapter is, ‘Nothing is more difficult than the art of manoeuvre.’ He expands on this by saying the trick is to make what looks like a convoluted and aimless course into one that is actually direct and focused. He draws a distinction between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ approaches designed to simultaneously confuse the enemy and demonstrate the ability in the lower ranks to obey complex and changing commands. Sun Tzu does caution, however, that there are ‘both advantage[s] and danger’ in using this tactic, so there should only be one experienced and seasoned general making the attempt. Sun Tzu makes a statement about the troops’ state of mind at different times of the day that spirits are strong in the morning (or at the start of a war), as the ‘day’ wears on those spirits begin to weaken. In the evening, everybody just wants to get home. Therefore, the commander should be aware of this progression in morale, not only among his own troops but in evaluating the state of mind of enemy troops as well.
In chapter 8 “nine Grounds” Sun Tzu identifies what should and should not be done in five different types of ground to lay a foundation for the nine variables. These kinds of ground are low-lying in which an army should not camp, communicating in which allies may be joined, desolate to be moved through as quickly as possible, enslavement which requiring resourceful solutions to get out of, and death in which the only option is to fight. The nine grounds are based on an estimation of changing conditions under which action is either indicated or not indicated in any of the five types of ground.
In chapter 9 “Marches” addresses the organization of well-disciplined marches and the arrangement of troops facing an approaching enemy under a variety of conditions. Sun Tzu recommends taking advantage of the positions of sunlight relative not only to time of day but relative to rivers, mountains, salt marshes, and level ground.
In chapter 10 “Terrain” ‘ Sun Tzu explains that the nature of terrain may be classified as one or a combination of six distinctive types. When both sides can come and go it is easily passable. When you can go but have a hard time getting back it is hung up. Standoff When it is disadvantageous for either side to go forth it is said to be standoff terrain. Narrow terrain states if you are there first, you should fill it up to await the opponent. If you have steep terrain you should aim to be there first so that you should occupy the high and sunny side to await the opponent. wide-open- the force of momentum is equalized, and it is hard to make a challenge and disadvantageous to fight.
In Chapter 11 “Nine Grounds” Sun Tzu recommends not engaging the enemy on these varieties of ground because little can be gained by doing so. ‘Focal’ ground is one which is surrounded by three other states that offers an opportunity to gain allies. Sun Tzu warns that this approach requires careful preparation ahead of time and involves a risk that allies may be undependable. The ‘serious’ type of ground is one in which deep incursion is made into enemy territory. While this type of ground offers opportunity for plunder, it is also ‘ground difficult to return from.’ When in difficult ground, it is best not to linger because this is a terrain of mountains, cliffs, swamps, and fast-running rivers that slow down and expose troops to ambush and traps. An ‘encircled’ ground is one in which troops are pressed both by opposing forces and rough terrain, and the best way out of it is to ‘devise stratagems.’ The ninth classification of ground is ‘death,’ meaning the army may survive only by fighting out of desperation.
In chapter 12 “attack by fire” here are five kinds of fire attack: burning people, burning supplies, burning equipment, burning storehouses, and burning weapons. Generally, in fire attack it is imperative to follow up on the crises caused by the fires. When fire is set inside an enemy camp, then respond quickly from outside. If the soldiers are calm when fire breaks out, wait do not attack. When the fire reaches the height of its power, follow up with an attack if possible and if it doesn’t hold back.
In chapter 13 “Using spies” Sun Tzu states that foresight enables an intelligent government and a wise military leadership to overcome others and achieve exceptional accomplishments. He also states that there are five types of spies. Local spies are hired from among the people of a local. Inside spies are hired from among enemy officials. Reverse spies are hired from among enemy spies. Dead spies transmit false intelligence to enemy spies. Living spies come back to report back to you.
In conclusion, Sun Tzu the Art of War philosophies informes people on how to win a war. Although it was written many years ago, it is still applicable in today’s world in some form or fashion in our day to day life. Excerpt “Know yourself, know your enemy; you will win hundred battles.” mentioned in Sun Tzu Art of War from my understanding states that for us to study and analyse our enemy or rivals for us to secure victories. Besides, evaluating the external factors and internal factors it is essential that you as a leader can control the fate of an organization.
The Art of War as an Important Life Guidance
The Art of War Essay
Throughout history there have been many famous works of literature produced. Not all of these works stand the test of time either. Some fade away into the background and others stay around forever. The one being talking about in particular is Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. This is one of the most useful books of all time if not the most useful. In The Art of War Sun Tzu manages to build a cohesive guide to help you win any situation you find yourself in. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is very important, it has practical and contemporary values, and it is connectible to Chinese literature more specifically Chinese didactic literature and metaphors.
To begin, The Art of War is an important book that everyone should read because it is in most college curriculums. It is not just important for that reason either, it is important because it is a guide that will get anyone out of any situation and it does not just have to be war either. It helps in anything ranging from business to teaching to even everyday life. Sun Tzu even says “It is a matter of life and death, a road to safety or either to ruin.” Meaning if you do not listen to Sun Tzu you will not be successful. The most important guideline I think Sun Tzu gives readers in The Art of War is “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” This is the most important tip he gives the reader because if one just knows the enemy but do not know yourself one is only winning half the war but if you know the enemy and yourself you have just won the entire war. If you make the mistake of not knowing yourself and not knowing the enemy then you will lose every time. This is why The Art of War should be a key component in our lives and that is Sun Tzu’s most important teaching from the book.
Secondly, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is both practical and contemporary. Ways in which the work is practical is say if you are coach, coaches are leaders. Sun Tzu says that a good leader is both feared and loved by his soldiers. So in any serious leadership position you have to be an effective and good leader your subordinates must fear you and love you at the same time. So back to the coach in order to make your players fear you maybe you give them an excruciating workout or call them out when they do not listen to what you say, and you can make them love you by the team winning its matches because of your effective coaching. Another example of how The Art of War is practical is if you do not like one your co-workers. Sun Tzu teaches us in The Art of War to chose the path of least resistance and to move fluid like running water. You could go up to that one co-worker and start a problem or vice-versa but as long as you chose the path of least resistance do not pay them any attention you will be successful. This is how The Art of War is practical and contemporary.
