This article is the eighth part of Sun Tzu "The Art of War" with a title of Adaptations. Enjoy your read.
The general rule for military operations is that the military leadership receives the order from the civilian leadership to gather armies.
Let there be no encampment on difficult terrain. Let diplomatic relations be established at borders. Do not stay in barren or isolated territory.
When on surrounded ground, plot. When on deadly ground, fight.
There are routes not to be followed, armies not to be attacked, citadels not to be besieged, territory not to be fought over, orders of civilian governments not to be obeyed.
Therefore Generals who know all possible adaptations to take advantages of the ground know how to use military forces. If Generals do not know how to adapt advantageously, even if they know the lay of the land they can not take advantage of it.
If they rule armies without knowing the arts of complete adaptivity, even if they know what there is to gain, they can not get people to work for them.
Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both benefit and harm. As they consider benefit, their work can expand; as they consider harm, their troubles can be resolved.
Therefore what to restrains competitors is harm, what keeps competitors busy is work, what motivates competitors is profit.
So the rule of military operations is not to count on opponents not coming, but to rely on having ways of dealing with them; not to count on opponents not attacking, but to rely on having what can not be attacked.
Therefore, there are five traits that are dangerous in Generals. Those who are ready to die can be killed; those who are intent on living can be captured; those who are quick to anger can be shamed; those who are puritanical can be disgraced; those who love people can be troubled.
These five things are faults in Generals, disasters for military operations.
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