Posts Tagged ‘military strategy’

Sun Tzu: Keep your adversary irrationally busy, worrying, confused,fearful and like to be your ally, if you want to be a global leader…..

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Currently America is a global leader in some way, but keeps busy moving the military units around the world, keeps worrying the whole world human right, and freedom, through the United Nation keeping the questionable allies….

It seems that a lot of contrast to what Sun Tzu  has to say. If Sun Tzu is the best military strategist,  then our leaders may need to review their planning.

America has been faithfully to help the world since the Second World War. The purpose is to keep the world peace and creates the world prosperity. When you help another country to grow up , you naturally create the competitions……

America has the best natural resources and human wisdom so as the technology. In reality, America can overcome this challenge without questions. This challenge makes the world better. That is America’s goal, that is America system. What is the problem?

Some political leaders and certain groups of organization keep complaining about the unfair challenges……

If America can send the spaceship to the Universe, or goes to the Mar, even Sun Tzu would agree that America can overcome  something that he can’t…..

“If Sun Tzu is alive to day, he will say that America has an internal problem .”

The extremity and obstructions of certain political leaders will cause this great country dearly. Look at the Wall Street. There are no rules and laws in their eyes. They do anything they want to. Because they can afford to pay $B of dollar fine and have political power. They can admit no fault. When the future oil trading is being investigated, the oil price goes down and a big bank loses multiple $B of dollars….When will it end ? Scandal waves move forward one after another. New IPO is on the NEWS. It is incredible!

Some ex-military officers have said there are not much competitions in term of military power in the near future. Why America needs more oxygenated problem plane……?

America has the budget gridlock, it can be done, if Congress can work together. If America can’t balance the budget, the world is not going to listen……..Can America to be a global leader under this circumstance ??

Know Yourself and Know the World…..Sun Tzu.

Don’t get into the enemy’s traps……..

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Sun Tzu said that used your military strength to hit your enemy’s weakness.  It didn’t mean that used your fancy car to hit a 1922 farm truck…..

Don’t let your enemy knew your weakness and flexible to coordinate the soldier’s unit  as a circle defense…There will be no sign of deficiency and be ready to counter attack at any time…It will  never mean that set up the camp and wait to get beat…..

Make a strong relationship with local people………etc.

Current war has a lot of similarity to Vietnam war. Certainly, it is not a copy of it. It is not just few old book problems currently, it is the propaganda and local people’s frustration. It has been a ten year war, the local people are paying the consequences…..”Officers eat beef, citizen eat dirt.”

America soldiers will be very frustrated and morale will be affected too. It also indicates that just the Military Might may not win certain conflicts. Each conflict will be different………

Based on the News, the strategy has been changed..Use the drone and special unit for the future conflicts (terrorist attack).  That is a proper way to deal with it.

The drone can make the adversary  under psychological frightening 24/7, make them worry about their last hour any time. The special unit can wipe them out as long as the situation is allowable. Use the military mighty to support all the activities. That is what Sun Tzu means Military Strength. Cut down the collateral damage and save the resources…….

Those fanatic people have succeeded to exhaust America Resources . They take advantage of their terrain and their religious concept. Make good use of propaganda to train local people as explosive tools…….Mix with the local people after  or before an attack. It is very tough to win a conflict in this kind of environment, even America can control this situation temporarily, but the result is  very fragile. Plus  it will need huge amount of soldiers and resources……The current riot is an example.

“Send few packages through airline and it costs American couple of Billion Dollars…..”

Does America real know this enemy as  what Sun Tzu referred to ??

Their corrupted Government is part of the major problems. America’s  good will never connect to the local people, because local people do not get the benefit from America. If this corrupted Government does not correct its policy , no matter what America has done for them.  It will not work. Look at Asia as an example in the past.  This new Government will be over turned by the Taliban as soon as America leaves this country, period!  Their people don’t trust the Government. History repeats.

Iran’s delaying strategy may get backfire. It is a closed call.. Its corky attitude that doesn’t know how far it can go, will cost their country dearly. Time will tell.