Lastly, Great metaphors come out of The Art of War which show a connection to Chinese literature. Some of these great metaphors are “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”, “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”, “Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.”. These three quotes show a great connection to Chinese literature because they show how good the Chinese are with teaching through metaphors. During World War II the Japanese used these three metaphors by Sun Tzu mostly the first two. They kept the attack on Pearl Harbor quiet and when it happened the United States were hit hard. The second quote about treating your soldiers like sons and they will follow you into any situation this can be seen in the Japanese kamikaze pilots willing to sacrifice themselves for their own nation.
To conclude, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is very influential and is key to our everyday lives it sets up guidelines on how to be successful in every battle you have throughout your life. It is has important teaching, practical and contemporary values, and shows a connection Chinese didactic literature.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu: Book Analysis
The Art of War’ was written by Sun Tzu and translated by Samuel B. Griffith. The authorship and date of this book has been closely scrutinized since the eleventh century in prolonged and protracted debates among scholars. It is accepted that the work originated in China and was well known in the fourth century BC. While the very existence of Sun Tzu has been questioned, the chapter on The Biography of Sun Tzu’ indicates that Sun Tzu was an author who later made a general when his successful writings gained him an audience with a king.
The author’s style is clearly informative, very much like an instructional book. He opens chapter one, Estimates’, of his work by declaring, “War is a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.” The Art of War’ is devoted to the discussion of strategies which the author claims leads to victory if carefully followed. His is the first known attempt to formulate a rational basis for the planning and conduct of military operations. Sun Tzu was not primarily interested in the elaboration of specific maneuvers or in superficial or transitory techniques. This is both a weakness and strength of the book. It provides sound advice and discussion yet stops short on providing excessive details on specific maneuvers. It is this very omission that makes the book timeless.
His purpose was to develop a systematic guide for rulers and generals on an intelligent approach to warfare. He believed that the skillful strategist should be able to “subdue the enemy’s army without engaging it, to take his cities without laying siege to them, and to overthrow his State without bloodying swords.” The author approached his subject methodically with each chapter addressing a specific concern. Sun Tzu felt that all aspects of war could be quantified into five factors outlined in chapter one, titled Estimates’, to bring about a desired conclusion: 1) moral influence, 2) weather, 3) terrain, 4) command and 5) doctrine. He explains each of his factors as follows; Moral influence deals with the ability of the leaders to motivate their people to follow them even to death. This is achieved when leaders act with benevolence, justice and righteousness. Weather is described as the natural forces like climatic conditions and Terrain as the geography of the land and ground. Command is the leader’s qualities of wisdom, sincerity, humanity and strictness. Doctrine is described as the organization, control, and assignment of appropriate ranks to officers, regulation of the supplies and the provision of necessities.
In chapter two, Waging War’, Sun Tzu develops his philosophy on the need for war. He subscribes to the belief the physical harm should be viewed as a last resort and inflicted only when necessary. He addresses the economic considerations of war namely the cost of waging war. He understands the necessary criteria for true success is the economic viability of the strategy. Extended war operations are counterproductive as they inflict hardship is the form of depressed morale, physical exhaustion and diminished supplies. “An attack may lack ingenuity but it must be delivered with super natural speed.” He is famously known for stating that there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. Sun Tzu also believes in treating the captives well thus securing potential allies and stresses that it is imperative that a General of an army understands these points in the art of war.
The concept of destroying or harming only when necessary is further elaborated in chapter three, Offensive Strategy’. Sun Tzu emphases the importance of “taking all under heaven intact.” This is to augment his strategy of attacking the enemy’s plans rather than the infrastructure. This policy is touted not only from a moral point of view but from a practical point of view as Sun Tzu believes that this will result in troops that are not “worn out” and are therefore better able to protect their gains.
Dispositions’ as outline in chapter four incorporates taking advantage of the terrain as well as the weather. Sun Tzu aptly conveys the concept that one must understand what is in ones control and what is not. A concept that is often taught today in personal improvement books and by motivational speakers, targeting a much wider audience than Sun Tzu. He states that those skilled in war can make themselves invincible but cannot cause an enemy to be certainly vulnerable. He declares that a skilled warrior practices humanity and justice and maintains his laws and institutions. Sun Tzu talks about the invincibility of an army that is acquired from skilled measurements of space, estimations of the quantities involved, calculations, and comparisons and the chances of victory. The skilled commander will be victorious if he makes a precise appraisal of these elements in their entirety and acts upon them with the effects synonymous with “pent-up waters which, suddenly release, plunge.”
In Chapter five, Energy’, the author explores the use of creativity and timing to build the army’s competitive momentum. This is the force, acquired by organization that the army uses to overcome the enemy. The general shoulders the responsibility according to Sun Tzu in knowing his troops and their individual capabilities. The successful general relies on the situation, which he has created, possibly by deception. His deception may involve the movement of the enemy’s troops to a disadvantageous point. The core of this strategy is to use as little effort as possible to produce massive threats.
Weaknesses and Strengths’ in chapter six explains how opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the weakness of the enemy. Deception and stealth are the key factors in this aspect of war. The enemy must perceive my strength as my weakness and his weakness as his strength. This involves decoy attacks, and forcing the enemy to battle in a place of your choice. The successful commander would have determined this place well in advance. Needless to say the commander should be determined to attack all the weak points of his enemy and avoid his strengths. There are no constants in war therefore adaptability is an important quality to possess in order to maintain the element of surprise.
Sun Tzu’s treatment of Maneuvers’ in chapter seven indicates that it is the most difficult aspect in the art of war. He explains the dangers of direct confrontation and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon you. The terrain and length of travel play a crucial role here. The commander must be able to traverse his troops safely across rivers and valleys. In addition, this must be achieved without troop causality or undue depletion food and resources. The commander must organize his troops to arrive at the battleground rested, high in moral, well fed and prepared to fight. In the method of troop employment certain guidelines need to be followed. Sun Tzu also gives the following guidelines in confronting the enemy: “do not attack the enemy on higher ground, do not press an enemy at bay, and when surrounded allow him an exit if not he will fight to the death.”
In chapter eight Sun Tzu presents nine variables that a general must take into consideration when commanding his troops and when determining whether to launch an attack. He also discusses the character traits that are dangerous in a general. Sun Tzu, throughout his book, addresses the General of the Army hence, it is appropriate that he outlines character qualification. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the general by the author’s assertion that character flaws in a general are fatal both to the general and to his troops.
