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Three Doubts

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 2.5 Three Doubts

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Martial Secret Teachings 2.5 (17)

Observed lessons

  • Three common doubts of the invader: having sufficient strength, coping with enemy's supporters, and managing the enemy's population.
  • When the enemy is strong, let them get stronger, then attack through their strength, making it a weakness.
  • To estrange supporters, tempt them away and buy them off.
  • Start by obfuscation, making them blind to your actions.
  • Get the people to distance themselves from the enemy ruler.
  • Show you are kind and forgiving to their people.
  • When their people see you as good, they will join you.

Discussion

Attacking strength seems odd, but the principle is to turn their strength to a weakness. Encouraging their strength also seems odd, but done well it makes them focus all their attentions here, leaving themselves vulnerable in other areas. For example if you can subtly encourage them to build more tanks, you may later win through an aerial attack or fighting in marshlands where tanks cannot go.

Winning a war happens only when the opposing country has returned to a state of peace, which only happens if the population accept the change in government. This can be helped greatly by showing you are fair and considerate. Alexander the Great was good at this, for example by defeating a ruler, then worshiping the local gods and using local people in the new government.

See also

Confidence principle, Leadership

 

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

 

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