United Nation Game is being played by the super power. America is putting a right Chess Move ,”watch and wait”. One wrong move, America will be accused as Colonial action.  ” Damn, you do it, damn, you don’t”. It sounds familiar.

Think thrice before each movement. America has been involving most of the major conflicts globally after World ll War. What is the result ? What is the purpose?  How much does it cost America resources and American lives? As a global leader, America should involve certain major conflicts, but not everyone of it………

War is the last tool to solve the conflict after all diplomatic ways are exhausted. Each conflict can be solved, if all party can sit back and reconsider the circumstances and consequences…….However, history says it all.

Syria: The Game Constantly Changes….

Monday, February 13th, 2012

News: Russia open an agreement on Syria……

When Russia secures the survival of Syria and its position as a player in Middle East, they have to go along with the Arabic world. They know this blooded crush can’t hold on forever.

America is doing the right thing, let the Arab deal with their problems.  This second resolution of United Nation is going to pass. America should stand by  and support the Arab, but it should base on the real facts and human rights. The culture in this part of world is very sensitive, sometime you think you are doing the right thing for them, but you may get the negative results. The current war sounds familiar.

” Don’t understand the situation, just wait and see, dangerous place, don’t stay”……..Sun Tzu.

As soon as the Syria’s situation is stabled, the brutal kingdom eventually will fall apart. It is the time factor. Russia is buying the time to help Iran’s situation.

It is like a wild beast to fight its way out, when it is cornered. Iran has problems from  inside out. It will humble to the United Nation and save  its country from military disaster. But they will try again…….

America is doing the right strategy to corner Iran especially in current situation…

” One stone hits two birds, it is part of Sun Tzu philosophy too”.

The hawkish leaders need to sit back and review the past wars…Learn something from them…..

One way you want to balance the budget, another way you want more war…..Where is the Money ? When the internal problems are settled, American have house to live with and foods are on the table…It is the time to revise the global affairs.

Face the reality, be reasonable to deal with this country problems. All the political gossip, it won’t fly !!

It seems like the big bird without wings. He can walk , he can talk, but he can’t fly.

Read the first chapter of Art of War, it will help you learn  how to run the country.

Walmart and K-Mart: Rivals on the Battlefield

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Sun Tzu writes in The Art of War that advantage / disadvantage and strength / weakness are continually shifting, depending on the circumstances. Business can also be interpreted through the lens of Art of War principles, in terms of  businesses and corporations battling to capture the dollars of the public.

Everyone knows what happened to K-Mart when it did not accurately assess the threat from WalMart. K-Mart rose up in the early 60’s as an innovative marketing idea.  K-Mart built an image and a strategy to present products that matched the middle class consumer.  Unfortunately, due to overspending,  management problems, and lack of experience, K-Mart was eclipsed by WalMart, who all but wiped them out.

WalMart made use of what it had learned about K-Mart’s strengths and weaknesses.  Sam Walton started small, kept the inventory lean, and provided good service.  When WalMart started to get some market share, they began to “attack” some major cities.

In the 1980’s K-Mart recognized that WalMart was a competitor, but thought WalMart was too small to take as a threat. K-Mart assumed it was too big to ever be displaced by the new competitor.  In the end, K-Mart lost the battle, and WalMart is now king of the mountain. Had K-Mart heeded Sun Tzu’s motto of “Know yourself and know your enemy,”they might have survived.

On the world stage today, America stands in the same position as K-Mart did.  America is a superpower whose influence is felt everywhere.  Yet, America’s image started to wane after 1980.  The country, like the consumers living in it, has been overspending.  You can’t use credit cards to pay down debt. Nor can congress use credit to pay down debt. 

It is time to trim the inventory. When our country spends billions of dollars that have been squeezed from the citizens to support corrupt foreign countries, it does not make sense.  Apparently the citizenry of both Iraq and Afghanistan  want the United States to leave their countries. They see the U.S. as basically supporting a form of government that is not yet providing them with safety in the streets. The leaders, who are enjoying the infusion of U.S. dollars, speak mixed messages.