In chapters nine, Marches’ Sun Tzu emphasizes strategy in using the terrain. He also touches on the impact that the troops have on the general and how their actions reflect on him. Conversely he touches also on appropriate conduct for a general. It is interesting that traits such as consistency which Sun Tzu claims is essential are well recognized today in the parenting arena as crucial to gaining obedience.
Chapters ten and eleven, Terrain’ and The Nine Varieties of Ground’ deals with Sun Tzu’s much-revisited topic of advantageous use and understanding of the terrain. Tzu also deals with the dynamics of the chain of command and how the attitudes of various ranks can either demoralize or rejuvenate the army. He also puts forth his belief that a general is not required to blindly obey the sovereign power during war.
Attach by Fire’ is chapter twelve. For many years fire was a key weapon in the war arsenal. It is important to note that fire is still an important strategic weapon whether it is for destruction of enemy weaponry or to demoralize and economically or politically cripple the enemy. This chapter is not irrelevant, as it may initially seem. Having given advise on how to optimize the use of fire in waging war, Sun Tzu, in his customary style, also advises caution. He writes that a State that has perished cannot be restored nor can the dead by brought back to life.
Chapter thirteen closes the book with a particularly topical aspect of war, The Employment of Secret Agents’. In this chapter Tzu cleverly points out that waging war undoubtedly requires economic resources and to fail to invest in espionage is not saving money but rather wasting money because it decreases the likelihood of victory. Failing to gather foreknowledge of the enemy is not only shot sighted but is also inhumane because it commits troops to battle without giving them every benefit. Sun Tzu outlines the various means of infiltrating enemy lines and obtaining intelligence.
While the origin of The Art of War’ remains shrouded in uncertainty the work has stood the test of time and distinguishes itself as a definitive text on the philosophy of war. The author conveys sophistication in both the purpose and method of war that is still relevant today. The acceptance of the necessity of war is tempered with a desire to inflict the least destruction to achieve the set goals. The author is able to pragmatically justify strategy over brut force, intelligent planning over sheer numbers. This book warrants enthusiastic recommendation particularly in this increasingly technological age. When an ever increasing number of countries have the capacity to annihilate the world as we know it, the may become as important as the end. Sun Tzu presents a concise introduction to an interesting and thought-provoking concept of war. Its title, by the use of the word art, acknowledges that skill, ability and understanding are key in ingredients in war. Developing countries are often at a disadvantage when it comes to numerical strength and technological readiness but through the power of knowledge and understanding disadvantages may be compensated for or neutralized. This book is one tool in becoming empowered. The authors grasp of both the economic and social consequences of war is invaluable. The discussion of secret operations and subversion are likewise invaluable not only in implementing these strategies but also in becoming less susceptible to these strategies and developing countries are particularly susceptible to espionage and subterfuge by foreign entities. This book also has broad ranging implications. It promotes respect for our humanity, the benefits of proactiveness and making choices rather than merely responding the situations. These qualities are applicable in all aspects of life and to all people but particularly to military personnel who are at the forefront of the most difficult of tasks…that of defending our nation.
The Art of War by Master Sun Tzu: Literary Analysis and Influence
The Art of War, written by Master Sun Tzu, is an ancient Chinese military training text dating from the fifth Century BC. Composed of thirteen chapters, this archaic document has set the standard for the fundamentals of military training and strategy for 2,500 years. However, it did not reach the edges of Western civilization until the end of the eighteenth century, when it was translated into English. Today, it is regarded as one of the most influential books regarding military science and warfare that ever existed, and Sun Tzu’s influence now guides the decisions of our finest modern scholars, businessmen, and uniformed servicemen.
Presenting thirteen chapters meticulously bound together in a tight synergy, The Art of War displays the basic principles of warfare, giving modern military leaders the knowledge they need to fight and win battles. These principles could be expounded upon and discussed immeasurably, however this essay will only discuss three proverbial chapters that I believe to be the most powerful and essential for today’s enlisted Marines.
“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as our own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.” (p.112) This potent excerpt speaks boundless volumes to the hearts of modern Junior Marines. Beginning their careers as mere youths, most of them fresh out of high school, they desire to be respected and accepted into their new lifestyle by their senior enlisted. However, all too often, toxic leadership develops within the higher-enlisted ranks, containing within it a dangerous attitude. If you do not respect the people who work for you, they will disobey your orders. Hence, their productivity will decrease, their work ethic will diminish, and a passionate hatred of burning resentment will follow. Holding a position of leadership does not mean you are in a higher place than the people who work for you. Sun Tzu places emphasis on humility, honesty, and modesty towards others. Subordinates will then reciprocate the same compassion back to you, sparking growth and a zealous attitude from the top down.
“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” (p.53) This chapter emphasizes the true importance of the whole Marine fitness concept. To present a layman’s terms analogy, more training in peace means less blood in war. While not deployed or fighting against our enemies in country, our ability to protect ourselves from unavoidable defeat resides in our cognition to maintain the highest standards of physical fitness, emotional well-being, mental resilience, and spiritual connectivity. If these standards were only taken seriously in times of war, we would be demolished before ever putting troops on the ground. In conjunction, the weaknesses of the enemy are provided by the enemy themselves. By studying our enemy’s weaknesses during times of tension or conflict without active engagement, we make a vital head-start towards victory. A real-world example would be annual terrorism awareness training, or preparing Marines to locate and identify Improvised Explosive Devices.
“He wins his battles by making no mistakes.” (p.55) Every enlisted Marine begins their career at one of the Recruit Depots, no matter their race, creed, or color. From the very first moment of our training, we are instilled with the utmost of military discipline. For example, when being instructed of close-order drill during Recruit Training, even the slightest breach of discipline will be met with a fierce correction. However, a stern correction or incentive training pales in comparison to a mistake in combat. On the battlefield, one wrong move could mean stepping on a landmine, or alerting an enemy force to your position. Both of these scenarios would spell disaster, ultimately causing the loss of American lives. Instilling strict discipline in a military force is absolutely necessary, as complacency and carelessness are vital weaknesses easily exploited by an external threat. Today’s Marines should heed Sun Tzu’s advice and maintain the discipline first instilled by their Drill Instructors.
