Art of War chapter 3! It’s the first time I kept most of the original text (p(^_^)q) but yet it’s not necessarily a word to word translation. To add another disclaimer: it’s not a translation exercise so please don’t judge the language skills (even it cannot be too bad). I think I might end up with half page of fine text some day….(⌒-⌒; )
—— here we go with the good stuff ——
Sunzi said: regarding how to manage armies in a war – the best result is to take over a country in a healthy way; defeat and destroy it is a less ideal situation. Similarly it’s better to win a war by keeping enemies alive; killing them is a less good result. So it’s not necessarily the wisest to just win all the battles. It’s much wiser if wars are won without fighting.
So the best army win in strategy; the second best win diplomatically; then it’s to have physical battle and the worst is to destroy enemy’s towns, which should be the last resort. Because tools and weapons to attack towns take months after months to prepare. When attacking, the leader tends to turn even more furious and will request soldiers to climb the wall like ants. It’s really a disaster that the town cannot be conquered even at the cost of one third of the army.
So the art of war is to make enemies surrender without fighting against them, to take over a town without attacking it and to conquer a country without a long-lasting war. The strategy is to keep everything (rather than destroying it) and hence the soldiers are not worn out too.
The way to fight a battle is to surround the enemies when our army is 10 times stronger; attack them when 5 times stronger; separate them when we are just double. When the enemy is of similar force, we should just fight against them; when they have more people then we should defend, and when we are too weak then we should avoid them. Small army which insists on fighting are doomed to be captured by bigger enemies.
The leaders in war are the key people for a country. A capable leader leads a strong country and incapable leader a weak country.
There are three types of bad leadership in army. The first is to order moving forward or backward without understanding the situation; this put the army in a bad position. The second is to intervene the war fair without any military knowledge; this confuses the army. The third is to manage the army without knowing the strategy; then soldiers will question the management. When the armies are confused and unconfident, the subsidiary countries will rebel and attack. Those armies can be easily defeated.
There are five keys to win the war. Those who know whether the fight should happen or not can win. Those who knows the the strategy with different army sizes can win. Those who have an army with one goal can win. Those who use tricks to cheat the enemy can win. Those who has capable military leader and the monarch doesn’t intervene can win.
So we say: if an army know enemy as well as themselves, they can win all the battles; those who know themselves but not their enemy can win 50% of the battles. Those who know neither the enemy nor themselves will certainly be defeated.
Zebra says: we should avoid the giraffes as they over-number us!
—— below is the original text ——