Other superpowers are busy investing in goodwill and business, rather than public dollars, in overseas countries, and may be getting better results than the U.S.  According to the “Dow Jones Theory,” our country’s strength is measured in terms of transportation, property, and energy.  The  American auto market has been losing to Japan, property has been depreciating, and oil has become more expensive. To quote Bonfire of the Vanities, we are “hemorrhaging money.”

American leadership cannot continue to waste time indulging in partisan ideological wrangling that does not address these issues.  It is time for our leaders to “either pee or get off the pot.”  President Obama seems to have taken a wise step in his intentions to bring a large segment of our military out of Afghanistan.

  Equal attention could certainly be given to unnecessary social welfare spending.  America cannot be considered strong if it is in fact being manipulated by its own politicians and special interest groups.  Sometimes “knowing yourself” can be painful.

Much more on the principles of The Art of War and on how they can be applied to your personal business success in my book The Art of War Applied to Wall Street.

Y. K. Wong

June, 23, 2011

Libya: What Would Sun Tzu Do if He Were Alive Today?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Commentators and experts continue to talk endlessly about Libya, despite the fact that no one can really predict the outcome.  What would Sun Tzu, the author of THE ART OF WAR, the definitive treatise on war and foreign affairs, say about the action in Libya?

Primarily, Sun Tzu’s initial words of wisdom are, ”War is serious business.”  He would say that “War is the last resort, to be employed only when all diplomatic means have been exhausted.” 

He would say that “Everything must be taken into consideration.”

He would say that once a decision has been made to go to battle, then the purpose is above all, to win as expediently as possible, and with as little collateral damage to the land and the people as possible.

Sun Tzu would say that if the leader of a country tells another leader to “step down,” then he has to stand by his statement, lest he be perceived as being merely insulting without serious intention. President Obama may have made this “suggestion” hoping that other voices would join his and pressure Mommar Gadhafi into a peaceful regime change. Nonetheless, it is certainly regarded as a challenge.  Now that he has stated his position, President Obama is going to have to stand by it.   Sun Tzu always emphasized the power and importance of “image.”  If the United States backs down from the challenge it has set up, instability and unrest is likely to escalate as other policital forces come forward to fill the void in leadership.

Now that the United States has become involved in Libya, it would be worthwhile to explore the situation from The Art of War perspective.  A primary principle of A of W is to find the enemy’s weakness. In Libya’s case it is the fact that the government is a military dictatorship.  Historically, there is no real loyalty between dictators and their military forces.  in the end, the militaryalways looks out for its own interests, not the dictator’s.  There is always the strong likelihood that the military will turn against its leader if it becomes advantageous. This is the major weakness of the Gadhafi regime.

 In addition, as a result of the brutality of his regime, there is little true support among the population for Gadhafi. Furthermore, the Gadhafis know that militarily they are in the weaker position. When Gadhafi’s son said that the essence of his military plan is “to fight and die here,” he is indicating that he knows they are overmatched.  In fact, years ago, when Gadhafi dropped his nuclear program, under American pressure, that was an indication that he knew he was not in any position to defy the United States. 

Thus the internal weaknesses are evident.  The fact that Gadhdafi’s Prime Minister recently fled to England makes it clear that there are serious problems in the Gadhafi government.

 Sun Tzu says “Know yourself.”  America’s position is stronger because it has the support of the United Nations, NATO, most of the Europeans, plus it has superior military power.  Add to that its noble goal of supporting human rights and democratic principles.  Real trust of America can be gained when the United States is effectively furthering human rights in the world.

In Chapter 13 of The Art of War, Sun Tzu advocates the strategy of using citizens and military officers with grievances against their leaders. “Use the enemy’s own spear to pierce  his shield. Tempt them to go against their leaders. “ Even the Libyan Prime Minister can see the wisdom of aligning with the United States. Those who are fighting for Gadhafi are not religious fanatics who are going to martyr themselves for their leader.

