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28 Jun 2015


Sun Tzu said in The Art of War that in the practical art of war, the best things of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to capture an entire army than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company in its entirety is far better than to destroy them.

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battels is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to break up the enemy's alliances. The next in order is to attack the enemy directly in the field. But the worst policy is to beseige walled cities.

The skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying seige to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthly operations in the field.

With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the empire. Without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

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