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Civil Offensive

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 2.3 Civil Offensive

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Martial Secret Teachings 2.3 (15)

Observed lessons

  • Let them do as they like, let them become corrupt, then remove them.
  • Become friends with their friends and so create divided loyalties.
  • Bribe and build close relationships with their assistants.
  • Give them gifts and respect in order to soften them.
  • Give their officials more gifts than you give them.
  • Delay, distract and treat well visiting officials.
  • Secretly ally with their best people.
  • Build plans together that seem to offer great benefit to them.
  • Praise and admire them so they become vain and blind.
  • Agree to their ideas and requests while watching and listening.

Discussion

A 'Civil Offensive' is effectively a direct but subtle attack on the heart of the enemy, at the ruler and his court. It acts to weaken them, often while appearing to be friendly. It may precede open aggression, perhaps by some years.

Every person has their price and buying their advisors gets you both spies in their camp and the ability to feed them false information. Through apparent friendship, great trouble can be wrought.

A traditional way of subverting officials (and rulers) is with women who seduce, distract and corrupt. Other ways include simple friendship and support. Ambitious officials may well feel aggrieved at not being sufficiently recognized for their contribution. You can be a sympathetic ear and perhaps make promises for their illustrious future.

'Turning' foreign officials was a classic activity during the 20th century Cold War. It probably continues in various forms in the ongoing inter-country spying that inevitably happens (even in 'friendly' places).

See also

Replace the Beams and Pillars with Rotten Timber, Use a Woman to Ensnare a Man

 

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

 

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