Victory is when battles become unnecessary…..

Image result for sun tzuWhat distinguishes Sun Tzu from Western writers on strategy is the emphasis on the psychological and political elements over the purely military. The great European military theorists Carl von Clausewitz and Antoine-Henri Jomini treat strategy as an activity in its own right, separate from politics. Even Clausewitz’s famous dictum that war is the continuation of politics by other means implies that with war the statesman enters a new and distinct phase. Sun Tzu merges the two fields. Where Western strategists reflect on the means to assemble superior power at the decisive point, Sun Tzu addresses the means of building a dominant political and psychological position, such that the outcome of a conflict becomes a foregone conclusion. Western strategists test their maxims by victories in battles; Sun Tzu tests by victories where battles have become unnecessary….…..What should a statesman be prudent about? For Sun Tzu, victory is not simply the triumph of armed forces. Instead, it is the achievement of the ultimate political objectives that the military clash was intended to secure. Far better than challenging the enemy on the field of battle is undermining an enemy’s morale or maneuvering him into an unfavorable position from which escape is impossible. Because war is a desperate and complex enterprise, self-knowledge is crucial. Strategy resolves itself into a psychological contest: Ultimate excellence lies Not in winning Every battle But in defeating the enemy Without ever fighting. The highest form of warfare Is to attack [the enemy’s] Strategy itself; The next, To attack [his] Alliances. The next, To attack Armies; The lowest form of war is To attack Cities. Siege warfare Is a last resort … The Skillful Strategist Defeats the enemy Without doing battle, Captures the city Without laying siege, Overthrows the enemy state Without protracted war……

On China
by Henry Kissinger

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