In conclusion, Sun Tzu’s scientific approach to warfare and tactics, if adhered to by every individual Marine, would make us an unstoppable force at America’s discretion. These values should be as important to a Marine as their service rifle. Without these values, we would crumble in the wake of our enemies’ attacks, making our defeat truly inevitable. Allow Sun Tzu’s influence to guide your lifestyle of decision-making throughout your career, and your prosperous success will follow.
Sun Tzu’s Strategy to Triumph in Warfare and Personal Success as Indicated in His Work, The Art of War
The Art of War
The Art of War by Sun Tzu, is an ancient text which holds the key to victory in war and life. The methods of war that are described in this book seem to be philosophies rather than methods; for they can be used outside the regiment of war and into everyday life situations and struggles. The philosophies in the book were used in Ancient China by Sun Tzu himself to defeat an army of three hundred thousands with an army of barely thirty thousand. He acted as a commander but also as a master of philosophy. The instructions that in the text are found were written for the eyes of emperors and their war commanders only, but when the secret finally broke out, his tactics were being used all around the world. The war history of the United States seems to be foretold by this text. The text foretells the reason behind the Nazi’s ultimate doom in WWII and why the United States would be defeated in Vietnam.
When it comes to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, knowing his words will lead you to prevail, ignoring them will lead you to fight in darkness. Tzu’s core principles were used by the United States to win the war against the Nazi in WWII, and the ignorance of the same, caused the United States to lose the War in Vietnam. These principles can be summarized by three quotes from the text: “Know your enemy and know yourself and in 100 battles you will never be in peril,” “To win 100 battles is not the height of skill; to subdue the enemy without fighting is” and “Avoid what it’s strong, attack what is weak.” In a modern, yet similar scenario, the North Vietnamese leader, like Sun Tzu, faced a force ten times greater than his. The force so feared was the anticommunist United States, the superpower of democracy and capitalism. The United States never lost a fight against the minimal North Vietnamese army, however, it did lose the war. Through the loses suffered by the Northern Vietnamese, they came to know their enemy and themselves; they learned to avoid what was strong and to attack what was weak. The United States came to learn that “to win 100 battles is not the height of skill; to subdue the enemy without fighting is.” North Vietnam, won the war, not because they won the fighting war, but because they won the moral war. The images that were broadcasted of the “Tet Offensive,” resulted in the United States losing support at home and in consequence losing the war. Losing the Vietnam War, reminded the United States of the philosophy which they used to win the fight against the Nazi during WWII, that is, that most battles are won by using intellect, not brute force.
In WWII, the Nazi came to be an unstoppable force. With an ever growing army and knowledge of their surroundings, the Nazi’s were able to conquer massive amount of land in relative little time and minimal resistance. The United States seemed to be in a lose-lose situation, because they had to mobilized its army to France in order to take back control of this essential land. The problem faced by the United States was mobilizing its army in bright light would be sending them to faced death by the hands of awaiting enemy. When the United States, finally came into the war they followed Sun Tzu’s instructions to “let [their] plans be dark as night and then attack like thunderbolt.” Like the North Vietnamese leader would do a decade from then, the United States used deception to move the Nazis from their point of advantage and into a false battle; the United States then attacked and took over Normandy which was let underprotected by the deceived Germans. With Normandy secured, the United States pathed their way down to victory.
When it comes to everyday, Sun Tzu’s teachings are as effective as they are to victory in war. For instance, in an election, whether it be a national or as simple as a school election, knowing your enemy and yourself is essential to winning the popular vote. Everyday life is like chess, when the opponent lets his weakness visible, one must attack that weakness and avoid the opponent’s strengths. And finally, in the game of life, winning can only be effectively won by using intellect, not brute force. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, prove to be the essential instructions to victory both in war and life.
“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu created a lyrical masterpiece when he wrote the book, The Art of War. It is a short text describing military tactics and strategies used in war to obtain victory over the enemy. Written before the official recording of China’s history, it remains a classic piece of literature studied and examined across generations. It displays the culture, intelligence, and progression of China during a time of limited technology and resources. Sun Tzu provides provides war tactics by using philosophical concepts. Applying deep thought and understanding of war “Sun Tzu provides the basis for strategic improvement in many areas”. This includes leadership, business, and human behavior. There are many arguments relating to this text ranging from its morality to its usefulness, and even its authorship. By examining its historical context, craft, and expression, one can generate a better understanding of Sun Tzu and this great literary classic.
The Art of War is a piece of literature that has withstood the tests of time. Written before the recording of Chinese history, information regarding Sun Tzu and this classic text is limited. The time in which Sun Tzu lived is argued amongst scholars. While one researcher suggests the book was written after 500 BC, another claims Sun Tzu lived sometime around 770 to 475 BC. Regardless of the era, war was an important topic due to the political and social climax of the era. It was “the age of a multistate, unstable world that saw frequent conflicts over control of the land and people”.
Though the social environment was unstable at times, other areas of ancient China thrived and cultivated. Sunzi lived near the era of the Han Dynasty which is also the time in which Chinese history was gathered and recorded by historian and philosopher Sima Qian. Sima Qian lived some “four hundred years after the era of Sunzi” and contains the only documented account of Sunzi in Chinese history. The account describes Sunzi’s popularity for The Art of War and his skill in military strategy. In this story, King Helu of Wu put Sunzi’s skills to the test, asking him to train women for military battle. When the women refused to listen and disobeyed his orders to march, he killed 2 of the female commanders. After this, the women obeyed him achieving what Sunzi called “Shock and Awe”; “Shock and awe and hence compliance or capitulation through very selective, utterly brutal and ruthless, and rapid application of force to intimidate”.
