This article is the first part of Sun Tzu "The Art of War" with a title of Strategic Assessments. Enjoy your read.
Military action is important to the nation - it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it.
Therefore measure in terms of five things, use these assessments to make comparisons, and thus find out what the conditiona are. The five things are the way, the weather, the terrain, the leadership, and discipline.
The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership, so that they will share death and share life, without fear of danger.
The weather means the seasons.
The terrain is to be assessed in terms of distance, difficulty or ease of travel, dimension, and safety.
Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness.
Discipline means organization, chain of command, and logistics.
Every General has heard of these five things. Those who know them prevail, those who do not know them do not prevail.
Therefore use these assessments for comparison, to find out what the condition are. That is to say, which political leadership has the Way? which General has ability? who has the better climate and terrain? whose discipline is effective? whose troops are the stronger? whose officers and soldiers are the better trained? whose system of reward and punishments is clearer? this is how you can know who will win.
Assess the advantage in taking advice, then structure your forces accordingly, to supplement extraordinary tactics. Forces are to be structured strategically, based on what is advantageous.
A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be in-effective.
When you are going to attack nearby, make it look as if you are going to go a long way; when you are going to attack far away, make it look as if you are going just a short distance.
Draw them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion.
When they are fulfilled, be prepared againts them; when they are strong, avoid them.
Use anger to throw them into disarray.
Use humility to make them haughty. Tire them by flught. Cause division among them. Attack when they are unprepared, make your move when they do not expect it.
The formation and procedure used by the military should not be vulged beforehand.
The one who figures on victory at headquarters before even doing battle is the one who has the most strategic factors on his side. The one who figures on inability to prevail at headquarters before doing battle is the onewho has the least strategic factors on his side. The one with many strategic factors in his favor wins, the one with few strategic factors in his favor loses - how much the more so for one with no strategic factors in his favor. Observing the matter in this way, I can see who will win and who will lose.
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