The Gadhafi forces are much more likely to recognize the obvious superiority of the American and NATO forces.  It was one of  Sun Tzu’s principles that display of military strength serves to erode the adversary’s confidence.  It is actually a psychological tactic—which is essentially at the heart of everything that Sun Tzu taught. 

 For Sun Tzu, the psychology of intimidation creates conditions for quick surrender.  Quick surrender reduces the “collateral damage”  0f  loss of life and infrastructure. Sun Tzu was very clear that it was far preferable to gain quick surrender and thereby spare the people and the country itself from undue suffering and damage, not to mention sparing the economic drain and loss of morale engendered by protracted warfare.

If you would like to learn more about Sun Tzu’s teachings in The Art of War, get the most updated translation available today at 

 or as an ebook at

Y.K. Wong, April 2011

Libya: An Opportunity to Spread Human Rights and Freedom

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Sun Tzu teaches that if you want to be a world leader, you have to be clear about your purpose, your adversaries, and your circumstances.

Let’s review the circumstances relating to Libya. The citizens in Lybia have been calling out for global help.  The people want freedom and a substantial number of them want to expel the dictator.  About 60% of the population is under 30 years old, and they have a concept of freedom that they have picked up from the media.  They have been calling out for change.

Momar Gadhafi has been in power for over 40 years.  He has brutally repressed  the citizens of his country who have not cooperated with him.  Gadhafi has not used the wealth generated by the oil industry of Libya to benefit the citizens.  Instead, his family have used it to live lavishly while the population is in need of economic development for the thousands of unemployed. When the younger generation does not have hope for the future, there is the demand for regime change. 

Gadhafi has admitted to  linkage to terrorism.  In 2003, Gadhafi finally said that Libya was “responsible” for the 1988 explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. And Gadhafi may have agreed to hold back from developing nuclear capability, but he still has WMD, such as mustard gas, at his disposal.

The American and NATO forces have support from the European allies.  It is clear that Ghadfai is outnumbered and outgunned. While Sun Tzu would say that you must never overestimate yourself and underestimate the enemy, it appears that Gadhafi is going to be overturned.  The key thing is for it to be done quickly enough for the people to attain their freedom without developing resentment for strangers hunkering down on their soil.

If our military leaders  have “taken everything into consideration” as Sun Tzu advocates, then this deployment of forces could have an outcome that is favorable to the image of the United States as well as to the future of the younger generation of Libyians. Therein lies a worthy goal.

Not only that, but such an outcome would have a ripple effect on the entrenched repressive regimes in other countries of that region where people are asking for change.

As we are aware, recently a couple of  generals involved with operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq have publicly stated that had the planning and research been thorough enough in advance, things would have gone quite differently in both settings.

Hopefully, our military leaders have learned from their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As Sun Tzu said, “there must be an ovewhelming reason” to engage in warfare.  ”Everything must be taken into consideration.”  This includes the psychological effect  on the citizens. Long-distance, and long-term wars weaken the country.  These are all points that Sun Tzu emphasized. 

As Sun Tzu taught, it is all about “image” in leadership.  If you haven’t done the homework, you cannot maintain the image.

There is no reason to keep rediscovering the wheel, and continue to learn from the same mistakes over and over again, when Sun Tzu has already written the handbook on how to avoid them in the first place.

Read the best, most readable, up-to-date version of Sun Tzu’s The Art of  War available today, which is incorporated into the book, The Art of War Applied to Wall Street.

Y.K. Wong


Know Yourself and Know Your Terrain

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Everybody know that Sun Tzu taught that one should know oneself and know “the enemy.” 

Yet all too often people look at their fellow citizens and consider them some kind of enemy.  A country that is characterized by that kind of behavior is not a strong country.

For quite some time the United States has been grappling with what has been called “racism.” 

Not long ago, Juan Williams was fired from National Public Radio for a breach of his company’s standards, because he made a personal  statement about his fear of flying on an airplane that was carrying apparent [by their dress] Muslims on the same flight. 