This event not only gave him notoriety but also created a legend. The expression and meaning of the text varies from state to state and person to person. However, the meaning produced from reading the Art of War also varies according to time and culture. During the time it was written, the Han Dynasty witnessed the rise of Confucian tradition that stimulated Chinese culture and ideology. This ideology is “centered on considerations of benevolent and wise rule achieved by ordered society that is attentive to correct understanding, relationships, definitions, and rituals”. By taking words and terms into its original context only, Confucians interpret the writings of Sun Tzu much differently from its intent. Confucians took the piece to be literal and did not apply deep thought and understanding. For instance, when Sun Tzu states, “all warfare is based on deception”, many misconstrued this line and its meaning. Confucians thought this encouraged individuals to be deceptive in life and when interacting with others. However, people of other cultures and times observed this differently. When Taoism entered Chinese ideology centuries later they understood the text with additional depth and meaning. This is because “Taoism rejects harsh definitions, certainty, and shallow understanding and has thus always been a philosophical counterpoise to the surface ordered Confucian world”. It proves to be important to understand the dynamics of the text and how it is used and applied. Applying philosophical concepts given in the Art of War indirectly links the book to a deeper understanding of human nature, behavior, and military tactics. As a result, majority of readers and scholars apply additional thought regarding the piece. “Contemporary Chinese interpreters… characterize Sunzi’s stance on war as shenzhen (i.e exercise great caution and self-restraint in war matters)”. The author argues that Sunzi encouraged strategies that were smart, using as little force and violence as possible to subdue the enemy.
While this is stressed throughout the Art of War, it ironically goes against many of the military tactics used today. As a result, the Art of War provides strategies that can be used and applied to maintain justice and morality in combat. “The Art of War is a manual for military success, it does not glorify war, nor does it advocate an aggressive use of military force”.Walking this thin line, Sun Tzu created a text useful genres and fields. This is due to the insight and depth that he brings to war and strategy, relating it to a skilled art. Consequently, Sun Tzu utilized various elements to create this piece. He uses theories that, on the surface, do not appear to be related to war, battle, and control. In the first chapter, Sun Tzu states that war is defined by “five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are The Moral Law Heaven Earth, The Commander, and Method and discipline”. Applying to these themes to the art of war, individuals are able to observe the additional meaning of this text and relate it to real life. Not only do these items dictate the art of war, they also dictate that actions and leadership of others. The components refer to how distance, leadership, and discipline are applied to different walks of life. Therefore, by substituting war with other words such as sportsmanship or business, many can use these same strategies to other areas. For instance, when Sun Tzu states, “hold out baits to entice the enemy” the theory can be applied to different fields. A manager can “hold out baits to entice” employees which can be used to improve employee satisfaction. Thus, with the use of these elements, Sun Tzu was able to create a book that can have multiple uses and devices to improve individuals and society.
Sun Tzu states, “warfare is the greatest affair of the state, the basis of life and death, the way to survive or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed”. Sun Tzu does this throughout the text changing how war is understood and conducted. Much of the “Eastern way of war is rooted in the philosophies of Sun Tzu”. These philosophies are not only observed in Chinese culture but other cultures throughout the East including Russia and India. While Sun Tzu stresses the use of deception to obtain victory over the enemy, intelligence must also be applied. With this, military forces can defeat the enemy with as little force as possible. This addresses the importance of the human life and minimizing destruction. With these philosophies the military can maintain the property, value, and economy of a defeated territory. These are behaviors that are displayed
Analysis of the Effect of Personal Hostility as the Cause of Strife Inferring From, The Art Of War By Sun Tzu
Social Analysis: The Art of War
Could war be in your own life? Could it possibly be in modern society? Does it have to have killing? Well, war can certainly be in your own life, in modern society, and it can have no death or killing at all. War is essentially conflict. In the book, The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu, it shows that almost anything can be perceived as a war and by understanding your enemy, you can even approach victory without much battle. Many other strategies throughout the book can also be applied to many things in our current life.
To begin with, my grades can be considered as some type of war. The enemy would be the bad grades and the assignments and tests would be like the battles. In The Art of War, Master Sun says, “Therefore a victorious army first wins and then seeks battle; a defeated army first battles and then seeks victory”(91). This connects with grades because when you have good grades, or a victorious army, then you have won and seek to continue to keep it like that. When you have bad grades, or a defeated army, and you first try and don’t give up, then you expect to get good grades. This quote can be interpreted as when you fail, but persevere, you will eventually get success.
In my life, I run every week at my school. Running can also be considered as a type of war. The enemy could be considered as fatigue. The battle is the course of the run. Since fatigue entraps you eventually and I cannot run backwards, I am on “dying ground”(151), which is what The Art of War portrays it as. According to The Art of War, it says that “dying ground” is “When you will survive if you fight quickly and perish if you do not”(151). This means that I won’t make it if I don’t move quickly. Li Quan says in the book, “As the classic Spring and Autumn Annals says, “War is like a fire – if you do not put it out, it will burn itself out”(57). This can apply to running because stopping is essentially “burning itself out.” When I “put myself out”, this means I am done with the run. Altogether, fatigue will get to me if I do not finish the course of the run fast, but at the same time I will eventually get tired. If I stop, then my enemy, fatigue, has gotten me, so I would simply jog and then continue running to succeed.
War can also be within our social interactions. Talking with friends is just like talking with allies. The people that one does not like are one’s enemies. Master Sun states that, “When there are murmurings, lapses in duties, and extended conversations, the loyalty of the group has been lost.” This means if there is any gossip among an army, then they are no longer loyal. When one’s friends gossip about one, then they are no longer loyal friends. However, one should not retaliate and gossip back. Master Sun says, “A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist if it is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight, but a nation destroyed cannot be restored to life…”(166). This means that a government should not go to war because they are angry and that a destroyed nation does not come back to the way it was before. So instead of retaliating and gossiping back, it would be better to stay calm and act like it is not a big issue, so one can still have trust among one’s peers. The people who gossip will most likely lose trust among their peers. Overall, The Art of War describes our social interactions kind of accurately.
Every person in the world wants to be recognized and have a good reputation. Master Sun states that, “Ordinarily, an army likes high places and dislikes low ground, values light and despises darkness”(132). This means that an army likes to be on the top of mountains and hills and does not like to be in valleys and plains. They will do better on the high places because it is easier to see what is around them. Being recognized and having a good reputation is the high places. Being ignored and having a bad reputation is the low ground. People like being well accomplished and recognized by their peers because it makes them joyful. When they are ignored by their peers, they feel depressed. Social interactions can bring people to good or bad places and high or low places. When they are insulted, they will feel ignored and feel like they are in the low places. When they are encouraged, they will feel recognized and feel as though they are in the high places.
