A recent Quinnipiac University Poll reports, “A total of 78 percent of voters are ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ about the U.S. getting into a war in Syria, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of 72 percent of voters are ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ that U.S. involvement in Syria could lead to armed conflict with Russia.”
In addition, in January 2017, Atlantic.com revealed, “In dozens of interviews with U.S. officials and coalition military commanders—from the White House to America’s war room in Tampa, the command in Baghdad, forward control centers and training grounds in Kurdistan, defense minister meetings in Paris, and NATO headquarters in Brussels—one thing was clear and consistent. On the whole, America’s military leaders do not want to be here any longer than they must. … They don’t want to defeat ISIS only to become an occupying force of sitting ducks.”
Knowing these two facts, we learn from the wisdom in the “Art of War” by Sun Tzu that there is a high-possibility of defeat for the United States.
Who better to turn to than Sun Tzu to see if it is possible to achieve victory with Donald Trump as the president of the United States. After all, Sun Tzu has to be really good to still be taken seriously and studied about 2,500 years later.
That’s why it is time to reexamine the master that U.S. West Point cadets still study. Sun Tzu dates to China’s Warring States Period (476 – 221 BC). Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China as a military general serving under King Helu of Wu (544-496 BC).
Three Important points of advice from Sun Tzu
- Know your enemy and know yourself — understanding your opponent is crucial to victory.
- Sun Tzu prizes the general who can outwit instead of outfight his opponent — to subdue the enemy without fighting is the height of skill.
- Avoid what is strong. Attack what is weak.
About 500 BC, the King of Wu summons Sun Tzu, one of the greatest military minds in history, to save his kingdom from a more powerful enemy.
Sun Tzu was a warrior and a philosopher. He had a cohesive, holistic philosophy on strategy. Compare Sun Tzu to Fake President Trump, who was a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, a cheat and a fraud in business, and with several bankruptcies behind him, a loser at business too. He is also a serial liar and proud of not reading books.
Sun Tzu tells the King of Wu he can defeat the enemy with a smaller army. Doubting him, the king challenges Sun Tzu to turn the palace concubines into a fighting force and Sun Tzu accepts.
Sun Tzu shows the concubines what to do, selects the best two students and puts them in charge of the others. When Sun Tzu orders the exercise to begin, the women laugh.
He tries again but the concubines laugh again. Sun Tzu says, “If instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the fault of the general (or Donald Trump). But if the orders are clear, and my orders are clear, it is the fault of the subordinate officers.”
Donald Trump orders are never clear. Often, almost daily, he sends out tweets that shock and surprises his own staff.
Without warning, Sun Tzu beheads the two concubines he selected to lead the others. To Sun Tzu, war is a matter of life and death. This is the key principal of his teachings. Once understood, everyone from the general to the solider will be motivated to win. Without warning Trump fires people or doesn’t hire people to do the jobs in the government that must be done to keep America safe.
It is a fact that politics and public opinion decide the rules of the battle field, and this is where Donald Trump fails repeatedly.
Back to Sun Tzu. While the bodies of the first two concubines are still warm, Sun Tzu appoints two new concubines to lead the others. This time the concubines follow his orders without hesitation. The king of Wu is convinced and appoints Sun Tzu commander of the Wu army.
Sun Tzu trains an army of 30-thousand troops to fight a force ten-time larger. Outnumbered ten to one, Sun Tzu doesn’t build his defenses and then wait to be attacked. Instead, he does the unexpected. He invades Chu.
He doesn’t attack Chu’s main army. Instead, he attacks outposts and weaker targets. When Chu sends an army to fight, Sun Tzu slips his force away emphasizing maneuver, surprise and deception.
After every battle, Sun Tzu learns more about his enemy.
Sun Tzu wrote, “It is more important to outthink your enemy than outfight him. In war, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power.”
Sun Tzu liked the enemy to maneuver and respond to his moves. This way he was in charge of the battlefield. Sun Tzu said, “Once you know the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, you can avoid the strengths and attack the weaknesses.” As the Vietnam War continued with mounting US causalities – just like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, support at home shifted against the war, and that ignores another of Sun Tzu’s rules, “The skillful leader subdues enemy’s troops without any fighting. One does not win wars by winning battles.”
Sun Tzu felt spies were important, and he devoted one chapter to spies. He said, “Use your spies for every kind of business … An accurate knowledge of the enemy is worth ten divisions,” but Donald Trump does not trust any of the U.S. spy agencies. Instead he has clearly revealed he only trust one of America’s enemies, Putin.
Sun Tzu said, “Let your plans be as dark as night – then strike like a thunderbolt,” but Donald Trump has revealed U.S. secrets publicly several times in meetings with Russians, to China’s leader, and through his tweets.
Sun Tzu said, “In battle use a direct attack to engage and an indirect attack to win,” meaning to deceive your enemy so you can win your real objective. In 500 BC in China, Sun Tzu’s hit-and-run campaign against the state of Chu worked. The Chu prime minister lost the public’s support and the morale of his troops.
Throughout the countryside of Chu, there was fear of where Sun Tzu will strike next just like there is fear in the United States and Europe where Islamic terrorists will strike next. When the larger Chu army threatened one of Sun Tzu’s allies, Sun Tzu used another rule. Sun Tzu said, “All warfare is deception. If you can deceive your enemy before battle, you are more likely to win.”
Sun Tzu won the war against Chu, which had an army ten times larger than his. He did this through preparation, deception, and indirect attacks.
After winning that war, Sun Tzu retired and wrote his masterpiece, The Art of War.
The first line of Sun Tzu’s rules of war says, “War is a matter of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, survival or ruin.
Since World War Two, almost every American president has ignored Sun Tzu’s advice, because Sun Tzu said, “Sometimes, the best way to win is not to fight.” It’s clear that bumbling Fake President Donald Trump doesn’t know this and doesn’t care.
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