No sooner had Mr. Williams made this statement, than the fires of divisiveness were flamed by those who said he was defaming Muslims.

Then when he was fired, there was another outcry from Williams and others that the firing was based on prejudice against his race. Those outcries were ignoring the fact that NPR had a policy regarding personal statements that could be considred “prejudiced.” And in a moment of inattention, Mr. Williams stepped over the line and had to suffer the consequences. 

Those who fanned the fires of “racism” relating to this do not have a clear perspective on “the terrain.”  By “terrain” I mean the environment in which we are living in the United States today. 

I have had the experience of living in several Asian societies that were administered as European colonies, and I have witnessed many forms of prejudice and racism.  In my opinion, in comparison to countries all over the world, the United States is far more open to accepting persons of diverse ethnicity and cultures than most other countries on the planet. 

There are societies far, far more stratified that the United States is now in 2010. There are countries that have no constitutional protection for the citizens who are in minority groups of whatever kind.

Those who understand that the terrain we are standing on now is in present time and not in the past, will not be so easily manipulated into divisive positions that prevent the cooperation necessary for creative forward movement.

Only Mr. Williams himself knows himself well enough to know if the loss of his job was truly an utterly discriminatory act, or if he had simply failed to follow the policy of his employer.

When we as individuals really look to ourselves, and examine our own motives and behaviors,  we will truly take back our own personal power. And we will also be in a position to appreciate the opportunities that our “terrain” actually provides.

Sun Tzu said in Chapter 8 of The Art of War that those who stubbornly choose direct confrontation are likely to be wiped out. (”Chapter 8 –”Strategic Choices: The Interrelationship Between Terrain and Tactics,” The Art of War Applied to Wall Street by Y.K. Wong).

Preparing for the Confrontation

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Everyone who has ever read Chapter 11 of The Art of War has read the statement that “the General’s” job is planning and analysis in regard to oneself and the adversary. However, a very important aspect of this planning that is rarely noticed by readers is the role of preparation.  There are different degrees of preparation.  There is a preliminary level of preparation that must take place before the actual physical preparation.

While it is obvious to most readers that “the General” is completely responsible for the training and morale of the troops, there is another, less obvious point that Sun Tsu presents, that is often completely missed by the ordinary translator and the typical reader.

In one brief phrase in the text, the point is made that there is the need for the “General” to have an ongoing practice of quiet time for contemplation. He must plan to  have opportunities for frequent segments of time when he can clear his mind of all extraneous thoughts, and focus entirely upon analysis and re-analysis of all the potential battle scenarios.  That requires continual evaluation of not only strengths and weaknesses of the forces involved, but also ongoing re-evaluation of all of the “Five Elements”:

1.Dao–the unity of purpose

2. Heaven–the weather and climate

3. Terrain–the limitations or opportunities afforded by the landforms

4.  The General–the military leadership

5.  Law–all the systems required to support and manage a military force.

The necessity for contemplation on the part of “the General” is stated in just a few words in Chapter 11, which  if only directly translated on a superficial level are often completely missed. The present translations, even the Chinese translations, usually only convert this phrase to ” ‘the General’s’ duty is to be quiet and to think”.  But there is more to it than that. There is more to this passage than the surface translations offer.

Without a regular practice of quiet contemplation, “the General” cannot adequately plan strategy and consider all the ramifications of the Five Elements. He cannot begin his preparations until he has completed this process.

 He must keep his own counsel, and not discuss the options with others.  The “General” cannot maintain the secrecy that Sun Tzu considers the most important aspect of battle strategy if he consults with anyone other than himself. He alone is the one who must consider all the pros and cons, make the decisions, and tell no one until it is time to make a move. 

Readers who would like to explore more of the nuances and subtleties of The Art of War will find a gold mine in The Art of War Applied to Wall Street, because it contains a complete Chinese-English translation of the text.