So, war can be in our personal lives, but it can also be in other places too, like the economy. Businesses and Companies are a part of the economy and practically have war with each other every day. An example would be the smartphone market. Companies like Apple and Samsung have a lot of the market. Their enemies are other competitors, so Samsung would be the enemy of Apple. Their allies could be who they partner with. The battlefield would be the market, for instance, the smartphone market. Releasing new products and updates would be their battles. The companies release products that are better than the other, yet they have almost the same function. According to IDC, in Q4, the smartphone market was dominated by Samsung at 20% of the market and Apple at 19% of the market. If they both understand each other, they will be able to release products that are better than the other. As they release new products that consumers will purchase, they invade deeper into the market, which would be the “heavy ground” in The Art of War. Heavy ground in The Art of War is when you “ enter deeply into other’s land, past many cities and towns”(149). When these companies release new products, but consumers don’t really buy it a lot, then they are in “light ground.(148)” Light ground is when you “enter other’s land, but not deeply”(148). As the market is filled with a lot of competitors, companies will most likely try to invade into a new market, such as the smartwatch market that Apple and Samsung also compete in. Overall, companies and businesses are also able to have a war on each other. They can retaliate other’s attacks by releasing new products and enter new markets to try to dominate and expand.
The Art of War has some improvements and recommendations that others and companies can utilize to become better. In the book, Cao Cao says, “Do not use arms because of your emotions”(166). This would mean that you should not fight or shoot someone just because you are angry at them. Many people get angry over something and sometimes they fight each other. Therefore, The Art of War would recommend that one should not fight over simple things, but instead calm themselves down. One’s reputation could be at risk of getting destroyed, and it may not return to how it was before. For example, when a person is trading something with another person, but the trader hears that the person has fought with another trader, that trader will most likely not accept and run away.
The Art of War states that, “In battle, confrontation is done directly, victory is gained by surprise.” This means that you should not confront an army, but surprise them. Companies and businesses should do the same. When companies just say what they will do next, the consumers can easily predict what will happen next, and they will know if what those companies say will succeed or fail. Instead, they should disclose what they say, until the day comes that they completely tell what they have done. By doing this, consumers and other companies will be surprised. Some companies, like Apple, have used this strategy and it would be a great improvement if other companies were to also utilize this too.
There are also a few limitations that The Art of War has on society. One of them would be that someone cannot have a war with themselves. There would be no enemy in that situation. You cannot perceive war on everything either. Some strategies in the book cannot be used in many situations. For instance, Master Sun says, “If half their force advances, and half retreats, they are trying to lure you”(136). This cannot really apply to any situation because there is no other situation besides actual armed conflict, where you see half of your enemies advancing and half of their forces retreating. One cannot expect that every strategy in the book is possible to use in society and in other situations that are not armed conflict.
The Art of War has a lot of strategies that can be applied to anyone’s lives. It describes our society and social interactions kind of accurately too. It shows that war can be perceived in almost any situation. Understanding your enemy can also help, so that not many battles will need to be fought. The Art of War emphasizes that you should use tactics instead of confrontation and fighting. If you do fight, you should strategies to win. The Art of War can also improve one’s life. It can also help many businesses to become better. Although the book and its strategies do have limitations, most of the strategies or tactics are able to be used in one’s life.
The Charming Whack Job of Wall Street
When a person reads a good book, sees a great movie, or watches a spectacular performance, what do they take away from it? Some aspect will remain with them, forever associated with that experience for the rest of their lives. It can be anything from a funny line, to a dramatic scene, to a character with an irrepressible personality. Whenever I read a book, there is always some aspect or particular character that stays in my mind. Something about them makes them linger in my mind, setting them apart from others. After reading The Big Short, the thing that will remain with me the most is the radically unique characters. When it comes to unique characteristics that set you apart, many characters in the Big Short fit the bill. However, there is only one whose boss declares that he loves them and, “I have nothing bad to say about him except that he’s a fucking whack job,” (64, Lewis). Such a description is certainly memorable. However, it is not even close to being nearly as memorable as the man himself. Greg Lippermann had a persona that exudes craziness and strangely captivating rudeness that warranted the attention and memory of those who met him in the real and literary worlds.
The persona that Greg Lippmann exudes throughout the novel came to the reader in a unique package. If the only thing people knew about Greg Lippmann was a physical description, most people would not automatically assume he was a brilliant Wall Street stock broker. The common image of a stock broker on Wall Street dose not usual come from a man who sports hair “in the fashion of an 1820’s Romantic Composer or a 1970’s porn star,” (63, Lewis). It sounds as if he was attempting to pull off a suave, debonair, classy look that failed disastrously. That would be more common of a comic relief character rather than a serious, intelligent business man. Yet Lippmann’s success contradicts that theory in no short time. Even the wardrobe choices of “loud ties,” (63, Lewis) rather than the more subtly neutral colors commonly found on Wall Street, gave the impression of a big, brash persona rather than the more clam and intelligent one that clients seemed to expect when trusting someone with their money. Then again, Wall Street was described in the book to have been so mismanaged at this point, that no one seemed to care who they gave their money to. Taking that in to consideration, it is no longer surprising that this was a man whom seemingly intelligent people trusted with their money, even considering how is meeting with the Eisman group went. Setting appearance aside, there is no doubt that Greg Lippermann was a financial force to be reckoned with. However his personality was another area where he was memorable to the reader, because as a said earlier, it was best described as, “a fucking whack job,” (63, Lewis).
Whether you met him in real life or through the medium of literature, the personality Greg Lippermann exuded was only part of the persona cannot be easily dismiss from one’s mind. Lippermann was a man with a personality that very few people were likely to forget. This is made abundantly clear when the reader first interacts with him in the novel. When he is introduced as being the result of an experiment, “if a team of experts had set out to create a human being to maximize the likelihood that he would terrify a Wall Street customer,”(62, Lewis) a certain image begins to form. The picture the reader sees is of a man who does not meet the usual criteria of the successful Wall Street stock broker. If he is a near perfect example of someone who was designed to alienate customers it would be the logical assumption that his career would suffer as a result. However the reader, as well as those who knew him in real life, comes to find he is brilliant at his chosen trade. He tells us himself that, “whatever he’d been paid by his employer was not anything like what he’d been worth,” (63, Lewis). Lippermann made his clients and more importantly himself a fortune by playing the stock market game. He had a bit of a big head, but despite this was not a terrible human being. Those who knew him and interacted with him in the professional world all agreed that, “he simply evoked extreme feelings in others,” (64, Lewis), because of the strong differences in that existed in both his character and appearance that differed from what society deems normal. The reactions Lippermann’s personality produced were certainly strong; however this may have been part of his persona that seemed to break all the unspoken rules of Wall Street.
