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Preserving the State's Territory

 

Disciplines > WarfareT'ai Kung's Six Secret Teachings > 1.7 Preserving the State's Territory

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Civil Secret Teachings 1.7 (7)

Observed lessons

  • Be friendly with nearby countries.
  • Keep your relatives close.
  • Remember the common people.
  • Maintain personal control rather than letting others manage this.
  • Be ready for invasion. Build resources before you need them.
  • When you have power and it needs using, then use it.
  • Do not lend your weapons to those who could attack you.

Discussion

A critical concern for a ruler is to sustain their territories, protecting against both attack from without and division within.

To avoid invasion, pay attention to the politics in other countries, especially those with who you share borders. Notice leaders with aggressive and acquisitive nature. Build alliances, yet never fully trust your allies.

Power is often more to do with the power others think you have than the actual resources at your command. Managing their perceptions is hence important. If you fail to act when others expect you to do so, then they will assume you have less power and, in doing so, reduce your power. Appropriate action is hence important, and none more so than when there is a threat of invasion.

When a person has power, then their relatives may become envious and try to usurp the ruler, killing them and taking their position. History is full of examples of this happening. Managed well, however, relatives can be your greatest supporters.

It is also important to address the concerns of the common people, for who the idea of invasion can be terrifying.

Those who would attack you will often pretend first to be your friend and may even weaken you by borrowing or using up your resources.

See also

Politics, Power

 

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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