“Art of War” Perspective on Allied Invasion of Normandy

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The success of the Allied Invasion of Normandy during Word War II is an example of the power of following many of the key principles that Sun Tzu presented in The Art of War.  The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book The Art of War Applied to Wall Street by Y.K. Wong.  Section Three of the book contains analyses of several different battles in modern history.  Get a copy of the book to explore the additional battles! 


World War II:  Allied Invasion of Normandy
June 6, 1944

Factors leading to the Allied victory:

1.  The relationship between Hitler and his military leaders was 
     dysfunctional.  Hitler interfered with the planning.

2.  The military leaders lost control of their own units because of Hitler’s interference.  As a result, the military leadrs were unable to coordinate movements with each other.  

3.  As a result of factors 1 and 2, the overall morale of the German military was very low.  

4.  The Allies made good use of intelligence and deception.  

5. The Allies used the landforms (the coast of Normandy, for example), to put their soldiers in a “do or die” situation, where there was no choice but to fight ferociously for their survival. Retreat was not an option.

Famous Battles of Modern History in Terms of “Art of War” Principles

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

One of the valuable features of the forthcoming book,  The Art of War Applied to Wall Street, is the Part Three, in which several famous battles of modern history are analyzed in terms of the principles of The Art of War. The following analysis of The Battle of Lenigrad is excerpted directly from the book:

Nazi-Soviet War:  The Siege of Leningrad (1941-1942)

 The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most lethal sieges in world history. 

Factors leading to Russian victory:

1.  Hitler was so overconfident that he never made an assessment of the
     specific requirements for a war in Northern Europe.

2. The Germans assumed that their favorite tactic, the blitzkrieg, would
    be sufficient to defeat the Russians.  They did not expect the guerrilla
    tactics of the Russian partisans.

3. Hitler did not know the enemy. He planned only for a short-term war,
    unaware that the Russians were prepared to fight as long as it took to
    repel the Germans.

4. Ignorance of weather conditions in the place of battle.  Due to the
    assumption that the Russians would be defeated quickly, the Germans
    were not issued proper cold weather gear.  At least half of the German
    casualties were due to improper clothing.  Temperatures were reported
    from -16F to -63 F.  The rifles and artillery of the Germans   were not built to  function in extreme cold, whereas the Russian equipment was.  In addition, because sound carries a long distance in very cold   weather, the German troop movements could be heard from miles away.

5. The Germans lacked mobility for the terrain.  Their armored vehicles
    were not geared for the different types of snow they encountered in
    Russia.  In addition, the Germans had not taken into account that the
    Russian train tracks were built to a different gauge than theirs.

6.  As a result of item 5, the Germans could not adequately provide their
     own logistical support, and eventually used small Russian horses
     for transport.  With supply lines outdistanced, the Germans were
     further hampered by the Russian destruction of shelter and food
     sources in their path.

7.  The element of deception was missing. The German target objectives
     were plainly evident, and the Russians were prepared.

8.  The Siege of Leningrad was clearly a do-or-die situation for the
     Russians, and even though the defenders were starving after almost
     900 days, there were inherently more motivated to fight.

9.  The Germans were too over-extended to replenish their weaponry.
     Germany relied heavily on imported resources to build its war
     materials.  Russia had the resources on hand to resupply its troops.

An interesting footnote to this is that it was said that one of the Russian generals, who was rightfully fearful as the Germans advanced, had a son who was familiar with Chinese history.  This son related an account to his father about a famous battle that took place during the era of the so-called “Tri-State Period” in Chinese history, following the Han Dynasty. 

The concept that the son gave to his father was a form of  “scorched earth” policy.  That is, to destroy every kind of supply, including housing, that the Germans could make use of in their campaign. The Russian people were in accord with this policy; they were willing to give up anything required to save their country.

As the Germans struggled to attain supplies, valuable time passed, keeping the Germans in the country as the season moved into the Winter time, when the Russians would have a natural advantage.

In essence, this was an application of  the Five Elements:  will of the people united with their leaders (Dao), weather (Heaven), landforms (Earth), leadership (General),  discipline, training, and logistical support (Law).