Yet another facet of the unforgettable personality that encompassed Greg Lippermann is that fact that despite his success in the industry, he broke nearly every unwritten rule of Wall Street in the process of earning it. Even the professionals he worked with were amazed at some of the things he would do. On more than one occasion he publicly announced to anyone who would listen that he had no allegiance to the company he worked for, he just happened to be working for them (64, Lewis). While this was a very common feeling amongst the workers of Wall Street, this was not something a sensible and successful person was supposed to admit, let alone announce repeatedly. To do so should have been career suicide, and yet he survived. Not only that but He continually hinted to anyone who would listen just how much this company he had no loyalty for was paying him and giving him in bonuses. He seemed to bring it up in the middle of a conversation, despite people continually saying, “but I didn’t ask,” (63, Lewis). Successful Wall Street brokers were supposed to be extremely tightlipped about such details, but the essence that made up Greg Lippermann did not seem to be able to tolerate any type of conforming to normality. Also, it shows us that he had a need inside of him that demanded he show how much he was worth to the world, perhaps because he was so dramatically different from the rest of the world. The more a person came to experience the persona projected by Lippermann, whether in real life or in the text, the more confused and befuddled they seemed to be that a man who completely disregarded the few rules in place in the stock market could be such a success. I know that I was certainly confused by him despite analyzing his character in preparation for writing this paper. Despite all of this, the controversy of his persona paid off in the end.
In the course of a lifetime, a person will meet hundreds of ordinary people and quickly forget them. However, they will also meet a handful of incredibly memorable people it is impossible for them to forget. Greg Lippmann was many things, but all of them were memorable. Whether the person he interacted with knew him in real life or in the pages of a book, his unique style remained implanted in their minds. Nothing about him was in any way a nod to conformity, whether it was in his appearance, the way he acted or the way he conducted business. He looked like a 70’s adult film star, had a personality that should have scared customers away, and broke nearly every rule he came across. Yet at the same time managed to be likable and great at his job. The more the reader learned about him, the more controversial and hard to pin down they realized he truly was. Lippmann may not have been the easiest person to interact with, but the reader will never quite forget the charming whack job of Wall Street.
Evaluation of the Art of War vs. Modern Day Air Warfare
History witnesses that, science is a process of continuous improvement and technology erodes and becomes obsolete with the passage of time, but a work of genius is always universal. The power of mind is such that a man, who was living in caves a few hundred years ago, is now planning to build colonies on moon and beyond. So one thinks that, is there any parity between the mental capabilities of Stone Age generation and the space generation. Same question arises when we compare the ancient military strategists and modern military strategists. To argue on this question I shall take up the fabulous work of Sun Tzu, the first strategist known in history with written military strategies in the shape of “The Art of War”, and see its applicability in the modern day Air warfare.
The aim of this paper is to highlight salient features of Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ and validate his ideas and strategies in comparison to modern day air warfare.
Briefly touching upon the biography of Sun Tzu, he was a Chinese general who gave his military strategies around two and a half thousand years ago. He was also known as ‘Sun Wu’ and ‘Sun Zi’. In Chinese language “Sun Tzu” means “Master Sun”. Born in fifth century BC, he was a native of the northern state of Ch’i of ancient China. His date of death is not known, however, it is estimated that he died before the year 473 BC. In fact very little is known about his personal life. He belonged to a family with a rich military background; his father and grandfather were also generals. This gave his mind an impetus and he thoroughly studied and researched different aspects of war. His vision and intellect made his name immortal in the field of military, as he is remembered in the history for his magnificent inscriptions on ‘The Art of war’, which has been accepted as the bible of warfare since centuries. Presently his book is used as a text or reference book in a number of military academies, research institutes, and business enterprises around the world.
Sun Tzu’s Doctrine
Sun Tzu’s work is universal in nature. He said, “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”. Sun Tzu also said, “The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life or death, a road to survival or to ruin. Hence it is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied”. This speaks volumes about his foresight and vision about the art of warfare. Unlike other ancient doctrines, his work does not focus on specific tactics, techniques or weapon systems; on the other hand it can be updated in all ages, with changing technology. Some of the basic tenants of the “The Art of War” are:-
- To prepare adequate defenses to repel any attack,
- To seek ways to defeat the enemy without engaging him in battle,
- Follow the enemy situation in order to decide on battle.
Sun Tzu’s saying that ‘art of war is of vital importance to the state’ is true even today, as the nations still engage in war to resolve their issues which they are unable to solve through political means. So in order to maintain the sovereignty and safeguard the frontiers, a nation has to give vital importance to the art of war. Also, in today’s air warfare defense is of most vital importance, both active and passive. No country without adequate defense will be able to stand against any invader. Even the strongest air forces in the world with the most potent offensive capabilities give equal importance to their defense. Almost all the nations in the world keep track of their enemies (or potential enemies) and build up their forces accordingly. This is done to maintain the balance of power so that war stays as the last resort for resolving the political issues.
Stratagem is something unique to Sun Tzu. It is a concept which is not found in the western theory of war. To Sun Tzu violence in war was a means of the last resort. He says, “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy is not so profitable”. Sun Tzu also said, “The skilful leader subdues the enemy troops without fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them, he overthrows their kingdom without any lengthy operations in the field…..With his forces intact his triumph will be complete.” He says that this is the method of attacking by stratagem.
In the modern air forces, with the invention of precision weapons, long range aircraft and missiles, and satellite guidance, it has been made possible to pin point and attack only those targets which are relevant and militarily important. Thus the economic, industrial and residential sectors can be easily secluded from war. Hence the outcome of war, while capturing any country, stays profitable.
Sun Tzu’s Impact on Conduct of War
Sun Tzu’s ideas have a profound impact on the conduct of war – ancient or modern, and air warfare is no exception. He implemented his ideas himself in various battles and those are still applicable to the present era. His Ideas could be organized in seven categories.
Doctrine:- About doctrine, Sun Tzu said that every state must have a military doctrine of her own in order to defend itself from external aggression. Sun Tzu rightly says, “It is a doctrine of war not to assume that the enemy will not come, but rather to rely on readiness to meet him; not to presume that he will not attack, but rather to make one’s self invincible”.
In this era, every nation with a credible force, not only has their military doctrine but also have their respective army, air force and naval doctrines. Especially after the invention of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), no nation possessing these weapons is considered responsible without a comprehensive and elaborate doctrine.
Strategy:- Sun Tzu was a strong advocate of formulation and maintenance of strategy. He dictates that :-
- “when the enemy concentrates, prepare against him, where he is strong avoid him”.
- “Anger his general and confuse him. Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance so that he may be misled”.
- “Keep your enemy under strain and wear him down”.
- “When he is united, divide him by spreading suspicion”.
- “Attack him where he is unprepared, go forth when he does not expect you”.
In modern day, to fight all wars a nation has to devise a strategy so as to be prepared for war all the time. A force with unique characteristics, like air force can not prepare and engage in war, without a well defined and well rehearsed strategies. These strategies have to be prepared and defined for all levels of warfare.
Operations:- According to Sun Tzu, “Victory is the main object in war. If it is delayed, weapons are blunted and morale depressed, when troops attack cities, their strength will be exhausted”. Thus the emphasis on the fact that operations should have specific aims. Speaking on waging war Sun Tzu talks about :-
- Operational preparedness,
- Swiftness of operations,
- Speed, and
- emphasizes that operations should have specific aims.
The points given above can be easily characterized as essentials of a modern day air force. All air forces in the world rely on their peace time preparedness, so that their operations can be conducted in a harmonious manner in order to achieve their aims at the earliest.
Tactics:- Sun Tzu talks about the use of forces in different numbers through varied tactics. Dilating on this he says :-
- When ten to enemy’s one surround him.
- When five times his strength attack him.
- If double his strength divide him.
- If equally matched you may engage him.
- But if weaker numerically, be capable of withdrawing.
- And if unequal, be capable of eluding him.
In war, tactics and numbers matter a lot. Especially in air warfare special tactics may be employed to counter a numerically superior air force, similarly more number of aircraft may be employed to counter a technologically superior air force. Hence importance of tactics and numbers matter a lot in air warfare.
Deception:- Although deception may be regarded as tactics, but Sun Tzu attaches great importance to it and says that all warfare is based on deception therefore
Deception is the hallmark of politics and war even today. It is said that there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. No nation or military will ever reveal their cards until it is mandatory to achieve their preset goals. In air warfare, fake strikes, false radio transmissions, electronic warfare and passive defense etc, is used to deceive the enemy. An air force which cannot effectively counter these, suffers a significant setback.
Limited War:- Sun Tzu is in favor of limited and short war and does not profess long protracted wars. He writes, “When the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will not suffice”.
Air warfare is meant to shorten the duration of war because of its inherent characteristics – height, speed and reach. Due to this the ancient wars, which used to last for decades, has now been reduced in modern times to days. Air force besides being the most potent force is also the most expensive force of all. Hence any prolonged war will be a major drain on the economic resources of a country.
Victory:- Sun Tzu says, “War demands victory, not prolonged operations”, and therefore, “the general who understands war, is the master of the peoples fate and arbiter of the nation”. According to Sun Tzu, victory in war can be predicted by the following five circumstances:-
Sun Tzu’s guidelines to predict the outcome of war can be readily applied to air warfare as well. In order to win a war, an air force must posses situational awareness at all levels of war, identification of center of gravity, flexibility, concentration of forces, economy of force, coordination, unified command, maintenance of morale, discipline and good leadership. It can be accurately said that an air force possessing these attributes will be a winner against an adversary who does not have these qualities.
I will now validate Sun Tzu’s ideas and doctrine to modern air warfare with contemporary examples. For this purpose I shall discuss some military encounters to highlight applicability of his philosophies to modern warfare.
Pearl Harbor: – Sun Tzu wrote, “When the enemy speaks in the humble tone, he continues his preparations and will advance”. On 7December 1941, at 1 pm Japanese diplomats were to arrive in USA for peace talks in the Pacific. At approximately the same hour the Japanese started bombing on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had used Sun Tzu’s deception tactics but simultaneously violated his basic strategy i.e., “When you are ignorant of the enemy but you know yourself, the chances of winning or losing the battle are equal”. The Japanese overestimated themselves and knew far less about the American potential and response. Thus skies witnessed the most devastating war causalities in history, when USA equaled the score by attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Vietnam:- Sun Tzu sees war as being the matter of deception and the attainment of psychological dominance. In Vietnam it was hot, dark and wet, the language was strange and the foe was not easily distinguishable from friend. During the Tet Offensive Vietnamese learnt that American public was unwilling to tolerate large number of body bags coming home, whereas Vietnamese themselves were ready to accept that in order to achieve independence. This was a psychological turning point and hence ensured the American evacuation from Vietnam. General Giap, the leader of North Vietnamese forces, together with Ho Chi Minh was main architect of victory over the Americans, as they used the deception tactics of Sun Tzu to achieve their goals against an enemy who had used all sort of force against them, including air force.
Soviet-Afghan War:- In the Soviet-Afghan war the Soviets were unfamiliar with the Afghan terrain and they under estimated the will of their opponent. The Afghans knew their country well and displayed guerilla warfare tactics much similar to Sun Tzu’s teaching against an enemy which was equipped with superior weapons but having poor knowledge about the terrain. The result was withdrawal of the soviet forces and ultimately collapse of the Soviet infrastructure.
Based on all the arguments stated earlier it can be easily said that Sun Tzu, the pioneer of the ageless principles, enjoys the reputation of being the oldest strategist. Though ages have passed but the theme and principles laid by the great strategist are practical, and hence applicable in the present day warfare especially air warfare. The strategies described by the Sun Tzu are as much relevant today as they were two thousand five hundred years ago and its applicability is not only limited to ground, air or sea warfare, rather it’s applicable in almost all aspects of human interaction with each other.